Review: Pineapple Smash Crew

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Shooting has become one of the primary ways we interact with game worlds. If you don’t believe me, check the front page of Steam and count how many images have guns in them. Horrifying implications aside, shooting can be a cathartic, light-hearted experience depending on what and how you’re shooting. Pineapple Smash Crew falls into this category, I think, despite its roguelike airs and hordes of monsters. That’s because all the gunning you do in this one is simple, gratifying, and accompanied by all kinds of clever explosions. There’s not much to it besides that, but with this style of shooting, that’s pretty much all you need.

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I’m a little fuzzy on the plot details of this one, but you’re running some kind of salvage crew that goes out to derelict spacecraft to loot them of credits and take out specific targets. Your ultimate goal is a hidden mothership, whose coordinates you can only piece together with data from dozens of drifting hulks in the void. Fortunately your crew of four is a hardy bunch, able to take punishment from aliens and robots squatting on the ships and dish it out far better. Even the security drones that serve as the bosses of these wrecks can’t hold a candle to your crew, especially after you start leveling them up and get them some shiny new hats.

That’s pretty much the whole game right there, not just the plot. Pineapple Smash Crew is a top-down shooter where four shooty-types follow your orders around as a cluster and blast away at whatever you click on. The team shares an ammo bar that depletes rapidly when they fire, but regenerates just as fast when not. Their health is separate, though, and you’ll need to keep track of that to position your more injured troops conservatively. Each member can also hold a grenade, and there’s over a dozen flavors of these in the game. We’re talking conventional explosives, EMPs, unfolding turrets, gravity wells, and even healing. And yes, your crew levels up as you complete missions which gets them slightly better stats.

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The ships you plunder are randomly-generated grids of rooms, which themselves may also be randomly-generated. Depending on your goal, you may have to collect three doodads, blast away some toxic barrels, kill all the monsters, or other sundry tasks to succeed. Enemies tend to be creepy-crawlies or robots, most of which will want to melee you but a few shoot at you themselves or just explode. The real killer here is carelessness, as an exploding foe or exploding barrel can take big chunks out of your life bars that most enemies won’t. The movement is brisk and the shooting is a delightful little cacophony, but there’s not a terrible lot of variety to it. Monsters and rooms are never going to reach any kind of impressive setpiece scope, so you’ll have to content yourself with blazing away with your guns and chucking grenades forever.

Pineapple Smash Crew is definitely entertaining, but there’s no telling how long it can hold your attention. The quest for the mothership is a long one, taking probably 3 to 4 hours to hoover up all the data needed. You earn credits during missions but they’re mainly for buying silly, useless hats for your team. Terminals on some missions describe the deep lore behind the game, but that’s not the most compelling reason to stick with a game. What can stick you here is the chaos and fun of running your dudes around and blowing up everything with creative grenades. That seems like something everyone can enjoy, if only for an hour or two.

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