Bop-It! Smash Game Review

The Basics:

  • For ages 4 and up (manufacturer suggests 8+)
  • For 1 or more players
  • Variable game length

Geek Skills:

  • Emotional Coping Skills
  • Hand/Eye Coordination & Dexterity
  • Reflex & Speed

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

The days of the Old West where the quickest gun was the law of the land are long since over, but that doesn’t mean that speed and reflexes are no longer important. Unless you are a student of the martial arts being tested by catching a fly with chopsticks, your reflexes are most likely only being trained with video games playing, a growing number of board and card games, and avoiding bad drivers in traffic. This is truly sad. Being fast on your feet means your fast in your head. If you can think fast, you can be fast, and being the fastest…well, that’s just as good as being the only one left standing 15 seconds past High Noon.

Bop-It! Smash, from Hasbro, is the “little brother” version of Bop-It! XT, offering easier controls, simpler game play, and a new way to train your brain. While Bop-It! XT challenged a player to listen and react, Bop-It! Smash changes it up and challenges the player to observe and react. This makes the game a very different experience and can be played by a younger crowd as well as individuals who are hard of hearing or even deaf.

Bop It! Smash is a hand-held electronic game. It is complete “as is” except for the required 3 AAA batteries needed to play the game. The game device has two different action points on either side of it the player grips (one in each hand).  The player is required to “smash” (which really is just a simple crunching motion with both arms) which stops a moving light. The goal is to “smash” the controls just at the right moment to score points which are only awarded in the center of the device which the moving light passes through, going left to right and other random patterns.

Unlike Bop-It! XT, the controls for Bop-It! Smash are not terribly obtuse and do not require you to keep the instructions on-hand to navigate its controls. Never the less, the controls are still not completely intuitive, either.

Game Types

Bop-It! Smash comes with three different game types, but all start at the same level of difficulty and steadily get harder by increasing the speed of the flashing lights and changing the patterns in which the light is displayed. The goal of the game is also always same. The player attempts to “smash” the two side buttons to stop the moving light within the absolute center or slightly left or right of it. Doing so will award the player 5 points if stopped in the absolute center. To the immediate left and right of the center are two 1 point locations. Anytime the light is stopped outside of this center region, no points are earned and the player looses a “life”. Each player starts with 3 lives (i.e. attempts). Once they reach zero (miss scoring 3 times), their game is over. However, every time a player times their “smash” correctly and stops the light in the absolute center, a “life” is awarded to the maximum of 3 lives in total. This not only awards the player points but also keeps them in the game. An excellent touch.

The three different game types are as follows and are selectable using the thumb-operated game selection switch located on the game device.

Solo

This game type pits the player against themselves and challenges them to see how far they can go before they lose all 3 lives. High score is kept and announced each time the solo game is played. The high score is lost once the batteries are replaced, however. Players can earn “lives” by stopping the light in the absolute center.

Pass It

This game type, suitable for essentially unlimited number of players, is a “last man standing” type of game. The game device is passed around in a circle, giving each player 3 tries to stop the light in the middle section. If they do, the device is passed to the next player where they must attempt the same. Failure to successfully put the light in the middle after 3 tries kicks the player out of the circle. Note that there are no scores kept and no player order suggested. A player either does or does not advance in the rotation on their turn and keeping track of who plays next is the responsibility of the players.

Multiplayer

A subtle difference from the Pass It game type by providing 2 to 6 players (identified by player number), to go head-to-head. Like Pass It, the object is to outlast the rest and be the “last man standing”, with each player given 3 “lives”. A player is only attempting to get the light to stop in the center area, but is not awarded an extra “life” for stopping in the absolute center.

Note that the game will automatically count a player’s turn as a “miss” if the smash buttons are not used during a players turn after a certain amount of time. If the device is still not used after that, it will automatically turn itself off.

To learn more about Bop-It! Smash, see the game’s official web page.

Prediction

My little geeks already love their Bop-It! XT, so I have no doubt they’ll also enjoy the Bop-It! Smash, for two important reasons. First, the game is simpler in its execution and less demanding in regards to game play. The game only requires the player to react quickly to a visual indicator. My little geeks are already naturally quick, so this will be an easy reach for them. Second, the game is easier to handle. Depending on which little geek was holding the other Bop-It games, using the game device became clumsy. The Bop-It! Smash is smaller, lighter, and easier to hold, fitting naturally in their hands, regardless of size.

When I showed my little geeks the game, they became very excited. I demonstrated how the game was played and gave it to them, but not before I asked them their thoughts on it.

“Very cool! Reminds me of the Cylons on Battlestar Galactica!” ~ Liam (age 7)

“No it doesn’t. It looks more like the Knight Rider car!” ~ Nyhus (age 4)

OK, frist off, major geek points to both of my sons for knowing Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider. Let’s see how the game does after a few game plays.

Final Word

According to my watch, I didn’t see the game again for about 1/2 hour. Which is exactly how long it took my little geeks to play it and then get tired of it. But for that 1/2 hour, they were thoroughly enchanted. The game kept them interested and the reward of earning lives kept them in the game longer. Even my 4-year-old played the game and played it very well, giving his older brother a run for his money. My 2-year-old only looked on and clapped or danced a jig when his brothers did well. While not yet a “game player”, he is most certainly a “team player”.

For the Parent Geeks who tried the game, it was also enjoyed. In fact, much more so than Bop-It! XT. They commented that the game was simpler, to the point, and for that reason, also addictive. They game’s level of difficulty ramped up just enough to make the next round only slightly more difficulty, making the difficulty curve a smooth one. The multiplayer games were also  a great success and proved to be real nail-biters as very skilled Parent Geeks kept the game going and the crowd cheered them on.

For the Gamer Geeks, this game device held no interest. In fact, for the very reasons why the game was loved by the Child and Parent Geek groups, was why the Gamer Geeks did not care for it. Too simple and too repetitive for their taste. Do it once, and then again and then 100 times, and the game never changed. It only became more difficult. For Gamer Geeks, this proved to be its downfall.

My oldest goes another round while my 4-year-old whines, telling us to "hurry up and finish" so he can play the game!

Gamer Geeks, this is not going to be a game you will seek out, most likely, as it is just a very simple skill game that tests the player’s reflexes and hand/eye coordination. While that in itself might appeal to many of you, keep in mind it is the same challenge over and over again. The speed changes and the light fluctuation sequences shift, but the game is essentially the same from Level 1 to Level Infinity. For those of you who remember playing video games at pizza dives and at arcades, you’ll recognize the game difficulty ramping immediately and yearn fondly for the days of Led Zeppelin and arcade sounds mixing in the air above you. And on that note, this game might very well appeal to you, but from a Gamer Geek group perspective, it failed to score.

Parent Geeks, this is a fun and addictive game that will challenge you to be faster than the rest and to keep your cool. The game is perfect for spontaneous party or family activities and fits an unlimited number of people. Try it out at your next get-together and just see if friends and family don’t start cheering and cursing. The game plays fast and keeps you on your toes from start to the inevitable finish. Even non-gamers enjoyed this and were ready for their next turn as soon as theirs was over.

Child Geeks, this is an easy to learn and an easy to play game that will get more difficult the longer you play it. This is actually a very good thing as the more you play it, the better you will get. Play the solo game when you have a couple of minutes to beat your high score and to increase your skill. Then, when you have friends who want to play, sit down in a circle and see who can last the longest!

Now here is a game I didn’t think I would enjoy. Somewhat mindless and repetitive by design, I found myself really enjoying it and loosing track of time. Playing it with my little geeks has been a blast and outlasting my wife has felt like winning a gold medal. I doubt the joy of victory will last long, however, as she is creepy good at games and will soon surpass me (which is one of the many reasons I fell in love with her). I also enjoyed this game much more than Bop-It! XT, but was sad to see it was not accepted with the same level of enthusiasm as myself from the Gamer Geek groups. Simply not a gamer’s game, but that hardly made it less fun for me. Do try this game out when you get a chance and don’t be surprised if you find time slipping by without notice when doing so.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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