Developer: PlayGearz
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

As more and more kids get iOS devices, parents have to try and figure out what apps and games they should install. Educational software is all well and good but everyone knows that kids just like to wreck stuff. The developers of Yumby Smash understand this and have created a game the captures the simple, childlike joy of knocking junk over.

Yumby Smash is actually one of several games set in the enchanted world of the Yumbies, a race of cute and freaky monsters. While other Yumby games have players doing more intellectual tasks, like solving word puzzles, Yumby Smash is about “smashing everything in sight.” There’s a little more to it than that though. Each of the 90+ stages has players flinging their Yumby into various structures Angry Birds style. However, instead of flinging down a straight line, levels are free form with buildings to smash everywhere. Players can fling their Yumby up, down, left and right even while still in mid-air. They can’t be flung indefinitely though so players must be efficient with their destruction.

The mayhem is frantic fun but it does have some shortcomings. Often times the victory conditions feel vague and players may not know how much they need to destroy before collecting the parts needed to end the level. Also, the power-ups like the bombs and force fields are activated via awkward multi-touch gestures. They’re crucial though because later levels quickly drain Yumby energy and there are only a handful of free, mid-level recharges.

Luckily, Yumby Smash’s supplemental features help alleviate these core flaws. Players can unlock new Yumbies and upgrade their stats as well as build whole new levels and share them online. Last but not least though are the crazy but strangely mellow soundtrack and the bright, pastel visual style. Between the weird music that slows down on impact and the bizarre designs for the Yumbies themselves, the game’s aesthetic is trippy but non-threatening in the way most great kid’s cartoons can be.

Yumby Smash is yet another reminder that breaking something down can be just as fun as building it up. It’s cathartic.

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