Do you ever have times where you’re playing a video game and rather than actually progressing through the story, you just spend a ton of time seeing how much destruction you can cause? It’s certainly something I’ve been guilty of – the more destructible objects put my way, the more fun I’m guaranteed to have.
Well, Triangular Pixels’ virtual reality title Smash Hit Plunder embraces that perfectly, with the whole game based around smashing up your surroundings to find as much treasure as possible. It encourages you to be as destructive as you can, and with so many objects to throw and smash, the options are almost endless. It’s a concept that really lends itself well to a virtual reality experience and I had a lot of fun causing chaos, though unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of depth to the experience to keep you hooked in too long.
So Smash Hit Plunder is all about grabbing objects and then smashing them up, all in order to find any treasure that may be hidden in or under it. It’s a mighty destructive experience and naturally that can easily become pretty addictive. There’s a time limit in place though so you have to act quick, whilst you can also earn additional treasure by doing certain things like hitting creatures around you with the objects you launch about.
When the timer runs out, you get a rating based upon your performance. The better you do, the more crowns you earn (the maximum is three per level) – the more crowns you have, the more levels that’ll be available to you. Naturally, this means you’ll want to act quick and be as destructive as possible whenever you can, though I’m sure that’s something most players won’t struggle with…
There is a heck of a lot of levels to play through in Smash Hit Plunder, so you won’t run out of things to do fast. The only problem is that the gameplay doesn’t really have a lot of depth to it. Sure, it’s fun smashing things up, but when that’s the only thing you’re doing it doesn’t take long for it to start to lose its charm. I never found myself feeling bored, but there wasn’t enough variety to really leave me wanting to progress further through the game.
At least there are other game modes on offer, including ‘Free Play’ where you can just smash things up with no pressure and the ‘Scavenger Hunt’ which challenges you to find specific items in the environment. The ‘Scavenger Hunt’ was actually a lot more fun than I initially thought it would be, though even that still bases itself on the game’s main concept of simply smashing things up.
Each game mode can be played in multiplayer, with the virtual reality player joined by others who are using the TV screen. TV players are given an isometric view of each level, meaning they’re often able to see things that the virtual reality player can’t. It’s all co-operative action though, so it’s pretty useful to have an extra pair of hands when trying to get those high scores.
Alternatively, you could take on other players in competitive action, with two game modes on offer that are exclusive to multiplayer: ‘Jewel Duel’ and ‘Poltergeist Panic’. ‘Jewel Duel’ is essentially all about racking up a higher score than your opponent, and in honesty it’s the weaker mode of the two. It’s easy to feel at a disadvantage to your opponent if playing in virtual reality, especially since they can often move around a lot quicker and have a more open view of their surroundings. ‘Poltergeist Panic’ on the other hand is a lot of fun, with the virtual reality player hiding in the environment and the TV player tasked with finding them. It’s a mode that’s definitely worth checking out, especially since it does something a little different with the formula.
One thing I have to mention are the controls, with the virtual reality player using two Move controllers which act as wands in game. Now using them to grab and smash objects is fine, and I never suffered any tracking issues when playing the game – I would recommend having plenty of clear space around you though. It’s the movement that felt a bit awkward, with the player having to flick the Move controllers to turn whilst the actual process of stepping forward just felt janky in-game. It’s something you can get used to when playing in single player, but during the multiplayer matches it could leave you at a bit of a disadvantage.
Smash Hit Plunder can be a lot of fun thanks to its destructively charming action, but it doesn’t really have the depth to keep you hooked in for too long. Sure, there’s a good time to be had smashing things up, but it’s not the sort of thing you’ll want to do for hours on end.
At least the multiplayer adds some longevity to the experience, with the co-op action and the competitive ‘Poltergeist Panic’ mode standing out the most. It can be enjoyed locally too, which is pretty rare for a PlayStation VR title, so that’s a bonus.
In all though, it’s hard to feel too blown away by Smash Hit Plunder. It has some unique ideas and does some fun things, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself done with it after just a few hours play.
Developer: Triangular Pixels
Publisher: Perp Games
Platform(s): PlayStation VR