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Shattering a pane of glass can bring a moment of sheer joy — or abject terror, depending on intentions — but the resulting expense and hassle rarely balance out the fun. Smash Hit provides a remarkably vivid simulation of splintering glass, letting you toss metal balls at shiny digital sheets and watch the shards fly, but it’s not a gimmick app. That sensation instead forms the core of an entertaining and smartly balanced survival game, wherein precise timing and aiming let you continue crashing ahead through the colorful levels.
Viewed from a first-person perspective with a thankfully light UI overlay, Smash Hit propels you steadily forward through minimal block-based worlds, where large panes of glass — most moving or popping up from out of view — and little blue crystals await your attention. Tapping the screen heaves a metal ball, which removes one from your tally, and you’ll keep moving ahead so long as you have at least one sphere at hand. Clearing crystals adds to your stockpile, while hitting 10 crystals in a row triggers a multi-ball modifier, which adds an extra one to each toss (up to five total) without further draining the count.
Smash Hit only tallies your total distance — there’s no score awarded for smashing glass or throw accuracy, for example — so resisting the urge to break everything and focusing on managing inventory becomes paramount. Some panes of glass might not be in your straight-ahead path; don’t waste tosses on those. Only the panes in your path need to be cleared, as running into one deducts 10 balls, which will cut down a solid run in a hurry. Conserve tosses, be vigilant, and maintain the multi-ball effect, and you’ll push on and on through each uniquely designed area. Later locales introduce a spinning screen effect or amp up the speed, and the intriguing twists keep this free-to-play offering exciting.
Starting over from scratch each run can turn a bit tiring, since the early areas are slow-paced, simple, and never-changing, so it’s worth paying the one-time $1.99 fee within to unlock use of checkpoints, which let you pick back up at a previous spot with the same number of balls you had back when. That makes it a lot easier to learn individual areas, and lets you focus on the more enticing later content — though it’s still worth starting from scratch from time to time to improve your overall run and then dig deeper into what Smash Hit has to offer.
The bottom line. Smash Hit turns the simple pleasure of shattering glass into an enjoyable arcade-style cruise through abstract terrain.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Balance between conserving tosses and smashing glass is really engaging. Excellent minimal design and shatter effects. Reasonable free-to-play design with single beneficial in-app purchase.
Early areas can be a slog to replay each and every time (for non-premium players).