If you know what I mean when I say “Smash Up”, then you’re going to want to hear this news. The digital edition of the popular game is being released tomorrow on Steam, and it’s FREE.
For those who don’t know, Smash Up is a strategic card game for 2-4 players in which you pick two different factions of minions, from dinosaurs to pirates to zombies to aliens, then shuffle your cards to get a unique set of abilities and combos in order to beat your opponent(s).
The physical game has gained more and more popularity, and is featured in popular table top game streams and serials, such as Wil Wheaton’s TableTop series on his YouTube channel, resulting in an expansion pack featuring him and Felicia Day as minions in the Big Geeky Box. Expansions and extra factions are still being added all the time, and the whole thing is now being brought onto a digital platform, thanks to Nomad Games – who are the big brains behind the immense world of Talisman Digital Edition, and Talisman: The Horus Heresy for those Warhammer 40,000 dudes.
Talisman is a board game first released in 1983 be Games Workshop, and has been a cult hero amongst adventure table top gamers ever since. The digital edition, and subsequent releases from Nomad which are related have been very popular with players, especially those who invest their efforts and time into creating the best experience they can. This is not for the casual player! However, Smash Up is a far more accessible title, both on and off the computer screen.
The steps you take in order to set up each round are self-explanatory, and easy to follow. The colours distinguish between the players very clearly, and the art is straight from the source material. As there’s not much more to think about than what’s in your hand, the cards take up about a quarter of the screen, easy to look between and read. Unlike titles such as Hearthstone, there isn’t a “table” in front of you, as such. There’s no need. Each player takes their turn, and any attributes are clear to see under their name.
The gameplay can be as fast as you want it to be. AI can be brought in to fill spaces, or for solo play, and they seem to be able to think pretty well for themselves. There’s the option between local or online multiplayer too, and it will be cross-platform, being released on iOS and Android as well.
Unlike many other digital strategy card games, Smash Up is fun, without the stress and frustration of some people taking it a little TOO seriously. You know the sort I mean. It reminds me a little of Worms, from the colours and font, to the “events log”, helping you keep track of how the game has played out. It has a relaxing feel to it, which is definitely something I don’t get from Hearthstone. Smash Up is not going to make me squeeze my Sonic the Hedgehog stress ball to the point where Sonic looks as though he’s been in a horrific warehouse accident, but that’s a good thing. Obviously, there’s the very real probability that it will happen anyway, as people playing online games can get seriously intense, but the casual and simple feel to Smash Up is refreshing.
Putting the title on Early Access is to allow for improvements to be made, with feedback from the people who actually matter – the players. The initial game is free to play, with three varied factions to choose from. A “starter pack” will also be available for a charge, and will include more factions, to be updated at no extra charge as time goes on.