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Review: Squash the $treet

Squash the $treet—$0.99 Squash the $treet
Released: April 17, 2009
Developer/Distributer: Last Legion Games, LLC
Genre: Game—Rated 12+
Version 1.0 tested on a 16GB iPhone 3GS

Squash the $treet is a violently bloody little $0.99 game for the iPhone or iPod touch from Last Legion Games, where your finger has the angry-god power to splatter Wall Street “scoundrels” into cartoonish bloody tomato-like stains on the street. There are four different primary types of scoundrels, Fraudsters (worth $100), Associates (worth $20), CEOs (worth $30), and Interns (worth $10). Some of them drop suitcases worth extra money when you squash them and you can also pick up a Freeze bonus that looks like a snowflake. When used, the Freeze option freezes everyone on the street, so that you can squash them quickly.

Last Legion Games was kind enough to send me a copy to review along with the following bit of description of the game:

Nothing like a good old recession to get the public’s blood boiling over busted investments, foreclosures, ponzi schemers and just about any other gift-wrapped corruption the financial industry has blessed us with over the last year. While there isn’t a sure fire cure for your economic blues, iPhone/iPod Touch owners can now purchase the Squash the $treet app for $0.99 and exact some digital revenge on Wall Street right in the palm of their hands.

The game was also mentioned on BoingBoing the other day and has started a bit of a discussion in the comments about such games being allowed on the App Store when other more “serious” titles aren’t, and because it depicts killing humans, albeit in cartoon form complete with splat noises.

My answer to any such complaints or criticisms: it’s just a game. I’m already on record saying that I don’t think Apple should have to be the moral arbiters of all the Apps in the App Store.

So how is Squash the Street as a game? At it’s core, it’s very similar to other games for the iPhone and iPod touch, like PocketGod (iTunes link) and StickWars (iTunes link), where you have the ability to play the part of a vengeful god. The default level mode gives you the opportunity to squash people from such wittily-named financial institutions as Shadygroup, Leave’Em Bros, Guilded Hacks, and Ferral Wench. The point is to keep the country in the green by killing off the bankers. Every banker that escapes decreases the nation’s money and sends the nation closer to the red. Each level speeds up with more and more bankers to squish emerging from the buildings at a quicker pace. There’s a little newspaper update at the end of each board that tells you how you did, either announcing gleefully that the national debt has subsided or that the country has gone bust (at which point you lose and the game is over).

The game play is solid and the audio, including the typical sayings of the banker-types as they run for their jets and their screams as you squash them, is well done. There are also four mini-games included in Squash The Street. In Tapper, you simply try to tap the screen as fast as you can in the time allotted. In Target Tapper, a red target appears that you must quickly tap and you try to hit the target as many times as possible in the time allotted. In Clean Sweep, you come across a blood-covered massacre version of the street and must wipe the blood away with swipes of your finger before time runs out. In Bull Run, all the bankers simply run in a single mass from the right-side of the screen to the left and you squash as many as you can before time runs out.

All in all, Squash the Street is a typical cellphone game that could operate on any touchscreen device. There’s nothing about it that makes it particularly unique to the iPhone / iPod touch platform, it doesn’t do anything innovative in terms of gameplay, and it’s not overly complex. If you like the idea of squashing bankers, you’ll probably like the game and enjoy gleefully doing so while sitting in an airport waiting to board your plane. If you’re a hardcore gamer, this isn’t the intense level-based type of gameplay you’d normally be looking for. If you abhor the thought of violence, even in extremely cartoonish form, you will hate this game. If, however, you have a buck to spare and something evil in you wants to squash bankers in cartoonish bloody splats on the street, you’ll probably enjoy the game and try to continually improve on your best score.

Review rating: Meh*.

*I’ve decided to implement a YAY!, Meh., and BOO! rating system for my iPhone app reviews.

Here’s a slideshow of the Flickr set of screenshots from the game:

Note: If you are an iPhone application developer and would like me to review your app, please see this post.