Smashtastic Cricket review | Android and iPhone

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  • Pro: Quick and intuitive
  • Pro: Career mode offers longer lifespan
  • Pro: Textbook videogame player names
  • Con: Insufficient character limit for puerile player names
  • Con: Four-season span of free version

When we asked about lockdown cricket entertainment the other day, AP Webster mentioned Smashtastic Cricket. We didn’t know Smashtastic Cricket, so we downloaded it and played it a bit and this is what we think of it.

How it works

After loading the game, you name your batsman (all you do is bat in Smashtastic Cricket), pick your nationality and allocate a few points to skills that you don’t yet fully understand.

Then coach Boff welcomes you to whatever team you selected.

It doesn’t matter what team you pick, Boff is your coach. He’s coach of all the major nations too.

Technically, the domestic teams are all Australian “Big Smash” teams but you can easily overlook that because they only really use the nicknames.

We pretty much always played for the Miners because our home town was originally a mining town. (For a long time after that, it was a chemical works town. Now it is really just a load of people in suburban housing driving along A-roads to work in PPI call centres.)

Now you can play a game.

You start off batting at six, so the match is to a great deal out of your control. We rather like this. You influence results without deciding them – and this cuts both ways.

You’ll tend to come in for the last few overs. You might need just a handful of runs to win or the game might be all but lost already.

Or you might bat first and have no jeffing clue what a good score will be.

If the top order does the job, you may even not bat at all. Except insofar as you’ll miss out on bonuses, not batting doesn’t really matter – you just move onto the next game.

Batting is straightforward. A short swipe and you’ll try and play the ball along the ground in the direction of the swipe. A big swipe and you’ll try and leather it. A tap and you’ll block it.

Timing matters, but the game’s not brutally unfair about it. It’s not just six or out. There’s a decently-sized grey area too.

You can see the field setting and it tells you what type of bowling you’re facing. As well as timing, the factors affecting how well you hit the ball are your character’s skills, the shot you choose (e.g. don’t try and square cut a leg-side wide) and your level of fatigue.

Hitting the ball tires you out a bit and trying to leather it tires you out more. We think running has an effect too. Conversely, if you block it, you recover energy. You recover when you’re stood at the other end too.

Eventually you’ll pop one straight to a fielder and then it quickly simulates the rest of the game.

You’ll notice that the players have textbook not-quite-right videogame player names. We heartily endorse this element. Particularly Adam Vogue.

However, entirely negating this, you can’t give your guy a proper name because you’re only allowed to use a very limited number of characters.

Our default player-naming system is Military Rank + The First Puerile Word That Comes Into Our Head. We were most disheartened to discover we couldn’t have Lieutenant Nutsack, Fieldmarshal Plop or Admiral Bumhead.

After the game, you get points based on your performance. You mainly get points for runs, boundaries and for winning games or tournaments. (You can actually get more points for winning a game despite not batting than for scoring a few in defeat.)

Boff gives you a grade too.

If you level up, you get a skill point.

Spirit is the one that you’ll keep intending to improve, but will never actually assign skill points to.

All the others to some degree govern how cleanly and how hard you’ll hit the ball.

As results stack up, you’ll maybe qualify for the semi-finals and final where even bigger personal improvement points are up for grabs.

You might also get to move up the order a spot. The highest we got was number three because in the standard free version (which features in-game ads) you only get to play four seasons. If you splash out £2.79 on ‘Beast Mode’ you can play on for 20 seasons.

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are other competitions to play in too. The more curmudgeonly among you can make your own jokes about the World Series being baseball and T20 being like baseball.

No, you don’t get to play Test cricket.

Verdict

Smashtastic Cricket is a fun distraction. The matches themselves work well. You encounter different situations and different fields, so every match is a slightly different challenge, but the actual mechanics of batting are a piece of piss to pick up.

It’s then got a bit of longevity because the matches have context and Colonel Pubes is getting better and better with every passing game.

It’s not crazy in-depth, so eventually you reach a point where you’re not really getting anything new out of playing it. We’ve no real burning desire to sink that £2.79 into getting Beast Mode, but we can imagine returning to the free version for five or ten minutes every now and again.

Smashtastic Cricket is available on Android and iPhone.

22 comments

  1. There is also a very old version online at miniboss.com, which lets you play in the 2011 World Cup, and subsequent World Cups in career mode. That’s the version I used to play many years ago, I never managed to win the World Cup with Canada, but I did eventually with more or less everyone else.

    I played it again recently on my laptop, and it seemed pretty easy, which might be to do with playing on a laptop (and hence having keyboard controls) rather than a phone.

    If I wasn’t still working full time I could see myself getting back into one or other of Smashtastic and Stick Cricket once I ran out of Netflix fodder.

    1. I remember a book on the end of a shelf in W H Smith, I think it must have been after the 1992/3 series, called Spin Washed and Kumble Dried.

      Not really sure why I just thought of that.

  2. I know you don’t do requests, KC, but I would simply love to read a match report written by Colonel Pubes describing one of his performances.

    It would make my lockdown, it would.

    1. This is a great idea, and yes, you’re right, we almost certainly will not do this.

    2. The thing is, you see, Colonel Pubes had a difficult upbringing and his literacy is not great, so he can’t really express himself in writing.

      He grew up in a rough neighborhood and worked a corner as a lookout. He missed a lot of school and was picked up by the filth on a number of occasions.

      He was in and out of correctional facilities but he’d always go back to the corner. Eventually he graduated to being ‘muscle’ when he was about 15. It wasn’t long before a run-in with a rival gang saw him hospitalised with gunshot wounds.

      And that was where his life changed. He was in for over a week and each night an elderly hospital orderly would come in and talk to him to distract him from his pain.

      He never really understood why this man took to him so. But he did. They had nothing really in common, so the man would just talk. Long monologues about his first love: cricket.

      When he eventually left the hospital, the boy was determined to go straight. He found a local cricket club – just a motley bunch who played against whoever they could on a torn up pitch in a local park.

      It wasn’t cricket as we know it. No one respected them. Most people didn’t even realise what they were doing. Every week or so a bunch of lads would deliberately stroll through the middle of a match to disrupt it.

      For weeks our boy just sat there and watched. Then, eventually, he started doing a few little things to help out. He’d fetch the ball or he’d clear dog shit off the grass before the game.

      Over time, he became a fixture. The team warmed to him. One day they asked him if he’d like to try and bat.

      He said yes.

      He’d seen so much and absorbed it all. He’d shadow batted in his squalid home where no-one could see. Perhaps this was why he progressed so quickly.

      Oh sure, he was ragged at first. They laughed. But he didn’t. He knew he had to succeed.

      And very quickly he did. Each time he batted, he was better. He just never seemed to suffer the off days that others did. As soon as he tried a new skill, it was mastered. He never made a mistake twice.

      Pretty soon no one was laughing.

      He got so good he became impossible to ignore. He left the park team behind. He moved up a level. And another. And another.

      He just kept on improving, relentlessly, until he reached a level most of us would be uncomfortable to even dream about.

      And he never forgot that man. He never forgot that hospital orderly. He didn’t care about fifties or hundreds, but whenever he made a match-winning contribution, he said: “This is for you, my friend. This is for you. I owe it all to you Lieutenant General Hairy Swingers” – because that was the guy’s name, we forgot to mention that. The name thing was why they bonded.

      1. Neighborhood? NEIGHBORHOOD?

        Presumably the hospital orderly, or porter as they are known IN THIS COUNTRY, was called Lootenant General Hairy Swingers.

      2. wait, what’s up with hopitalised? As an Englishman who’s done his time living on the left side of the Atlantic and working in a sector where -is/zed are written down alot, thought those lot used the Z (zee) not S.

      3. It’s a shame you refused to engage with my idea, KC. I’m sure you could have written a fine piece about Colonel Pubes had you put your mind to it.

        So I see absolutely no point in me even hinting that you might write a good prequel story, explaining how the cricket-loving Lieutenant General Hairy Swingers ended up working as an orderly in a hospital.

      4. Lieutenant General Hairy Swingers was from a wealthy family…

        Yadda, yadda, yadda…

        … but he never forgot that fleeting conversation with Field Marshal Bumhole.

      5. If I’m not mistaken, my godson went to prep school with Hirsute Hairy Swingers. The family married into the Bald Sacks, but on the distaff line.

      6. And, as I’m sure you’re aware, KC, the Bumhole family pronounce their name ‘Bowl.’

      7. Just in case people aren’t finding these names and legends amusing enough…

        …I really did laugh out loud at the aptronymically superb doctor in this (presumably genuine) news item about STIs on the BBC website today:

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-52488892

        Doctor John McSorely, take a bow…if it isn’t too painful for you to do so.

      8. “-ise is American. The British version is -ize.”

        Really? I’m sure you’re right, and I don’t want to look it up.

  3. Gah, I love a video game as much as the next saddo, but games on mobile phones really do nothing for me. However, I have to agree with Ged, a lock-down special with Ian Ward, Nasser, RK and Colonel Pubes would be fantastic.

  4. Tried it. Very frustrating game. You think you’re going well and then you spaff one in the air to silly mid-off for no reason.

    Just like real cricket.

  5. You cannot draw a yellow midget and advertise for “beast mode” play on the same screen.

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