Review: Smash Champs

Let’s get straight to the point. This is a game about anthropomorphic fighting animals. Now if you fall into the certain demographics I’m thinking of, you’ve probably already bought the game on this premise alone. If you’re still not convinced then continue reading.

Immediately I was put off by the fact that you need a Facebook account to connect to if you don’t want to be “guest number quadruple-fucktillion.” This is mainly a me issue, because I don’t have a Facebook, nor want one; but anyone else in a similar situation is going to be equally annoyed by this as well. This isn’t so much a flaw as it is a big nuisance.

The entire game has a nice cartoony aesthetic to it. Everything from the characters, to the stages, to the menu screens have a pleasant, silly cartoon feel to them. Hell the entire game’s art style feels more akin to a nickelodeon cartoon than a mobile game.

The fighting animations are only okay. They’re a little rough at times, and during certain attacks the characters just seem to lose frames entirely. It could be lag but this problem seemed to persist even with a good connection.

Alright that’s all the praise this game deserves.

If you had taken one look at the game and thought this was a fighting game, you’d be forgiven. I too thought this was a fighting game and was filled with glee at the thought of upper cutting virtual characters anywhere I wanted. Then I gave the game two minutes of my time and fell back down to earth at the speed of angry disappointment. This is not a fighting game, because there is no fighting to actually speak of. Instead, any “fighting” is a predetermined match fought by two a.i.. No input, skill, or really anything is required of the player. There are a number of ways to describe how stupid of a mechanic this is: “disappointing,” “pointless,” “nonsensical,” “infuriating,” but let’s just leave it at idiotic. There’s no point in having the main appeal of this game be set up like a 2-d fighter, look like a 2-d fighter, and not have it play like a fighting game, or not have any “play” to speak of for that matter. It’s a huge waste of people’s time and a slap to the face to anyone expecting this to be a fighter. Especially when this game advertised itself as a fighting game.

The only aspect of actual gameplay is right before the “battles,” when your character goes through a training session. Training session is apparently a fancy way of saying a Fruit Ninja clone. No logical gameplay challenges like hitting a heavy bag, running, doing push-ups, jump rope, wooden dummy, sparring or anything like that. Just keep swatting tennis balls and you’re on your way to becoming the next Bruce Lee. Although saying “Fruit Ninja clone” sounds like too much praise. The training gameplay is so basic, boring and unchanging that they could’ve copy-pasted Fruit Ninja and I would have considered it a better game. At least fruit ninja had variety. The only real change in these sessions is you’ll maybe get a bomb that lowers your score by maybe a hair. Otherwise it’s tennis balls after tennis balls, to the point you’ll think this is porn for a labrador retriever. You could make the argument this is the aspect of the game that requires skill, but that’s a bigger stretch than… something, something penis joke.

There are a multiply aspects that go in to determining the victor of a match. Firstly, there are six characters divided into three elements: Earth, Fire, and Shadow. These groups make a rock-paper-scissor system to determine who’s going to be able to do a special move during a match. Earth beats fire, fire beats shadow, and shadow beats earth. The second aspect that determines the winner in a fight is each character’s power level (don’t say it!). Each character starts with a power level of ten and increases whenever you level up or purchase a new clothing item for said character. Your power level, plus your score from the training session and whether or not you’re successful in the special move dual, all adds up to a score that determines whether or not you win (you only get the score at the end).

The matches are a first to three system. For whatever reason though after one round you’re back to the main menu and you have to repeat the process of training and going one round until one of you wins three. This doesn’t sound like a huge problem, but it’s a giant time consumer. There is also nothing necessitating a player to finish an online session. This will cause a lot of lobbies to stack up or just be left unfinished. As of typing this review right now I have a total of 17 unfinished lobbies. So why the game couldn’t just do three rounds automatically and save the player a whole lot of time, is beyond me.

Another one of the bigger complaints of mine is the game having no offline features to speak of. There’s no fighting, training, or offline campaign to get items or improve your character. Everything needs you to battle in online matches. Even the reward system and challenges don’t involve any offline actions.

There is a special type of coin that you can use to either unlock other characters or special crates. You get these coins by winning online matches or by completing certain challenges. The problem with the coins are, for whatever reason, you can’t unlock characters at times, and you can’t choose to not get a crate.

This is the first time in a review I will tell you to not play a game. the game is underwhelming, disappointing, and just a flat out waste of time; don’t play it. Unless you’re still intrigued and absorbed by the idea of fighting furries, in which case knock yourself out.

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