Super Skull Smash GO! Review—Smashing Fun but Needs More Skull Polish

SuperSkullSmashTitle

Super Skull Smash GO! sounds like a pretty silly name, and I suppose it is. But at the same time, it really does describe the gameplay of this retro-themed puzzle platform game from Thomas Hopper AKA TACS Games. It plays a lot like most old platforming games did (Lode Runner or Jumpman), where you move a little guy around a level collecting gems (or in this case skulls), but rather than just collect the skulls, the object of this game is to smash the skulls against what looks like a gravestone.

At its most basic, this requires jumping on top of a skeleton, knocking it out, grabbing its skull and then throwing (or kicking) it against the gravestone. Pretty simple at first, but on most levels this is not easily accomplished. Usually you need to bounce the skull off a series of deflection devices.

Glorious 16-color mode! Looks like the ColecoVision, sorta.

Glorious 16-color mode! Looks like the ColecoVision, sorta.

Sometimes it’s a matter of figuring out where to throw it, but sometimes you need to throw it, move to a different place, and catch the skull again for another throw. Sounds a bit complicated now that I write it (and it’s hard to take a picture of it in-game), but when you see it in practice, it’s easy to understand. Besides simply smashing the skulls, there are gold coins to be collected. These can be grabbed yourself by moving the little guy around and touching them, or by the thrown skull. The coin grabbing is optional though.

You go from level to level on a world map of sorts. It’s mostly linear, though in some places you can choose two different paths. You get a special indicator if you get all the gold coins on a level. There’s something like 27 levels in all, so it’s not an overly long game. There isn’t too much point in going back, either, unless you want to get all the gold coins on each level. I have no idea what happens if you do get them all, since I didn’t.

World map

World map

Super Skull Smash GO! could have used some more polish. For a simple game, it’s somewhat hard to figure out how to play, because the controls aren’t very well explained, with just a very brief tutorial. I couldn’t figure out even how to pick up a skull, because it used an icon I had never seen before. Apparently, it’s down on the D-pad that does it. Another button simply kills you. I have no idea why, I guess to get out of a level. But I sometimes accidentally hit that button, which is more than a little irritating.

But my big annoyance is dying. I tend to die a lot in platformers, so I like ones where I can get back in the action right away. Here that is not the case. You die, the game slowly scrolls back to the level map, then you select the level again and it slowly scrolls back. Ugh.

There are several different graphics modes, essentially changing the number of colors used. The default looks more like a ColecoVision than anything else. If you use a mode with less colors, you lose some distinctions in what objects are, particularly the things you bounce the skulls off. So while you can play with different graphics, in practice the default mode is the best.

8-color mode. Little harder to see the things the skulls bounce off.

8-color mode. Little harder to see the things the skulls bounce off.

Super Skull Smash GO! is clever and fun. On the other hand, it’s really lacking in some basics (like a proper explanation of how to play the game). It’s also kind of short, only a couple hours of gameplay, and yet not that cheap.

The obvious comparison is to Life of Pixel. This is more of a puzzler while that is more a pure platformer. But Life of Pixel costs a little less, has twice as many levels, and I’d say is somewhat more fun. Also much less painful when you die.

This is still very enjoyable and more original, so definitely worth a look if you like platformers, and definitely if you like puzzle platform games. I just wish it had more levels and more polish—I think it could have been a really great game. I get the impression that the developer is just slapping his games up on PS Mobile as fast as he can. Of course, not a lot of other companies seem to be making them, but at the same time, you wonder if a bit more care and effort wouldn’t be better for everyone in the long run.

7/10

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Comments

5 Responses to “Super Skull Smash GO! Review—Smashing Fun but Needs More Skull Polish”
  1. Aaron Jean says:

    This doesn’t seem my sort of thing, but that is a great name!

    Super Skull Smash Go!

    Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

  2. basam says:

    Is PS Mobile Games are available for PSP ?

  3. onmode-ky says:

    No, the set of devices that can run PSM software includes only the PS Vita and phones/tablets that are specifically PSM-compatible. There is no PSM virtual machine on the PSP. It may not be powerful enough to run the on-the-fly translation.

  4. basam says:

    Thank You for your answer dear onmode-ky
    Some Games Like Hungry Giraffe is also available for PSP but this site wrote PSM .
    How could I know that a PSM game is a PSP game too or not ?

  5. onmode-ky says:

    Posts about PSM and PSM content on this site have “PlayStation Mobile” as one of the tags at the end of the post (just below the post’s author and date information), like this one does.

    As far as I can recall, so far the only Minis (PSP games) that have been ported to PSM are Laughing Jackal’s, namely Cubixx, OMG-Zombies (which was OMG-Z in its Minis form), and Hungry Giraffe.

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