FlingSmash (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Mike Mason 04.03.2010 6

Review for FlingSmash (Hands-On) on Wii

FlingSmash, previously known as Span Smasher, is one of the few first party Wii games that are exclusively MotionPlus-enabled, and so I’ve been curious to see how it played since it was first shown off many moons ago, alongside Zangeki no Reginleiv, Line Attack Heroes and Xenoblade (formerly known as Monado: Beginning of the World). Happily, I can report that the answer is ‘quite well’.

FlingSmash is very much a game that I can see appealing to both the gamer and non-gamer. It’s simple enough to be played by anybody, but there is certainly challenge to be had if you want to aim for the best scores. Taking control of a character that resembles the result of procreation between a paintbrush and a space hopper, you do exactly what the title suggests - fling a ball about and smash through blocks and enemies.

Already I can imagine a few of you are thinking of this as a waggle-fest of a game, and I suppose it could be played like that. However, the true way to play is to think amongst the frantic action and move the Wii Remote in specific directions to angle your throws. MotionPlus-exclusivity means that each of your throws must be properly weighted and directed; wherever you want the character to go, he will go, provided MotionPlus is calibrated correctly (a playtest early on in the day was flawless in its accuracy, while one later on felt a little sluggish). Aside holding a button to freeze your character, throwing motions are the only controls you need. This doesn’t mean everybody will play the same, however - some may choose to swing where they want to go directly, whereas I favoured angling my throws down to the ground so that I could bounce my character where I wanted him to go with extra force.

Screenshot for FlingSmash (Hands-On) on Wii

Each level is short and their conclusion can usually be reached within just a few minutes. This is due to the screen constantly scrolling; stop behind too long and dragons will attempt to eat your bouncy creature. Throughout each, though, you will find multiple paths and lots of point-scoring extras. The aim is, ultimately, to collect three medals per stage so that you can grab a pearl at the end, thus winning the level. Though it does not play anything like it, FlingSmash reminds me of Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat in the way that it feels like a score challenge - you constantly want to better yourself and can immediately see how to do so.

Two of the worlds on offer at Nintendo’s media summit had you acting as the standard bouncy ball, but the final one gave you a metallic sheen. In this ball-bearing form you are heavy, and thus you must alter your movements to compensate for the extra weight. Hopefully in the final version there will be a multitude of ball types to keep the game fresh. At the end of each world you will take on a boss character. One I faced looked like a cross between a limbless version of Kirby’s Metaknight and a puffer fish, inflating and deflating as you attempt to bounce around his metal masked-face to deal damage to his soft, rubbery body.
Mike Mason, Reviews Editor.

Screenshot for FlingSmash (Hands-On) on Wii

Personally, Span Smasher had completely gone under my radar, meaning that when it reared its head as FlingSmash at the Nintendo Media Event, my reaction was hardly one of great enthusiasm. What gave me hope, and forced me to give it an extended whirl was not only the fact that the woman demonstrating it was extremely attractive and overly friendly, but that the developer behind this is Artoon. Many will know Artoon for its work with Mistwalker on Blue Dragon, as well as the Blinx games for the Xbox 360. However, the team is noteworthy to myself for its sterling work on the tilt-enabled Yoshi’s Universal Gravitation on the Game Boy Advance, the fantastic Yoshi’s Island DS and Mistwalker’s quirky RPG, AWAY: Shuffle Dungeon on DS.

According to the lovely Nicolette, there were eight worlds to play through, but only three were being shown off at the event, along with three mini-games (including a great tennis-like event). There was also the ability to change from the yellow, funky male blob-like character to a far cuter (in her opinion) female ball called Pip, a name that apparently means something rude in French…Anyway, the game asks players which hand they prefer to use (the answer changes the direction in which the levels scroll) and then launches them into brightly coloured, automatically side-scrolling stages filled with power-ups, enemies, special spinning blocks that need to be hit before they become stationary, keys to unlock new pathways and much more. Smart movement of the Wii Remote, complete with its MotionPlus attachment in tow, is required to deftly flick your way around, gently at times, and more forcefully at others in order to bash through blockades.

Screenshot for FlingSmash (Hands-On) on Wii

There is plenty of challenge involved, with the temptation to merely shake the controller around randomly really not resulting in anything other than failure, apart from the odd occasion where luck intervenes. Those that loved how responsive Wii Sports Resort was will definitely take to this entertaining experience straight away. There is no real learning curve required, with any demographic or gender able to launch into the physics-filled, pinball-esque action and have great fun. In fact, if playing through the mini-games and main stages is not satisfying enough, there is even the option for two-player co-operative play, as well as a whole host of boss battles to wade through. FlingSmash is firmly on my radar now, and could well be the surprise ‘smash’ hit of 2010!
- Adam Riley, Senior Editor.

Screenshot for FlingSmash (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

FlingSmash’s controls may have occasionally felt ‘off’ due to calibration issues in the test version, but when it did work properly it felt superb. If it remains imaginative, challenging and replayable throughout the remaining five worlds we did not get chance to see then it is easily going to be a must-buy upon its release this Summer. If Nintendo gets the marketing right, FlingSmash could well become one of those games that bridges the gap nicely between the hardcore and the casual audiences.

Developer

Artoon

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Q3 2010   North America release date Q4 2010   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   

Comments

I think recalibration could grow to be a severe problem. With Grand slam tennis some matches go by flawlessly others are a drag to get through. Sometime the controller can be really difficult to recalibrate. All games should have a button to recalibrate the control like Wii resort.

Recalibration certainly happened a fair bit when I was playing through this one. Still, I was surprised as to how much I ended up enjoying it. Still a bit 50/50 on it though, it'll either be great fun and a really clever idea of just a bit 'wrist-ey'...with lots of waggling.

Tip-top hands on guys.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

In all honesty, whilst I saw some people having LOTS of trouble with the recalibration, using the same Wii Remote and MotionPlus combination I only had an issue once or twice. I believe it's a technique approach Smilie

Anyway, I think that just as Endless Ocean 2 was able to attract a wider audience, if Nintendo markets this well, FlingSmash could also become a sleeper hit!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

jesusraz said:
In all honesty, whilst I saw some people having LOTS of trouble with the recalibration, using the same Wii Remote and MotionPlus combination I only had an issue once or twice. I believe it's a technique approach Smilie

Yes...but a game shouldn't force you to play a certain way or otherwise break/refuse to work. That makes it a bad game. No?

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

True, it's not ideal. Interestingly enough, I didn't have any such issues with Red Steel 2 a couple of months back, so maybe it was a case of either the game code isn't completely finished yet, throwing off the sensor, or that particular MotionPlus unit was bust Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Some of the MotionPlus units were dodgy. The first one I played, right at the start of the day, had no issues whatsoever, controlled exactly as you wanted it to, perfect - that's what I expect the final thing will be like. The one I played towards the end of the day was laggy. I put it down to debug software and a long day for the systems/MotionPlus units.

( Edited 11.03.2010 14:09 by Mason )

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