Smart Bomb Review

Smart Bomb has an interesting premise, but it absolutely fails to capitalize on that premise.

One of the better action movie clichés involves a pair of cops--usually Danny Glover and Mel Gibson--hunched over a time bomb with only a few seconds left while they bicker over which wire needs to be cut to disarm the bomb. So, you know, disarming bombs is already pretty cool. Smart Bomb is a puzzle game that tries to throw a bunch of different puzzles at you under the pretense that you're frantically trying to disarm a series of increasingly intelligent bombs. The visual performance is poor, the puzzles are drab, and the story mode is laughably lame.

Red wire! No, blue wire!
Red wire! No, blue wire!

Your bomb-busting antics are broken down into different modes, but the basic concept is always the same. You're trying to disarm a bomb that is made up of several different components, each of which must be disconnected before its timer expires. Each component is a different puzzle. Some have you sliding mirrors around to make a laser beam bounce from one side of the box to the other. Another has you rolling balls around to deactivate force fields and, eventually, disarm the component. Yet another has you flipping tiles around to connect like-colored terminals or move a train around to collect balls. The variety in Smart Bomb's puzzles could be its greatest strength, but none of them are strong enough individually to make the game very exciting.

Also, the game is supposedly trying to throw these different puzzles at you in a rapid-fire style, but the stuttery load times between events and the very, very unresponsive control really drag the pace of the game down. Don't expect to find fast-moving, WarioWare-style puzzle variety here. The only variety you'll find is in the modes themselves. Story mode lets you choose which component to tackle next as you move from bomb to bomb, and it's broken up by some terribly low-quality cutscenes. Arcade mode ditches that nonsense and just serves you up puzzle after puzzle in seemingly random order. Multiplayer lets up to four people work on the same bomb, claiming parts of it for themselves as they complete puzzles. But no matter how you slice it, this game isn't really worth your time.

Danny Glover is officially too old for this s***.
Danny Glover is officially too old for this s***.

Graphically, Smart Bomb performs like it was never actually optimized to run on the final PSP hardware. The frame rate for more movement-oriented puzzles is very low, and the game frequently spurts and stutters, especially when moving from one puzzle to the next. The objects in the puzzles aren't always clearly defined, which can make moving items around more difficult than it should be. The soundtrack is generic, and on top of that, it seems to randomly cut out in some puzzles. The sound effects aren't anything special, either.

Smart Bomb has an interesting premise, but it absolutely fails to capitalize on that premise. The presentation aspects of the game are broken, and the sluggish control and short timers simply don't mix. If this were a Lethal Weapon movie, it would be the one that you like the least.

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    The Good
    Might make you think of Lethal Weapon once or twice
    The Bad
    Poor graphical performance
    Terrible story mode cutscenes
    Weak puzzles
    About GameSpot's Reviews

    About the Author

    Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

    Smart Bomb More Info

  • First Released
    • PSP
    The World is under threat by a crazed bomber who has set up an intricate network of bombs across the globe. As part of a specialized Bomb Disposal Unit, you must diffuse the threat by solving more than 150 different types of puzzles.
    Average Rating191 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Core Design Ltd.
    Published by:
    Eidos Interactive
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+