Developer: Grant Adam
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Squashem - If like getting your roll on, you may want to pay attention. To be clear, I’m not referring to anything related to drugs or dancing, but rather, a brand new game brought you from the bunch over at Jelly Biscuits. Their colorful confection has been dubbed Squashem, and they’re looking to raise the stakes for their casual-oriented competition.
Within seconds, you’ll know what you’ll need to do in Sqaushem. Your job is to navigate one of ten selectable balls in a 3D environment to squash a designated amount of runners. The runners randomly run all over the place, so you’ll be tilting the iPhone all over the place to capture them all. Instead of competing against a dwindling timer, the main goal is to finish as quickly as possible for local or online leaderboards.
You’ll navigate through six psychedelic environments in Squashem. While the environments are modeled nicely, there isn’t much in the way of environmental hazards that differentiate the layouts of the levels. This is important because you can essentially play all six environments the same way and be successful. Even on the hardest difficulty, you’ll be able to breeze through all environments within minutes. While Sqaushem is all about trying to surpass times, I would have preferred to see more depth and beef.
To encapsulate my main criticism against Squashem, it’s my feeling that it’s more of a technology demo than a real game. All the beautiful 3D modeling and physics in the world doesn’t matter when there isn’t a solid gameplay framework to wrap it all around. One can argue that the activity of rolling over runners is the sticky component, but I never found it fun or satisfying at all. There are so many considerations that could have been added to spruce up the experience from a countdown timer, points system (with runners counting for different values), multiplayer modes, and more selectable gameplay types.
I’d love to see what Jelly Biscuits can create in the future through leveraging their more-than-competent tech in a future effort. While I can see some potential for what this approach can become through iteration, Squashem simply doesn’t do it for me. Here’s hoping the third application from Jelly Biscuits will be a charm.