In BigBot Smash [99¢], the universal game from Ayopa, you get to totally smash up a city using a giant metallic robot. You can demolish entire city blocks building-by-building by walking into, jumping at or shooting the 3D structures. Concurrently, you blast police cars from your antenna, stomp on the puny humans below, escape from tanks and generally create havoc in three different game modes.
The main campaign sends you to over 20 cities / levels (San Francisco Los Angeles, Mexico City, etc) to recover the parts of your robotic love-interest. She was shut-down, dismantled and scattered around the world by the nasty humans. Each level involves searching for and destroying the red buildings which contain her hardware (and the locations change if you replay the current level). You can also smash up other buildings for points, parts and pure destructive pleasure. Meanwhile, the humans try to destroy you.
Once you complete a city level in Campaign mode, the next city level starts, however you're unable to replay the completed levels, which is a shame because it stops you from gathering more parts to upgrade if you rushed through the early levels without collecting parts. Also, although each level in the campaign is set in a city , the levels all look very similar. However, on a positive note, the background music is specific to certain levels / cities, such as Australian didgeridoo music playing during the Sydney level.
In 'Speed demolition' mode the aim is to destroy a certain percentage of the buildings within a time limit, without being destroyed yourself. While 'Survival' mode throws increasingly difficult waves of attack at you, to see how long you can last. Game Center is used for high scores and 48 achievements.
You can choose from three different robot chassis. The blue "Blockbot" is slow, but tough. The "Grimbot" uses hover-jets to jump or fly, but is poor at stomping, while the "Cyclobot" rolls on one wheel, with extendable buzz-saws for hands. There are three game slots, so you can save your progress separately for each type of robot. And each robot handles quite differently.
There are 13 temporary power-ups to collect from the ruins of destroyed buildings. This includes repairs, extra energy, increased speed / jumps and bonuses for damage caused. In addition to power-ups, you can collect parts from destroyed buildings to build hardware upgrades like: Anti-matter pulse weapons, death rays, fusion reactors and even 1-million hamsters on a giant wheel as an energy source.
The graphics are reasonable, but not breath-taking. When buildings collapse, they turn into unimpressive triangular debris. However I didn't notice this too much as I was too busy destroying stuff. Some graphical clipping occurs, with the robot moving through intact buildings and some of the text messages display upside down (probably confused by the tilt controls). And the humans are so small that sometimes they kill you before you notice them.
The two control options should have been named: "Reasonable touch controls" and "Nasty tilt controls". The touch controls are not typical controls, but work fairly well. You swipe the background to make the robot walk, tap the robot to jump, or swipe from the robot to jump in a particular direction. By tapping the screen, you can shoot your weapon at police cars, tanks, buildings or crowds of humans and a tutorial walks you through these basic controls. There's a button to change the camera perspective, which is useful when you're between buildings.
Whereas, the alternative tilt controls are not particularly intuitive. If you tilt your device left, the robot walks right which feels strange, but there's no option to invert the controls. And if you want to turn, you must rotate your device orientation, which sometimes involves rotating it completely around. An option to change the camera angle by tilting is provided, but it's awkward to use in conjunction with touch controls. The good news is that you can simply choose the touch controls to avoid the tilt controls altogether and then there's no problem!
To recap: The gameplay, music, robot hardware upgrades, power-ups and touch controls are all good and destroying the city is fun, especially with a faster robot. However, the graphics are just okay and the tilt controls are not recommended. BigBot Smash was over-shadowed by some big-name releases, but the top-down urban robotic rampages offer destructive fun, especially if you love big bots (and smashing stuff up!)
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