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When Hutch Games released Smash Bandits [Free] back in August, it was a bittersweet moment. Sweet because the developers had successfully taken all the great action of their first title Smash Cops and fit it around a fantastic one-thumb control system with beautiful visuals and randomly generated environments. Bitter, unfortunately, due to its free-to-play system. Smash Bandits has the typical freemium trappings of in-game currency built around upgrade systems and unlocking new vehicles, and for the most part those are inoffensive. The killer was the addition of a game-stopping timer.

Being an endless game, eventually you're going to die in every single run, that's just the nature of the game. In Smash Bandits, each time your game ended, your "Wanted Level" increased by one. Once your Wanted Level reached five you were forced to stop playing, either waiting for timers to expire for each segment of the Wanted Level or using precious in-game currency to speed up the process. As we've said before, any game that has a point that literally stops you from playing it is doing it wrong, and it especially hurt with Smash Bandits because it was such a fun game to play.

Well, Hutch heard the cries of its players and has updated the game to tweak the way the Wanted Level works. Now, when you hit that fifth Wanted Level you can still continue to play, albeit with a penalty. Instead of the regular cops who would be chasing you normally, tougher "Agency" cops will be after you right from the start when you play with a maxed out Wanted Level.

I like this compromise for a couple of reasons. First, it fits within the theme of the game, and it makes sense that as your Wanted Level increases tougher cops would be pursuing you. Second and most importantly, it means I can keep playing the game indefinitely. It's actually a lot of fun playing games with the more aggressive Agency cops on my tail, and I feel like the increased challenge actually preps me nicely for when my Wanted Level does cool down and I'm back playing against the normal cops.

While the way the Wanted Level works is the biggest change in this update, there are some other nice new features. In the spirit of Halloween, pumpkins are now lying around the environments and if you manage to smash 5000 of them total you'll unlock a sweet Halloween themed hotrod vehicle (or you could just straight up buy it as IAP, but where's the fun in that?). There's a second new vehicle too, a dune buggy, which you can unlock just like the other vehicles in the game. A new gadget, the Electrified Chassis, ensures that any cops who make contact wit your vehicle while in use will get a nice jolt of electricity to get them off your tail.

There's some other tweaks and fixes which are detailed in the update notes, but by far the biggest news is that you'll never be forced to stop playing Smash Bandits, which is great news. The freemium style still may not be for everybody, but if you were initially put off by the game due to the hard stopping point, give the updated version of Smash Bandits a second chance.

  • DannyTheElite

    Great news.

  • DOOM

    I'm almost inclined to try the game now, however, as with most free to play titles hindered by a pay as you go system I'll proceed to tread lightly. I'm a consumer willing to pay an up front premium price for a premium application or title, but I will absolutely ignore and advise against anything that constantly promotes translating currency into game play.

  • Wedge598

    If only FireMonkeys and EA would do something similar for RR3.

    • Jake7905

      But that would require EA to treat gamers like people and not customers. Good luck.

      • anabolicMike

        Totally wrong my friend. It would mean EA would have to start treating gamers like players not plump juicy targets.

  • Mekklesack

    I miss the virtual thumb pad, I no longer feel like I have direct control, like in Smash Cops.

    • Zhang Doe

      Took me a bit to get used to the finger-behind-car control, but it works well. Much, much tighter controls than Smash Cops, which I always found too loose to enjoy.

  • JarvisDelta

    The funny thing was (or is) that the original version of the game had the same exploit that NimbleBit game timers have had: just change your clock an hour forward and the timer resets accordingly. So you could really always play indefinitely. I haven't updated, so not sure if it still works...

  • 61050

    this is good. i had deleted the game once i hit wanted level five for the second time. i think ill give it another shot. the game really is pretty fun.

  • toxiccheese

    Too little too late. Not interested anymore. They lost me when when I first played it and I reached the first timer. Lesson learned.