United Front’s Smash+Grab definitely takes its name literally. The soon to be released game on Steam’s Early Access is all about, you probably guessed it, smashing and grabbing. The three on three, third person brawler definitely draws you in with its fast paced combat, but the deeper mechanics that make this competitive game interesting may do enough to keep you around.
Smash+Grab allows players to select a myriad of what can only be described as, well, gang leaders. Players choose the leader, their lieutenant and the posse that will accompany them while they smash and grab their way to more loot, weapons and infamy.
We played a game mode called “Takeback” which is essentially a Capture the Flag style of scenario. The two teams fought over a box of loot, which they had to race back to their base. You can choose from a rather large swathe of characters, each with distinct abilities and personality. Some are light characters, such as Nils, the light melee character I played, while others are much heavier and absorb more damage.
The goal of Smash+Grab is simple enough - gather $50K before the other team, either by capturing the box of loot, looting stores or killing other players. Being defeated allows the other team to loot directly from your team’s stash, so it’s incredibly important not to feed your opponents. Nils is weird in that he does damage to himself with his flare, but in doing so can deny the other team the reward from his death. However, he did prove to be a bit easy to kill.
The map is laid out rather well and there are plenty of places to loot and weapons to upgrade. Combat is simple and follows a “Rock-Paper-Scissors” vibe. Strikes beat Grab, Grab beats Defense and Defense beats Strikes. Simple enough, in practice. I wasn’t able to figure out how to lock onto a certain enemy, so it did make fighting a smidge confusing at times, but your weapon, coupled with your character skills, makes for an interesting way to defeat your enemies. Additionally, team work is essentially to be sure you’re not being ganked by your opponents. Coordination could very well be the difference between $50K or nothing.
While the map is laid out well, and the HUD isn’t confusing, the controls did feel a little wonky at times. So many games have you use your “Right-click” on the mouse to defend, while Smash+Grab has it mapped to the “spacebar” by default. That took some getting used to. Controllers are supported already, though, so players who don’t want to deal with a mouse and keyboard can just plug and play.
Smash+Grab won’t follow the trend of a lot of Early Access games on Steam, and will be a Buy-to-Play title. No price is listed as of yet, but United Front is teasing a beta happening this weekend, starting on September 9. It would definitely be a great way to decide if the underground brawler is right for you.