DangleSmash is a soon to be released iOS and Android game that pits you as a soviet space dog and lone defender of the Earth fighting off an alien invasion. You must travel the solar system fighting various opponents while adapting to each planet’s unique gravity. The game takes place in the 1950′s during the great space race with the famous Sputnik 1 playing an integral role.
GAME NAME: DangleSmash
DEVELOPER(S): Useful Slug
PUBLISHER(S): Useful Slug
PLATFORM(S): iOS and Android
RELEASE DATE(S): Nov. 22, 2012
We would like to thank the guys over at Useful Slug for the opportunity to review their game.
DangleSmash by Useful Slug is a physics-based, turn-by-turn smash-em-up set in the late 1950′s, when traveling to space became a high priority. The basic premise of DangleSmash is that you are a dog sent into space by the Russians, and as you are drifting through space you will encounter an aggressive alien force. The main character resembles Laika, the first dog sent into space in the Sputnik 2 vessel. In DangleSmash the dog’s main weapon is a tractor beam of sorts, which he uses to grab the Sputnik 1 satellite and thrash enemies.
DangleSmash’s gameplay looks pretty simple at first glance, however it is more challenging than it lets on. The game has three difficulty settings: easy, medium and hard, and there are 7 areas to fight in: The moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Each planet is unique with its own appearance and gravity. Gravity will be key throughout the game: You must adapt to each planet’s gravity in an effort to defeat all 4 normal enemies as well as the final boss for each area.
The controls are excellent and precise. You attack by tapping within the circle that is traced on the screen and move in a circular motion to build up momentum and speed. Once you feel you have built up enough speed, release and watch your weapon smash into the enemies weapon. You can also select the powers you want to use by simply clicking them.
DangleSmash’s enemies are all pretty standard, differing in their shield level, gun level, spike level and speed level. The abilities your opponents possess are the same as yours. Some abilities are unique to offense or defense mode which creates a certain level of tactics for the game. Your shield will be useful as it will block your opponents’ attacks if you time it right. The gun ability is a nice way of attacking without making physical contact with the enemy but cane be hard to aim. Your spike ability is fairly easy to use and will cause opponents to receive greater damage when they hit you when timed right. The speed ability automatically makes your satellite spin with an increased rate, making it easier to attack.
One important detail that has to be explained is that the objective is to destroy the weapon of the enemy craft; not the enemy itself. This being said, every time you or your opponent attack each other you both receive damage to your weapons. But whoever initiates the attack usually causes more damage (except in certain circumstances). Every time a hit is performed or attempted, it will mark the speed of the attack, how much the hit dealt to the opponent, how much the hit dealt to the attacker, the hit angle, number of times hit, and finally, total damage taken and damage dealt for the entire match.
Beating your opponent gives you a set amount of Space Rubles depending on different variables from the match. The Rubles you earn throughout the game can be spent on increasing the level of your abilities previously listed.
A fun little addition is the option to play multiplayer. However, there currently is no online multiplayer – only local multiplayer. What this means is that you will have to set up your toon and spend points to boost your character, then hand your mobile device over to your opponent and allow them to do the same. As you play, you’ll take turn by turn handing it back and forth until someone dies or gives up. While this mode is fun for a while it does get boring very quickly.
The graphics are very well done with the contrast of colors and shading. Animations throughout the game are nice and smooth particularly with the ship’s engine propulsion, the moving guidelines for the spinning area, and the power up boxes. The expressions also give the characters some personality and help to differentiate enemy character models. The grain effect on the screen is a nice touch and makes you feel like you’re watching some old 1950′s footage. The letters in the game also are a reminder of the CCCP (Союз Советских Социалистических Республик) and the Russian theme.
Sounds in DangleSmash are an excellent reminder of the Russian theme of the game. Music here is a lot better then some other games which repeat a few notes and get old fast. The soundtrack provides a nice change of pace from the standard techno or electronic music we have come to expect from space games. Activating shields and spikes provides a nice sound effect. Another point that needs to be added is that you can turn off music and sounds which is always great. Sadly you can’t pause during a match to do this. You will have to go to the option menu in between matches..
DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY
At first DangleSmash seemed very easy, as the first area was a cake walk. However, once you get to Jupiter (a little ways into the game) it gets a bit harder since gravity becomes your main problem. Difficulty does wane in certain areas but it also changes slighty depending upon who you’re fighting. The game throws in a few little challenges as you progress to add to the difficulty, but you’ll have to find out for yourself once the game is released. No spoilers for you! If DangleSmash sounds like a good time, you can give it a try when it releases for $2.99 on November 22nd.