Developer: Rogue Play, Inc.
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Last week, I reviewed Godzilla: Strike Zone. It wasn’t very good. Still, there was some small comfort to be had from the fact that at least Warner Bros. wasn’t charging anything for this poorly executed piece of digital movie hype fluff. Now, one week later, Godzilla is lumbering his way into theaters as we speak and yet another free movie tie-in has come to herald his arrival: Godzilla – Smash3.

But guess what? It’s actually kinda fun. Who’d have thought, right?

godzilla_smash3_07godzilla_smash3_05Just because this is ultimately a puzzle game with a Godzilla theme slapped over it doesn’t mean that it can’t be entertaining and enjoyable. The game’s name is a touch misleading, however, as it would seem to imply a typical “match 3″ puzzler. But while three like-pieces are the minimum required to activate a match, players are actually drawing lines in all directions across the board to connect as many pieces as they can. Some of the bigger matches can end up easily clearing half the board.

Different icons represent the interactions Godzilla can perform during his rampage. Blue matches will trigger a weak attack. Yellow and orange are medium and strong attacks. Hearts restore life and radiation symbols will charge his infamous atomic fire breath. The longer the match chain, the stronger the effect. Chains of eight or more create blast tiles that set off line-clearing explosions. Match puzzle aficionados will pick up the basics pretty rapidly.

godzilla_smash3_02godzilla_smash3_04Each level has a required objective: clear a set number of enemy waves, remove pieces of rubble from the board, defeat a boss, finish before time runs out, etc. In addition, running out of life triggers a game over as well. Being a freemium game, the usual progress-throttling options are in place, with life refreshes on timers and power-ups available for cash after giving players that first free taste. Unfortunately, like most match puzzles, a certain amount of lucky board arrangement is needed to get past particularly difficult levels. But here certain levels seem deliberately designed to be extra difficult (I’m looking at you, levels 13 and 17). All the better to squeeze a buck or two out of frustrated customers, I suppose. Given enough time (and the correct alignment of the stars) they can probably be overcome. The question is if most players will hold on that long or not.

Although chuggy and sluggish on older hardware, the visuals are still rather impressive – specifically the rendering of Big G himself. However, the load times are ridiculously, almost comically long. Sure, in the end the Godzilla connection is just a conceit to market the movie, but if someone doesn’t get a giddy thrill out of watching the King of the Monsters uppercut a plane out of the sky with his tiny little arms, then I have to question if they’re even truly capable of feeling joy at all. Godzilla – Smash3 is free. Check it out. Play it while waiting for the previews before the movie. Just have fun already!


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