Solar Smash 2D Review
Solar Smash 2D is what I look for in a sandbox game. It’s fun and creative, allowing you to make planets and destroy them as you please. Those looking for a solid game with solid mechanics at no cost will be satisfied with this. However, don’t be surprised by how often you have to restart.
A World to Explore
This game, developed by Paradyme Games, gives you three worlds to explore. The first world allows you to get comfortable with the primary gameplay. You can summon meteors to destroy the planet and its moon, or you can summon spaceships to fly around it. You can even set up traps for the ships to run into while they chase each other. Each ship is part of its own faction and has its own abilities for you to explore. Some can burrow through the planet until it explodes while others can shoot them into oblivion.
The next world has a full shield surrounding a solid ring around the shield’s power source. You can either get ships to attack the shield until it depletes or attack it yourself. The obvious answer would be to summon rockets or meteors within the core to destroy it, but where’s the fun in that?
The third world is like the first, but a huge chunk of the planet is already gone, leaving a crescent. It has the same mechanics as the first world, but it’s more interesting to navigate.
Game Within a Game
Alongside the core mechanic of experimenting with planetary destruction, there are also two games you can play within Solar Smash 2D. The first one summons a spaceship wherever you choose. You use some very intuitive controls to navigate the ship around the world you choose. On the right-hand side of the screen are two buttons. One fires a standard bullet at any target you want, even the planet. The other fires a giant, powerful laser beam that will deplete your shields. Yes, you have shields because any ship can and will destroy you. You can even get injured by bumping into the planet or another shield. It’s your job to take out enemy ships, recognizable by the red icons at the edge of the screen, or burrow into the planet and make a small chamber.
The second game sees you take control of a giant man-eating space worm. This monster can take a lot of hits and, with the right movement, wrap around a ship and destroy it. Its main mechanic is the bite. It can bite through ships, rock, and even drain other shields. It’s usually the brute force way to clear enemies.
There’s no direct goal to either game. All you really have to do is explore and destroy. Space worms suit best for the first world, thanks to the open space and small number of ships. The piloted ship works well with the second world since it becomes a dogfight with numerous ships attacking either you or your enemies. Pay attention to the icons. If you shoot a friendly yellow ship, it will turn red and come after you.
Each minigame controls very smoothly, and the combat mechanics are solid, albeit a little lacking since you have to replenish the enemies yourself. It also doesn’t help that you can’t add a large mew ship to fight against. You can only add the smaller ships. To fight the big ship again, you have to reset the world.
Stranded on a Planet
One of the biggest faults of Solar Smash 2D is that it either doesn’t fully reset the world, like creating a new intact planet, or it does nothing at all. You have to close the game and start it again to get it to reset. Furthermore, if you want to switch between different worlds, you are most likely met with an ad. You’d have to pay $2.49 plus tax to remove them though this game doesn’t have enough content to warrant that kind of payment. It’s a fun diversion, but it only has three worlds. There is an option to create your own world and destroy that; however, it doesn’t go far enough with the concept. You create a copy of world one or world three.
Even if you do build a planet of your own, and destroy it, resetting the scene to build another planet takes you to another advertisement. There’s even a chance that it won’t reset the scene to make another planet but will instead disable any building features. You will have to close out the game and start from scratch if you hadn’t saved the world in a separate file.
Solar Smash 2D is a fun game within a game. Although there’s not much in terms of depth to consider a serious playthrough, there’s still enough to entertain yourself for roughly ten to fifteen minutes at a time. The visuals may be striking, and the gameplay smooth and intuitive, but the lack of exploration mechanics or anything past the basics of planet building keeps this from being among the great sandbox games.
Is It Hardcore?
Visually impressive, mechanically solid, unfortunately sparse. This is a game that stands beyond mediocrity, but doesn’t have the depth to be truly great.