Smart Bomb PSP Review

Smart Bomb falls in line with those games that have a decent idea, variety, and a potentially great premise. Unfortunately, it doesn't use any of that effectively enough to call it a great game. It's actually a frustrating disaster that only makes you wish it had done things properly.

The game centers on some ridiculous bomb squad, of which you're part of as a rookie. You'll go through training, supposedly disarming a complicated new type of bomb through mini puzzles, until you get out onto the field. The plot here is just absurd, and there's little need for it. This is nothing more than a game of logic involving strict time limits and requiring, at times, a college degree just to progress.

If it weren't for the cheaply constructed cinematics, you would never even realize that you're dealing with explosives. The games vary, from rolling balls around to put them where they belong to moving a gear into position to start a fan. None of these manages to be original. It's simple enough, and if there were no time limit, there wouldn't be any problem. The developers had a different idea.

Instead of maybe just trying to compete for a few different awards, they've put in a ridiculously fast timer, and once you miss, you need to go through the loading times, which can be longer than the time allotted to complete the puzzle. There's no leeway here to work with. The puzzles start easy enough (without a decent tutorial present), and not long into the game, they require a ridiculous IQ.

At the very least, you can see what you need to do. While not spectacular, the graphics show what they need to cleanly. They intermix nicely with the soundtrack, especially as the seconds tick down to the finale. The screen shakes, the audio is kicked up a notch, and it becomes even more frustrating. That is of course the purpose, but this is not a game where you need anything else causing the player problems.

This is a title that suffers from countless tiny flaws that turn into a huge one: It's not fun. Video games should relieve stress. That's the opposite of what Smart Bomb does. There's nothing wrong with a collection of mini games. There IS something wrong with a collection of mini games that make you wish the PSP didn't cost $250 so you could toss it against a wall.

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