Review: Smash Hit Plunder
A riotous smash-em-up that really shines when used for social multiplayer.
Usually when describing a videogame it is customary to specify which genre it is part of. In this case, it is difficult to pin down exactly what genre Smash Hit Plunder belongs to. This indicates early on that developer Triangular Pixels are throwing away the rule book with this title. Luckily, this decision yields positive results.
There is a semblance of a story in Smash Hit Plunder, in that the main player, who uses virtual reality (VR), plays a mage who has returned from magic school to find a debt collector called Mordred has taken control of your family’s home and fortune. As a result, you need to ransack the castle to find items of value that can used to pay off the debt.
This basically boils down to ‘smash everything in sight and gather loot’. There are some simplistic puzzle mechanics in place that let you get more valuable loot, but in essence the gameplay involves picking things up and throwing them. It is deeply cathartic and satisfying, particularly since using the PlayStation Move controllers gives it a sense of weight and presence that will leave you smiling.
Where Smash Hit Plunder really comes alive, however, is in multiplayer. The title makes good use of the social screen to allow more players to join in alongside the VR player. Three gameplay modes support co-operative gameplay, the ‘Treasure Runt’ which basically involves gathering as much loot as possible in a timed mission; a Scavenger Hunt which involves locating specific items and a Free Play mode which lets you explore as leisure.
There are also two competitive gameplay modes, Poltergeist Panic and Jewel Duel, these feel like real party games that invite gleeful sabotaging of opponents, with the social screen players playing using a Dual Shock 4. That the VR player is stuck using teleport while the social screen players can move freely is a little frustrating, and does seem to give a slight advantage to the dual shock players
The graphics are polygonal, presenting the blocky Minecraft-ish style that suits the tongue-in-cheek feel fairly well. Though set in a gloomy castle, there’s plenty of colour to keep it pleasant, and the loot you find sparkles in a satisfactory and easily noticeable fashion.
Overall, Smash Hit Plunder works best as a social party game. There’s a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from smashing things to bits, and its is pleasing enough to explore and look at. Some more hidden unlocks or other secrets (apart from the secret rooms, but tend to be slightly too easy to find) might have given the title a longer shelf life. As it is, its worth pulling out for some amusing group videogames, or for when a de-stressing session is needed. Still worth buying for parties and social gatherings.