Smash Up is an area-control, shufflebuilding card game from Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG). Recently, AEG and Nomad Games released an early access digital version on Steam and we had a chance to check it out. Fair warning! The game is still being built. There are a few bugs, there are limited options, and the whole game may change before its full release.
The starter pack for the game gives you 3 factions Dinosaurs, Ninjas, and Geeks, but once it launches, AEG says they will also include Pirates, Robots, Wizards, and Tricksters. You can also invest a few dollars to unlock Aliens and Zombies. My game included the expansion pack so you’ll see some Aliens and Zombies mixed in.
Just like in the card game, you will have a deck of cards from which you will be dealt a hand. Each turn you can play a minion card and an action card. There are three bases on deck for you to vie for control over. To get control of a base you’ll play minions on it until the minion strength reaches or exceeds the bases strength.
The digital game plays fairly well. It gives you a good walkthrough if you are a first time player and will narrate what you need to do each turn without being obnoxious about it. As you play you can the cards only show the pictures to save screen space, but you can expand them to find out what each one does.There are a few bugs still being worked out. One such is the Zombie lord who is supposed to let you play an extra minion, but instead lets you play an extra action.
I would recommend turning off the “Proceed Button” in the options at the start of the game. Otherwise, every time anyone takes an action you will have to click to make the game move along. This is a good function for a first time player who might need more time to process what the opponent is doing, but for anyone whose played a few times, clicking that button can get tedious.
So is the digital version of Smash Up fun? Heck yeah!
If you like the original card game, then this is looking like it is going to be a great port of it. The AI levels are balanced pretty well so easy is simple enough for new players and hard is still challenging. I can’t quite beat hard AI yet, but MY DAY SHALL COME!
Smash Up will be released in full for PC, iOS, and Android later this year. If you would like to try out the early release it is available on Steam for free. The starter pack is being sold at a discounted rate of only $8.99/ £5.99 throughout the Early Access phase, but we are giving away 3 Steam Download Codes for the expansions! Just enter the contest below before November 8th for a chance to win the Aliens and Zombies!