Developer: Digital Continue
Publisher: Digital Continue
Available On: PC, Coming to PS4, XBOX One, and Nintendo Switch in 2020
Official Site: https://www.digitalcontinue.com/super_mash/
Release Date: December 9, 2019
Version Tested: PC (Epic Games Store)
Where to Buy: Epic Games Store
I was more than excited when Digital Continue’s SuperMash was announced. SuperMash proclaimed itself to be a game that makes games. The flashy trailer made the game look incredible, fun, wacky, and it looked like such a unique experience. I can now say after sinking a substantial amount of time into the game… I am more than disappointed in SuperMash.
As a side note, to avoid confusion from here on out, I will refer to the games SuperMash generates as “mashes.”
If a game could make games, what would it make?
The slogan of Supermash is it’s a “game that makes games.” Unlike any other game, SuperMash takes two genres and generates a “unique” mash combining the two. There are six genres to choose from, making there a total of 21 different combinations (this includes mixing the genre with itself). SuperMash‘s trailer claims that “every game is endlessly unique,” however, in my experience, that isn’t the case.
Each genre has three to four different levels or areas that the mash can take place in, meaning that maps are recycled quite frequently. SuperMash attempts to make the mashes feel unique by reskinning them. However, taking the same level and making the parts different colors doesn’t make the level any different than it was before.
For example, if you took World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros. and made all the Goombas into Waddle Dees, changed the color of the platforms, and you played as a generic RPG protagonist but still had the same controls as Mario… it wouldn’t feel much different. Now, you could argue that the nostalgia of World 1-1 would make the experience charming, but SuperMash doesn’t have that same nostalgic charm.
This led to the mashes feeling very-very repetitive. Especially since a lot of the mashes are timed, and you have between 5 to 10 minutes to beat a level. This leads to you playing a bunch of different mashes in a short period of time, and after being exposed to so many mashes you realize they all start to blend together.
So, what could a game that makes games make? Apparently, it can only recycle the same bits and pieces over and over again and claim it’s a completely unique experience every time.
Will you create a fresh classic or the next big flop?
Nine times out of ten, you are going to create the next big flop. But that isn’t to say that SuperMash doesn’t have its redeeming qualities.
The very first mash I played, I found it very charming and actually quite enjoyed it. I picked two genres, RPG and Shoot-em-up, and loaded into the game. My character was an old man equipped with a gold dagger, and my companions were a girl named Jutsu and a fighter jet whose name was a series of letters and numbers. My character popped up on the screen, and the screen started to scroll like a classic shoot-em-up game, but what would usually be a tank or a helicopter was replaced by my old man floating in mid-air.
Soon, enemy tanks and helicopters started to appear on the screen and opened fire on me. I instinctively mashed the fire button to realize that I did not have a gun. Instead, a golden dagger rotated around my body. I immediately attempted to get close enough to an enemy to kill him with my sword, but upon running into an enemy tank, the screen twisted and distorted, and I was transported into a Final Fantasy-esque turn-based battle.
On-screen then appeared an old man (my character), a younger woman named Jutsu, and a small spaceship. Our adversaries; a tank, a helicopter, and a large fighter jet. I couldn’t help but loudly cackle at the absurd battle I was about to partake in, and I can honestly and sadly say that was the most enjoyment I got out of SuperMash. The first ten minutes of play were my favorite moments spent in the game.
There were other mashes that weren’t necessarily bad, but neither were they good. At best, the mashes were subpar indie-games you’d find on the eShop for $.10. But even those were few or far between.
But at worst, and this happened all too frequently, the mashes wouldn’t function properly, would become unbeatable, or would take the worst parts of the genres exclusively use those.
There was an instance where one of the mashes I played was a shoot-em-up mixed with some other genre that I can’t recall because frankly, it didn’t use any of the aspects from that genre. I was piloting a spaceplane that shot lasers, and I had to defeat 12 ghost enemies in order to beat the game. This sounds incredibly simple, but the ghost enemies were pitch black with no details, and the stage I was flying around had a pitch-black background. The only way I could pinpoint the enemies was to aim at where they had last fired.
Usually, after killing an objective enemy, a counter of the bottom screen is supposed to increment upwards, confirming that you had gotten the kill, however, in this mash, that didn’t happen. So, for ten minutes I played this mash only to realize that it was broken and I couldn’t beat it.
Another instance was when I mashed a Metroidvania with a stealth game. My mission was to find the boss room and survive three waves of enemies once I was there. The mash started me out in a Metroidvania-type level, where I navigated downwards until I found the room where I was supposed to survive for three waves. I entered the room, and the game shifted to a stealth game mode where you navigate a 2D space from a top-down perspective similar to classic Zelda titles. The room was a square with the only door being the one you had just entered through at the bottom of the screen.
Once in the room, the waves started. Each wave had a number of enemies correlating to the number of waves you were on. I had made it to wave three when, instead of navigating the room like normal, one of the enemies spawned in the middle of the room and fell straight down through the doorway as if it were affected by gravity. I thought that was funny, but I guess he’s gone. That was until I defeated the other two enemies, and the game mode didn’t end.
I attempted to leave the room and come back in, but to my surprise, I wasn’t able to go. The button to leave came on the screen when I approached the door, but pressing the button didn’t do anything. I had to restart the entire level, and when I made it to wave three, the same thing happened again, and again, and again. At one point in time, a different enemy had the same gravity effect happen, but instead of falling through the doorway, he fell down to the bottom level, walked to the doorway, and then fell through.
These are only two examples of the many times the mashes just wouldn’t work for me. Other times my player would get trapped in a corner and wouldn’t be able to move or fire my weapon, resulting in me having to wait until enemies slowly drained my health or I would have to restart the level. But perhaps the most frustrating part of SuperMash is when a mash would crash. It would send you back to the lobby area to which your character would then spout out some line of dialogue referencing that the mash you were playing just crashed. Of course, in my case, this would only happen when I was playing a mash I was actually able to tolerate.
I could say a lot more about SuperMash. The story is poorly written, although the base concept is good. The music in the game feels heavily uninspired. The characters aren’t very interesting. Your sister is dating some older man who seems like he could be a college professor. Your character walks around the lobby like a complete goofball, but when it comes down to the core gameplay of what SuperMash claims to be, it ultimately falls short.
SuperMash has a lot of potential, and the idea of mashing genres together to make games is unique and exciting. But it was a poorly executed idea that feels severely unpolished.
Verdict: SuperMash falls short of what it is advertised to be, and I can not recommend buying it at full retail value. A game that makes games turned out to be a game that makes flops.
- Unique Idea
- Poor execution
- Very buggy/unpolished
- Very repetitive
Zackerie Fairfax is living proof that you don’t have to be good at video games to love playing them. He has spent tens-of-thousands of hours with a controller in hand playing every genre imaginable and prides himself in being a master-of-none. His childhood consisted of obscure games played by few and enjoyed by fewer, and his adulthood is a mirror image of his youth.
He is also the co-host of the Games Sold Separately Podcast