On a scale of one to ten, how important is a game’s visual presentation to you? The reason I ask is because Omar Nadeem’s App Store debut, Slash & Smash (out now, free), isn’t exactly very pretty or aesthetically pleasing. Its crude design and murky graphics might be deal-breakers for some, but if you’re willing to look past how rough around the edges it is, you’ll be rewarded with some rather interesting and unique gameplay.

Slash & Smash is set in a village that has been the victim of an overnight raid by bandits. You play as a hero tasked with retrieving the villager’s food and valuables from this thieving band of bad guys. The game revolves around a series of fast paced, one-on-one battles with bandits, in which you frantically chip away at each others’ health bars by hurling projectiles. The controls are simple. To move your character and dodge enemy projectiles, you tap to highlight sections of a grid on the right side of the screen. And to take aim and return fire, you do the same thing on the left side.

The gameplay is fun, albeit repetitive, and the combat system works well. I also really like the boss encounters that cap off each block of ten levels. These face-offs against hulking gang leaders are less predictable and more challenging than regular battles, and it often takes a considerable amount of skill and strategy to win them.

As you progress through the game’s lengthy campaign, you earn ‘talent coins’ and gems. Coins are used to level up your hero’s abilities, while gems are used to either unlock new bobble-headed characters to play as, or to purchase additional weapons, shields and special items from the in-game shop. Gems can also be acquired in bulk via in-app purchase, but the game is mercifully laid back about trying to extract real-world cash from you in this way.

Overall, Slash & Smash is quite decent. I just wish the gameplay had a little more variety and that the art style and visuals weren’t so unpolished.

Verdict

If you can get past its distinctly amateurish look and feel, Slash & Smash is a pretty fun game with a cool concept, solid mechanics, and entertaining (albeit repetitive) gameplay. All in all, not a half bad effort from first-time indie developer Omar Nadeem. On the basis of this, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for whatever he releases next.

Positives
Interesting and original gameplay
Absolutely loads of levels
Well implemented free-to-play model
Negatives
Murky, unappealing visuals
Gets a bit repetitive after a while
Non-universal iPhone-only app
2.5
Okay
Download on the App Store