Toy Story: Smash It! (iOS/Android) review
Toy Story: Smash It! is essentially a three-dimensional take on Angry Birds. Cast in the role of Buzz Lightyear, players are given a limited number of balls to throw in order to knock down precarious physics-based structures and defeat all of the aliens that populate the level. The fewer balls the player uses, the more shiny gold blocks they “collect” by hitting them with the balls or falling objects, and the more destruction they cause, the higher their score. The higher their score, the more stars they earn — up to three per level. The game is split into four episodes, with a fifth marked as “coming soon,” implying the game will be expanded over time. Each episode requires a particular prerequisite number of stars to have been attained before it is accessible, and each is themed slightly differently.
Because the game is three-dimensional, it plays slightly differently to Angry Birds and its ilk. Buzz has the ability to run left and right on a curved path around part of the level, for example, and this allows him to line himself up for the perfect shot. In early levels, targets are painted on the ideal points to strike, helping new players become familiar with the sort of places they should be aiming for to cause the most efficient destruction. When the time comes to throw the ball, the player taps and holds on Buzz and drags their finger around to move an on-screen crosshair to where they would like to aim the ball. The crosshair is not massively accurate, so the player will need to judge part of their shot by eye, but there is no need to set power, only direction.
As the player progresses through the levels, they gain access to additional ball types, similar to the different bird types in Angry Birds. Many of these require manual triggering by tapping a large on-screen button once the ball has been thrown. Each new gameplay mechanic is clearly explained by a simple tutorial screen prior to the first level in which they appear, and new features are introduced at a good rate to keep things interesting. These new features don’t just include different ball types, either; as the player moves on to more difficult levels, they will encounter metal and glass blocks with different physical properties, as well as pieces of machinery that move blocks around and require that the player use careful timing as well as an accurate aim.
The game is completely lacking in social features at this time. Despite featuring a full bank of achievements for players to pursue, the game does not support Apple’s Game Center on iOS, nor is there any facility for online competition against friends using leaderboards or challenges via social network. At the very least, Disney should look at implementing Game Center into the iOS version, as the service allows for both global recording of achievements and high scores as well as direct challenges between friends when using iOS 6 or newer. The reason for the absence of this feature is presumably due to the fact that Android does not have a standardized gaming social network as Apple has, which would mean implementing different code on the two versions of the game. Perhaps this feature will be added in a future update to the iOS version at the very least — it seems like a rather obvious omission at this time.
Despite its lack of social play, Toy Story: Smash It is a good game, and a solid evolution of the Angry Birds formula. Putting the game in 3D has a surprising impact on the way you have to think about its physics-based puzzles, and its presentation is excellent, looking and sounding very much like the iconic movies on which it is based. The Toy Story brand will also likely ensure it enjoys some commercial success, at least in the short term, and Disney has proven itself on a number of occasions in the past to have a good track record with post-release support. Consequently, Toy Story: Smash It has the potential to enjoy both some strong success in the short term as well as continued engagement if the content keeps coming.
You can follow Toy Story: Smash It’s progress on both iOS and Android with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.
A great-looking game, and a good evolution of the Angry Birds formula — the only thing it’s really lacking is any sort of social play.