Product Type: Hasbro toys
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Hasbro Bop It Smash
Member Name: jo1976
Hasbro Bop It Smash
Date: 25/03/13, updated on 24/10/13 (75 review reads)
Advantages: Challenging and addictive
Disadvantages: My husband is much better at it than me!
'Bop It Extreme 2' was a surprise hit in our household during Christmas 2011, so it seemed a pretty safe choice to purchase the latest version this 'Bop It Smash' last Christmas as a gift for my oldest son. Bop It Smash is widely available from toy stockists and has an RRP of £19.99. I purchased mine from Amazon shortly after the game was first launched and snapped it up for £12.76. It is currently available for £15.41 and I would recommend buying it at that price as it has been selling for much closer to its full RRP for the past few months.
For anybody unfamiliar with the previous formats of Bop It, the premise is that of a hand held electronic device that gives a series of commands. This new version fits into the Bop It family extremely well but it is different to previous versions as there is really only one action to perform but it is no less challenging. This new game also looks considerably different to its predecessors as the previous models resembled deformed steering wheels, whereas Smash is a slimmer and simpler design. The shape is quite difficult to describe. (I'm staring at it now, trying to find the best description!) It is a kind of large plastic dog bone shaped contraption with a series of lights across the length and two rounded ends which need to be bashed by the player at the relevant moment. All of the controls are very cleverly disguised within the game, with the volume being adjusted using a sliding switch which also selects the mode of play.
Playing the game is very simple but exceedingly difficult, both at the same time! The principle of the game couldn't be simpler - there are a series of lights which follow a fixed pattern and the player needs to bash the ends at the moment that the light reaches the central blue light. Fortunately, there is a little bit of leeway and it is possible to get through the round by pressing the ends when the light has reached the green light either side of the larger central light. The difference is that a central blue light scores five points whereas a green light only scores a single point but does preserve those all-important lives.
Where this game differs from previous versions, and is a great improvement, is by the inclusion of three lives. This gives me a fighting chance of succeeding with this game, especially as my co-ordination and reflexes aren't particularly strong. It is also better for younger players as a single life can mean a game is over within seconds. What is even better is that it is possible to 'earn' lives that have been lost by achieving a blue light. In effect, the player's lives are pretty limitless, so long as they are able to get a blue light before all three lives are lost. This is the saving grace for me, as I would doubtless lose patience with the game if I got booted off as soon as I kept missing lights. There are certain rounds that I really struggle with and it takes me at least two attempts to get a blue (or even green) light so I really do need those lives and the opportunity to earn back those lost lives is really appreciated.
The various rounds do get increasingly challenging as the game progresses, with some rounds even featuring two lights coming in from opposite ends which I really struggle with! The speed and pattern of lights varies between each round and it is possible to watch the pattern a few times each round to judge the appropriate point at which to press but, be warned, there is a time limit on each round and it is soul destroying to lose a life simply by hesitating a little too long!
In terms of age recommendation, this really is a family game that appeals to children and adults alike. This was actually purchased for my ten year old son, who was the household champion on the previous Bop It Extreme. Much as he loves this game, his efforts here have been far eclipsed by his father who has developed something of an addiction for Bop It Smash and my oldest son has been lucky to get a look in! During and long after the Christmas period, I found the kids getting neglected and the house falling into general disarray only for my other half to proudly announce that he has yet again beaten his own high score! Thus far, my husband has managed to achieve a high score of 393 although he has yet to beat the challenge of level nine and always gets stuck at the same point in each game. (He is now desperate to exceed the 400 point mark as well as to get past level nine.) To put his score into perspective, I had a quick go myself prior to writing this review and achieved a pretty embarrassing 61 points, with no children or any other distractions to blame. Second try and I've managed to achieve 68 points so no prospect of me beating my husband's high score any time soon!
I have asked my other half for some tips on how to improve my score. Apparently, the secret lies in the bonus round which are crucial to achieving the highest score possible. I generally score a maximum of 15 points on the bonus rounds, whereas my husband can earn up to 45 points on each bonus round. The trick here is to press in very quick succession at the correct point as it is possible to get the blue light more than once at the same time, so long as you press quickly enough.
At the lower age range, I do think the recommended age of eight years upwards is fairly accurate. Whilst younger children can grasp the concept and have a go, it is a little too challenging to be particularly enjoyable. My five year old has had a few half-hearted attempts but soon loses interest (as well as all of his lives) as he just doesn't have the speed of reaction and judgement needed to catch the light in the right position. Even my two year old has had a go and, amusingly, managed to better the score of my mother in law who really struggled with the game much to her disgruntlement - I think I can see where my husband gets his competitive streak from! My ten year old does enjoy this game although his interest waned after owning this for a few weeks and he admits that he personally prefers the 'Bop It Extreme' version although his Dad shows no sign of losing interest in this.
This really is a game that can unite -and divide- families though. I must admit that even though the game offers the versatility of multi-player and pass it modes, these settings are largely ignored in our household as we all prefer to focus on individual scores. The other settings don't really allow the player to focus on the game to the same extent and the other frustration is that there is no way of saving a particularly high score on the multi-player scores. We also find it tricky remembering to pass it at the relevant points, as we all get pretty focused on playing the game!
There are really no drawbacks to this game, beyond my own inability to score particularly highly. The design of the gadget itself is wonderfully simple and even the American accent of the 'voiceover' and the repetition of the little jibes and comments offered whenever you lose a life fail to be as annoying as they probably ought to be. Parents be warned that whilst you can lower the volume there is no way of turning the sound off altogether and the game does play music as well as announce the score at the end of each round. There is also no way of actually turning the game off manually and it can be accidentally set off, simply by knocking the end panels. Fortunately, the game will inform you 'I'm going to sleep' after a couple of attempts to engage the player, thus preserving battery life. This game has seen considerable action since Christmas but has yet to require replacement of the three AAA batteries supplied.
It is difficult to explain in words just how addictive, simple to play and yet infuriatingly challenging this game is. You really need to play it or at the very least to watch somebody else play it. Better still, buy it -for a child, a friend or yourself. At anywhere around the £15-£20 mark, this is great value for money and offers hours of entertainment, frustration and potential achievement. Whether you've tried any of the other Bop It games or not, this is a game that deserves a purchase in its own right. It is fun, inexpensive and an ideal 'filler' gift for young and old alike.
Summary: A really addictive and entertaining family game
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