Pineapple Smash Crew

By: Derek Yu

On: February 6th, 2012

Pineapple Smash Crew, by Rich Make Game!

Playing through Pineapple Smash Crew a second time, I’m convinced the game needs some kind of time pressure. Running through missions at top speed is exciting and works well with the best idea in the game – the grenade system – as well as the randomized level generation. Not only does navigating the map involve more planning, but you’re forced to put yourself into the middle of the fray and constantly swap grenades, something which PSC obviously wants you to do but doesn’t provide enough incentive for.

Without the speed, the game can drag. The missions rarely pose a challenge, for one thing – it’s easy to clear out rooms without taking too much damage if you’re careful about engaging enemies in small groups. It’s also quite natural to hoard grenades (especially health grenades) until you really need them and max out your squad strength by collecting every chit in every crate in every mission. At that pace you begin to notice the same-iness of the levels, which have little to distinguish one room from the other aside from the bosses. In short, it feels a little like a grindy dungeon crawl when it should feel like a frantic action shooter.

The grenade system really is cool – each member of your squad can hold one, and the effects range from explosives to area-of-effect weapons to turrets to zanier stuff, like vortexes, teleporters, and decoys. They’re powerful and dangerous, and when you’re forced to constantly pick up and use them in the heat of battle, they are a lot of fun. It’s a shame, then, that the game suggests a slower and more careful pace of play.

TIGdb: Entry for Pineapple Smash Crew

  • http://www.indiepunch.com/ Andy Kix

    I haven’t gotten the chance to try out Pineapple Smash Crew yet but I might just try it out now. It seems like a pretty fun game to boot up whenever I get the urge to go on a little virtual shooting spree. The time management issue makes sense, but sometimes I hate artificial restraints like time limits, when there’s more strategy and enjoyment from going slow.

    To each his own!

    Andy (www.indiepunch.com)

  • Johny_psolaras_Rouk

    if you like this, you should also try CYBERDOGS, a really brillinat dos (you’ll need dosbox to run this one and it’s freeware nowadays). i didnt try out pineapple smash crew (yet), but i think we are talking about the same thing here

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  • Rich Edwards

    Thanks for the writeup! I’m planning at least one content update (working on an initial bugfix/usability update first) so I’ll see what I can do- maybe a particular mission type which encourages speed, so the overall game pace varies a bit more and you’re still free to take your time in other missions.
    cheers!
    -Rich

  • http://www.gnomeslair.com/ Gnome

    A novel idea. Apparently most action games work better with some sort of time-constraint…

  • Johny_psolaras_Rouk

    seriusly… this is good piece!!!!

  • http://www.derekyu.com Derek Yu

    Sounds good! But, to be blunt, what’s the point in letting anyone play the game leisurely? It makes the game too easy and it makes exploring the non-critical rooms feel like a chore rather than a decision. I’ll just refresh the mission list until I find the speedy ones.

    I think a better update would be to add a timer to the main game and give casual players an option to turn off the timer at the expense of XP (as it is, collecting every chit in every room maxes out your squad too fast for the game to be a challenge).

  • http://www.derekyu.com Derek Yu

    You should try it! But as the game is, there’s only one optimal strategy – clearing out each room one at a time. And if you play that way, you’ll probably beat it quite easily without dying even once.

    I should add that a time limit isn’t any more artificial than any rule that’s already in PSC… and imo it’d make the game much more interesting.

  • Rich Edwards

    I think it’s a slight clash between my own play style and what others want to see from the game, and I certainly want to give people what they want. I think a good way to address it might be difficulty settings. Easy=original, low-pressure mode. Normal= limited merc recruits, 4 deaths=mission fail, some time constraint. And hard= no recruits, unforgiving permadeath mode..

  • http://www.indiepunch.com/ Andy Kix

    That’s true. I guess I should play it first before making any assumptions…Off to their website, then!

  • http://twitter.com/samuraidan Dan MacDonald

    Someday I wanna do a CDogs remake, loved that game :)

  • beefok

    ¬† I actually prefer CYBERDOGS to CDOGS! CYBERDOGS had a need campaign system where you had to buy weapons/armor/health. It was really challenging that way. Did CDOGS ever have that? I can’t remember if it was ever added

  • t1gerdog

    ¬†This is my favorite game right now, I’ve been playing it non-stop since I bought it. Rich, you gotta add some more stuff please! :D Make a sequel too. Make the character experience matter more, like increasing bullet damage….etc stuff like that. Maybe some interesting objects to find to make exploration more worthwhile.

  • offal

    this covers my feelings basically. the game’s a blast moment-to-moment, but there’s not a lot of structured challenge. it feels like the core of a really good arcade-y action game that’s missing the necessary escalation of risk & reward to stay fun.

    ‘no recruits, unforgiving permadeath mode’ is exactly what i want! that would be cool to see.

  • Anonymous

    This game rules, it’s great fun and was well worth my ten bux or whatever it was I paid for it. The art, music, and fun are all top-notch!

    I don’t think the game would benefit greatly from a constant overall level timer like Derek’s suggested; things like that often feel artificially forced, and discourages players from taking a slower and often-fun strategic approach to clearing rooms.

    Additional pressure would certainly not go astray, however – perhaps extra missions with goals like “you found an item in Room A – now get it to Room B within two minutes”, or giving normal missions time limits later in the game, would add to the flavour and pressure without forcing a personally-I-think-it’d-be frustrating full-level timer onto every mission.

    I also think that some secret permanent or semi-permanent upgrades hidden in the far-off rooms wouldn’t go astray either; as it is, there’s not really any reason to go exploring the rooms off the beaten path, but the prospect of knowing you could find a satisfying upgrade – or a piece of one – would change that.

    Anyways, enough design critique, because Pinapple Smash Crew is rockin’ fun anyway!!