Parents' Guide to

Smash Up

By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Card strategy mashes zombies, ninjas, math into fun game.

Smash Up Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

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Is It Any Good?

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This game is surprisingly deep with its strategy and its gameplay, which should keep players involved for a long time. In the first few minutes, the gameplay may feel a little overwhelming -- you're presented with a ton of cards and a lot of steps. But playing isn't impossible, since the app includes an extremely detailed set of instructions. This includes a tutorial that features thorough directions, guided gameplay, and a lengthy written manual. The app also provides explanations and advice as you play actual games, if you'd like.

That's not to say, though, that Smash Up can't be challenging. Settings can be changed to play at a faster speed or to forgo the ongoing help. The process of playing cards from your hand is a bit cumbersome: You can't directly drag and drop cards to Bases; you need to pull them over to a launch area and tap the destination you want them to end up in. It may also take younger players a turn or two to get a sense of what capabilities -- ranging from destroying minions to drawing additional cards -- various cards offer. But once they get it, trying to identify the best one to use during your turn, plotting your next move, and figuring out your opponent's strategy can be an engrossing experience. Smash Up doesn't have a lot of visual bells and whistles -- cards zooming around is the only motion or action shown, but it's a card game, after all. But some elements, such as the deck themes, which range from ninjas to dinosaurs, will likely appeal to young players. And with frequent card choices to make and an opponent's moves to pay attention to, it doesn't feel like the game necessarily needs more dynamic visuals to hold a player's interest. Plus, players can get critical thinking experience when considering which card to use -- a nice way for kids to practice that skill without feeling like they're being forced to learn something. Thanks to the hints players can receive, kids are unlikely to get confused or frustrated when playing -- another positive aspect -- and parents can be happy their child's screen time is being spent on something that should offer more of an educational impact than a number of shooting, action, or other games.

App Details

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