A Brutal Gamer review.
The humble grenade doesn’t really get a lot of love in shooters. It’s mainly used as a last resort when you’re trapped in a tight spot to wipe out the enemy. With Pineapple Smash Crew, however, grenades and explosions are very much the order of the day. And, as most people would surely agree, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a huge explosion.
Pineapple Smash Crew is the creation of Rich Edwards of Rich Make Game, with chiptune artist Syphus providing the music. You control a team of four mercenaries who go around looting derelict spaceships to make as much money as possible. You have to complete an objective on the ship, such as destroying all the enemies in certain rooms, or quickly disposing of toxic drums. You move your four mercs at once, who stay in very tight formation and can hold a grenade each. You can switch your lead merc at will, which adds a level of strategy to proceedings. The contols are very responsive, which allows you to move out of harm’s way quickly and hit back with your own barrage.
All your mercenaries have a standard gun, but the main focus of your armory is the grenades, of which there are 13 types in total, such as standard grenades, lasers that can shoot through walls and teleports, which teleport you to wherever you throw the grenade, destoying any enemies that get in your way. You start with a couple of grenade types and collect XP by breaking open the various crates and collecting the blue boxes inside. When you gain a level, you unlock a new type of grenade, getting a choice between two different types.
Every level is randomly generated as you play, and you get a choice of a few, with each one having a different level of difficulty and damage. There’s a wide array of enemies, from zombie like creatures to slugs, robots and gun turrets. To help you along, you can collect power ups as you go, which will either slow enemies down, make you invincible, vastly increase the damage your guns do or scare enemies away from you. Most levels contain a boss battle which involves fighting off a larger ship, with a variety of armour panels and guns which increase in number in more difficult ships.
PSC clearly draws inspiration from the likes of Cannon Fodder and Alien Breed, with the four man squad dynamic and fighting off hordes of alien creatures, and running around blowing them to smithereens is great fun. Despite this and the potentially endless stream of new levels, things can get a little repetitive after a few hours. The unlocking of new grenades does keep things interesting for a while, but you won’t likely be playing this through much more than a couple of times. The four man mechanic does scream for a multiplayer co-op mode, but with only one person creating the game, it’s understandable that there isn’t one included. That’s really a wish rather than a criticism.
The art style for PSC is charming, combining a blocky 8-bit look with 3D to create a look not dissimilar to 3D Dot Game Heroes. The explosions and splattering of alien goo are very impressive, and the ships are well designed. It’s fun seeing the quotes from the marines when things explode, with the obligatory “Eat lead” being followed by “Eat all the poisonous metals!”. There are more than one response that the mercs can utter as well. The soundtrack is by chiptune artist Syphus and is excellent, fitting the style and setting of the game really well.
Pineapple Smash Crew is an old school style shooter that is great fun for anyone who loved games like Cannon Fodder or Alien Breed. The randomly generated levels mean you never play the same game twice, although everything does feel very samey after a while, but PSC is a well designed, innovative shooter that will give you hours of fun. Now get out there, and blow stuff up!