The Oculus Store on your Gear VR has tons of great games, but nothing that is quite like the glory of playing an armored up woman smashing her way through robotic enemies with a giant hammer or wrench. If it sounds awesome, it is, and it's called Smashing the Battle. It's a hack and slash adventure game that centers around two badass women smashing their way through the robots who have taken over the construction site.
The art style of Smashing the Battle will grab you right by the eyes. It delivers an almost early console styled look. Detail is put into each of the characters and enemies, however you might not get to see the detail of them while you're in the thick of things. Both Sarah and Mary, the heroines of the game, run around in oversized yet stylish mech suits. However, during gameplay, the only part of them that really clear and easy to see are their weapons and heads.
This is the best kind of hack and slash game.
Overall Smashing the Battle has a thematic, almost comic book-esque graphic style. There are lots of yellows and blacks, which plays into the story of a construction site taken over by murderous robots. Those same robots are generally painted in blues, yellows and blacks. Different enemies being different sizes and colors.
The style works really well for the game, and makes it easy to quickly identify targets from the top-down viewpoint you have as the player. The emphasis is definitely on our pair of heroines and the enemies they are fighting. The background add to the game in a very low key way so that you notice them without actually getting caught up on what it looks like. I wouldn't go so far as calling it unique, but the overall feel is fun and works well in VR.
Robots, robots everywhere
Smashing the Battle is the best kind of hack and slash game. It makes it easy to jump into and play, along with getting sucked in for just one more level. The game is broken up into levels that have several waves of enemies you'll need to fight through, along with pitfalls and and power-ups to help you out. There are only two playable characters, and while both of them are women they have drastically different play styles. Both are available as soon as you get started, so you get to decide which way you want to play. You can also switch out between them at the end of levels, which you'll be inclined to do more frequently as the levels increase in difficulty.
The game devolves in a hack and slash mania that doesn't really end no matter how many levels you complete.
You're going to need a gamepad to play this Gear VR title, and it's apparent why as soon as you get started. With the option to attack, dodge, and use special character related powers it just wouldn't translate well to Gear VR's touchpad. The game doesn't do a great job of explaining what the controls are or what they do though. It shows you diagrams of your controller on the screen, but whether you can pay attention to them while fighting off murderous robots is a different story.
Each level is broken up into several waves of enemies that are thrown at you within a confined space. You can choose to mow directly into them, or you can go ahead and smash through nearby crates which hold either power ups or coins. The power ups that you grab will help you out for a short time, but each one is on a timer. Generally they are either an attack boost, or a speed boost, and either one can make a serious difference. During the earlier parts of a level they can be handy, but when you need to deal with a boss and a dozen minion robots it becomes nearly essential.
While the gameplay starts out fairly fun, and it's easy to jump into the game doesn't keep your attention well. After a dozen or so levels, the formula can start to feel a little repetitive. You gain some small flexibility in switching between the two characters, but the game doesn't really get more complex than what you have learned after the second stage.
Two normal women dealing with disaster
There isn't an abundance of story within Smashing the Battle. That's because the emphasis on this game is really centered towards hacking and slashing your way through waves of enemies. What story there is rotates around our two heroines Mary and Sarah. The two of them were just normal employees until the day things went wrong at Beholder Industries. A malicious hack turns all of the robots on Beholder's construction site into the equivalent of murderbots. Sarah and Mary will have to suit up in mechs of their own to deal with this problem before it gets any worse.
It's well worth playing, but don't expect this to occupy your evenings for very long.
Past that, there isn't really any story to be found. From here the game devolves in a hack and slash mania that doesn't really end no matter how many levels you complete, and robots you bust up. The lacking story isn't picked up by a compelling voice acting job, either. The handful of quips you get from the two characters become repetitive quickly, and there's no real dialogue to speak of after the first couple of interactions.
In many ways, Smashing the Battle plays more like an arcade game and less like something you'd sit down and enjoy for extended periods of time. While there's an argument to be made for Gear VR games that are "snackable" to ensure the basic comfort levels are met, at the point in which you're asking someone to carry a gamepad with them to enjoy your game where they are, the least you could do is make the game compelling enough to enjoy for extended periods of time.
Smashing the Battle is a fun hack and slash game that sadly doesn't keep your attention in the long run. It's well worth taking a look at and showing to friends, but don't expect this to occupy your evenings for very long.
- Gameplay is easy to pick up
- level system makes it easy to play for a few minutes or an hour
- Figuring out controls can be frustrating
- Lack of story takes away from the gameplay
- Game doesn't hold your attention through the entire game
Smashing the Battle is a fun hack and slash adventure that works well in VR. While it's easy to jump into, and features two awesome female heroines kicking robot butt. However, it flattens out after a few hours due to a lack story and game mechanics that become repetitive. For that reason we've given it a solid three and a half stars, and you can pick it up for just $9.99 on the Oculus store.
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