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Hands-on with FlingSmash

Despite the success of Grand Slam Tennis, Wii Sports Resort and Red Steel 2, games like FlingSmash that are designed around MotionPlus remain a rare breed. A less substantial offering than we’ve come to expect from boxed Nintendo titles, FlingSmash exists to bridge the gap between Red Steel 2 and the next Zelda title (in a MotionPlus way anyway). Cheap? In a sense. Cheerful? Definitely. Throwaway? Well, that’s what this game’s all about.

The star of the show is a little yellow blob named Zip, whom you fling across the screen from right to left (or vice-versa if you’re a wrong-handed lefty) in order to smash blocks. There are those words again: fling, smash.

It’s a high-score game at heart, even going so far as to award rankings and chart your score in graph form at the end of each level. With that in mind, the increased accuracy that MotionPlus brings becomes a valuable asset in a game that, at first glance, might seem a bit "hit it and hope." People compare it to Pong and Breakout, but it’s more like pool than anything; angles become important – both the angle of the throw and the direction in which Zip will bounce once released. There’s little time to dwell on your next move, though: little dragons pop out of the screen to nosh on any balls that dilly-dally on the right of the screen or get trapped by the scenery.

There’s certainly plenty to aim for. Collectable items include a lemon that turns you into a giganto-ball, cherries that provide an eye-watering score boost, and a red block challenge at the end of each stage where you have to take out a set of moving blocks in one throw.

Completing the old-school vibe are the boss characters who top off FlingSmash’s eight worlds. The first such chump is a white baseball thing with a protective, smash-resistant mask. But smashing is one of the two things we’re good at! No worries – angle your ‘flung smashes’ so they catch him under the chin and you’ll knock him off his perch in no time. Now that’s how you play FlingSmash! *Cough*

Variety comes in the form of a new set of physics every second world or so. In World Three, for example, Zip suddenly goes all Metal Mickey on us, resulting in a heavier ball that requires more physical exertion on the part of the player. FlingSmash is quirky, different and deserves more attention than it’ll probably get. Most gamers will be married to Mario Galaxy 2 this summer, but there’s always room for a fling.

Apr 20, 2010

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