Growing up the youngest of three siblings, many games I played were older than me, and more than a little worn with use. Between three brothers, we played through the Castlevania series like it was our business, destroyed pretty much everything in the original Xbox library, and put so many hours into our copy of Pokémon Yellow that it no longer functions. Rest in peace.
The only downside was that we played these games to the point where the main objectives went stale, requiring us to get creative. We began writing our own alternative rulesets to games in an attempt to keep them fresh, and it worked. From self imposed rulesets like restricting what weapons we could use in Call of Duty Zombies, to creating a Christmas themed Pokémon playthrough, we could never be bored with the same games.
SuperMash goes a step further than that. This game’s gimmick, which it wears as a badge of honour, is that it generates its own games. Here’s how it works.
SuperMash takes six popular video game genres—Platformer, Action Adventure, Shoot -Em Up, Metrovania, Stealth, and JRPG—and mixes elements from two of those genres. One genre is used to determine the primary gameplay. If Platformer is your primary genre, you’re going to be looking at a side scrolling map with a jumping mechanic. If it’s a shoot ‘Em Up, the game sets you up in a top-down Galaga style shooter. The secondary genre determines various other elements, such as Stealth giving you the box from Metal Gear Solid to hide under, or the JRPG giving you a turn based combat system.
Once the game has been created, you’re read a hilarious, randomly generated plot and thrown into the action. But before you begin, there are even more factors to be determined. One is the stats of your character, including their health and speed, weapon load out, and abilities. Another factor is a glitch system, which the game uses to provide random cheat codes, or essentially break your game. These range from freezing enemies when you move, to causing you to drop money when you jump. All of these combined elements make sure that no two games are alike. However, this gimmick comes at a cost.
The actual gameplay is usually very short and simple, with not much to offer as far as variety within the core genres. Most of the variations in gameplay are pretty shallow, but the joy of this game lies in the humour that randomly generated video games provide. After you complete a game, you’re awarded with usable “dev cards,” which can be applied to future mashes you create. These give you some control of the outcome of the mash, such as letting you select a protagonist, the stage music, or glitches.
As a social experience, this game works very well. The first night I played with my roommates, we passed around the controller for a solid four hours. Every time we made a new mash, we would write down the hilarious, procedurally generated names of the games, which included such gems as “Billionaire Fear,” and “Troll Squadron.” Along with the name, a randomly generated title screen is produced, throwing together various fonts and sprites related to the selected genres. The result is a hilariously bad image that looks like a poorly Photoshopped YouTube thumbnail. The best part is, once a game has been created, you can save it to your library of repayable mashes and copy a digital code to send a friend so they can play the game you randomly generated.
All this being said, I can’t imagine playing this game alone for long periods of time. Outside of the actual gameplay, which is often very short, nonsensical, and often unfair, the story mode isn’t much to dive into. You play a young man who runs a video game shop with his sister and uses the Super Mash machine to create randomized games to sell. You can upgrade your store and buy packs of dev cards to make your games more customizable. It feels a lot like a tycoon style flash game, but in a fun way. Upgrading your store and doing little story missions feels good, and I enjoy doing this on my own. But playing your own randomized games honestly doesn’t feel very good.
Aside from the gameplay feeling lackluster, Super Mash could also use a few more genres. The most interesting part of this game are the first couple of hours that you play, testing out genre mashups. At one point, I was on the floor laughing because when you combine the Shoot ‘Em Up and JRPG genre, you just play a Final Fantasy style game with your protagonist being an entire space ship. It’s fantastic.
But with only six genres to mix, you run out of combinations pretty quickly, and the level of fun takes a nosedive. I would easily pay a few bucks for DLC if they expanded the game to add several more genres, such as sports games, real time strategies, or visual novels. It might also be interesting if they expanded the length of the games, allowing you to save your progress on harder mashes and go back to them later. As it is, no games take longer than 20 minutes to master, all blending in a forgettable way.
Still, SuperMash is a great party game to show a group of people that have never seen it. Between the wild first impression of playing a JRPG as a sentient spaceship, the cheesy pixel art, and catchy retro music, I thought the game was worth a couple of weekends of novelty. If you’re looking for a Switch title that will entertain friends for a couple of hours, SuperMash is a good choice. If you’re looking for a single player experience to sink more than ten hours into, this might not be up your alley.
You can purchase SuperMash on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Games Store, or Nintendo eShop for £16.99 / $19.99.
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch Version of the game which can be purchased here.
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Jume’s game shop is in trouble, and she needs her brother Tomo’s help to save it! Mash together iconic genres to create never-before-seen gaming experiences. Jump through classic Platformer levels with a tactical Stealth character, fight as spaceships in engaging JRPG battles, and more! Anything is possible with SuperMash’s emergent game system, which creates a unique game every time you play. You can even customize your Mashes with the help of Dev Cards! Think the Mash you made is impossible? Share its MASH Code with a friend or streamer and see if they can beat it!
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 16.99
Product In Stock: SoldOut