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Toy Story: Smash It! Review: Playful, Lighthearted Block Breaker

“To infinity, and beyond!” If you’re a fan of the Toy Story movies, and if you’d like a fun, well-made game featuring your favorite characters in that franchise, then look no further than Toy Story: Smash It!, the new physics puzzler from Disney. It’s fun, good-looking, and easy to pick up.

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I’m a sucker for the Toy Story movies, and I think the property is well utilized here. Buzz Lightyear is the star, of course, and the three-eyed Pizza Planet aliens play the bad guys; other characters show up in incidental roles, such as in cutscreens. All of the levels are made from toys, of course, and since the alien enemies are made of rubber they just scurry away when hit. Even the rubber ball from the Toy Story logo plays its part as the standard game ball. All the graphics are authentic in their look and feel.

And the gameplay itself? It’s light, fast, and fun. most people will immediately think of Angry Birds when playing this game, but I’m more reminded of Boom Blox, a Wii game that I used to enjoy playing. Like Boom Blox, boards here are three-dimensional, and you have the freedom to move around and choose an angle of attack … though not all 360 degrees, which was kind of annoying. Early levels more or less hand-hold you through the perfect shot, but before long you’re left with the freedom to try and find the perfect angle, the one that sends things tumbling into each other for big points.

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Like Angry Birds, Boom Blox, and any other game like this, knocking down all the enemies is the primary goal each level. Playing through for the primary goal isn’t very difficult, and you might be surprised when you run out of boards after what feels like not much play time (there’s sixty levels at launch). But there’s a secondary goal in collecting glowing boxes in each level, and a further goal of getting a three-star ranking on each level (of course — they’re all three star rankings nowadays). If you’re a completest, you’re going to find a fair bit of replay value here.

One quibble I did have with the gameplay is in the aiming system. It’s a little too loose, making it easy to set off an imprecise shot. Also, it’s very easy to launch a shot accidentally, especially when you’re trying to aim, but decide to try and move before taking the shot. Neither is game-breakingly bad, but both may frustrate at times.

Good puzzle games like this must thrive on variety, of course, introducing new elements as things get harder. Here, you get different projectiles as you progress, like the rocket ball and the balloon ball. There are also different kinds of blocks, like unmovable metal, easy-shatter glass, and exploding. These keep the levels fresh as you go along.

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One thing notably missing from Toy Story: Smash It! is any sort of in-game IAP. It’s refreshing to see a game that isn’t immediately after you to SPEND MOAR after you purchase the game. And IAP would have been ridiculously easy to conceive, too — just let the players purchase Woody as a playable character for an extra 99-cents. That may still come in the future, but for now I’m going to enjoy its absence.

Toy Story: Smash It! is light, casual fun that should appeal to anyone who enjoys physics puzzle games. It’s also a must-by for Toy Story franchise fans looking for a little interactive fun. It’s not an original concept by any means, but what it lacks in originality it makes up for in polish. Check it out.

Our Score: 4 out of 5.


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