Mini-review: Smash Bandits Racing is motorised freemium madness

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Imagine a driving game where you can drive over and through an awful lot of the scenery - never mind collision detection, we're talking collide-and-smash-to-smithereens here. The end goal is to evade chasing police cars, but the real run is in the lines you take around the road network and scenery and what you smash along the way. Not so much an endless runner, more an endless 'driver' - and, as it turns out, jolly good smashing fun, all seen as if from a chasing helicopter, complete with TV commentary on the reckless joyrider (that's you!) racking up a bill for the county. It's freemium though, so watch out how much you spend in acquiring more speed and more smashing power!

From the Store description:

From the makers of Smash Cops – crash through America in the craziest road race to hit the Windows Phone Store. Power up to faster cars, get the edge with getaway gadgets and outrun the cops as you speed to the state line.

  • SMASH EVERYTHING - Well, almost. Whichever route you take through an ever-changing world of dirt tracks and dusty logging towns you can crash and bash your way through smashable scenery in the most intense display of destruction you have ever seen. What crazy road race would be complete without a TV chopper hovering overhead? The further you get and the more you smash, the bigger the TV ratings and the more cash you earn.
  • UPGRADE & OUTRUN - Make sure you’re always ahead of the game (and the cops) with cool car upgrades. Start with a puny compact and make it awesome with extra speed, handling and strength. And when you start earning big, you might just get your hands on the fastest road car on the planet, the stunning Hennessey Venom GT.
  • BOOST YOUR CHANCES - Before you head off you get to choose something to help you along the way. Stinger-proof tires, the 'Stunner' car taser and even a tank are available to give you the edge over the relentless Sheriff McBride and his deputies.
  • CRUISE CONTROLS - innovative one-finger control makes it super easy to drive, drift & spin your car, and unleash those helpful gadgets - no matter where you’re playing.
  • TAKE A BANDIT CHALLENGE - The Smash Bandits race organisers don’t think that simply out-running the cops is a big enough problem, so they’ve put together over 100 challenges where you can test your driving skills to the limit.

Here's Smash Bandits Racing in action:

Screenshot, Smash Bandits RacingScreenshot, Smash Bandits Racing

Unusually for a racing game, this plays out in portrait mode, perhaps one clue as to the 'endless runner' gameplay (as opposed to a driving sim). It's twist and turn, smash and bash, try to stay on the road (where precipices are involved, as shown above, right), and stay ahead of the police cars to avoid being 'busted'. If you do get caught by one, you can tap to target it and then ram it to trigger an explosion!

Screenshot, Smash Bandits RacingScreenshot, Smash Bandits Racing

There's a back story of sorts, but really it's about getting out there and driving over stuff. The more stuff you smash the more 'TV' bucks you earn, it seems.

Screenshot, Smash Bandits RacingScreenshot, Smash Bandits Racing

Bit by bit you earn chips and bucks, yes, there are two separate in game currencies for no reason whatsoever, other than to complicate things, it seems. Buying bigger and better vehicles is the core progression. And if you get busted (then) you can pay your way to carrying on from your growing stash.

Screenshot, Smash Bandits RacingScreenshot, Smash Bandits Racing

The in-app purchases range from the reasonable (£1.50 to get rid of ads) to the ridiculous (£62!! for a stupidly high amount of virtual currency) - and yes, there are similar IAPs for the red chips, if you're so inclined.

Screenshot, Smash Bandits RacingScreenshot, Smash Bandits Racing

But enough churlishness over the in-app-pricing - there's still lots of run to be had here, whether on the road or (left) in the water. The goal in each case is to keep driving and smash away.

Touchscreen control is via holding down behind your vehicle to floor the throttle and swinging your touch-point from side to side to adjust the heading. In practice it works very well indeed, kudos to the developers.

Oh, and there's a stirring rock soundtrack all the while you're driving. IAP caveats-aside, you can download Smash Bandits Racing for free in the Windows Phone Store here.

Source / Credit: Windows Phone Store