I’ll continue to fawn over Indie games and I’ll continue to forgive them for any shortcomings. I’ll do this over most AAA titles because Indies take risks and try new thing, even if they may not always come off. So when developers Digital Continue announce Supermash, I was rather excited.
I did then start to have doubts, because I was convinced we might see a game that had a good idea, but struggled to get over the gimmick that sold it initially. In truth though, we have a game that straddles being a gimmick that gets tired and a wonderful experience all in.
The idea is that Tomo, his sister Jume and friend Rob run a gaming store that is about to be lost, due to harsh times which will force them into eviction. They need to find a way to raise funds, so they can afford a deposit on a new place. They happen across an intriguing machine that can take games from different genres and mash them together… Super, right? (sorry)
It is an intriguing story that I won’t ruin, as there is a lot of charm throughout the entire experience. All the main characters are likeable and despite being caricatures of people in the lifestyle, they are still pretty believable and you care for them enough to want to see how it all concludes.
Supermash becomes an odd game to review, as to reveal too much will ruin the experience and surprises that await. So I’ll keep the core gameplay review as high level as possible.
The idea with the machine is you take cartridges from various genres, insert any two of them and create a unique game based on what you use. This can be a JRPG and a Platformer, maybe Stealth and Shoot-Em-Up and others. You can add various tweaks too and it all has an effect on what game you end up with.
You earn dev cards can then be used to tweak games even further and produce different results. You’ll use these a lot, as part of the game it to take requests from customers to make a certain game type with requested parameters. So one may want a stealthy game that is short and easy, another may want one that is long and easy.
It is a good way to give an excuse not to just try random things and see what sticks and gives structure to the whole experience. The issues though come from the output games themselves. Much like you’d see in games like Mario Maker, Little Big Planet, Dreams and Trials. You get a mix of really fun experiences and some utter dross.
I get why every game isn’t an absolute banger, it makes sense within the story. However when they are bad, yeah, they are bad. The ratio actually weighs more towards the poorer games and that had me dreading what would come next at some points.
But the flip side to that, is the good games are really fun to play and make clever use of the mixed genres to produce some brilliant experiences. I don’t expect the games to be bespoke hand-crafted experiences and all of them are short enough, even the ‘long’ games.
Part of me feels harsh criticising them, but it does have an effect on how you feel about the game overall. I had sessions where I played too many crap games and couldn’t be bothered to carry on and then forcing myself back.
What the game does have though is the story and characters pull you through the more negative times. It is also relatively short clocking in at around 10 hours at a push. It wraps up very well and I was very glad I got to experience it.
I said at the top of the review I am willing to forgive when it comes to Indies and whilst Supermash isn’t the greatest experience in gaming. It does try something different and despite not sticking the landing perfectly, it is certainly something you should try if you’ve got the time. It is unique and hopefully something that can be developed on for any future titles.