Every year, Titmouse Animation (Venture Bros., Metalocalypse, Son of Zorn) throws a bacchanal in Hollywood called the Smash Party, where they invite family and friends to drink, be merry, and smash obsolete appliances with sledgehammers. Television sets, microwaves, potted plants, computers, and anything else that will explode with a satisfying bang when hit with a heavy, blunt object are brought into a batting cage, and revelers take turns letting out any pent up aggressions.
This year marked the tenth anniversary of the event. I was able to attend for the first time, though, because in order to help mark the celebration, Titmouse announced a partnership with Viacom NEXT to bring the idea of the Smash Party to virtual reality.
Smash Party is an HTC Vive free exclusive launching by the end of the year, and just like the real-world festivities, you step into a cage surrounded by pottery and appliances ready to succumb to your barbed-wire baseball bat like Glenn did to Negan (too soon?).
Using one of the Vive’s controllers, you swing at breakable objects, needing to completely decimate everything in the cage in order to advance to the next stage. The game utilizes the bright, beautiful animation style that Titmouse is known for—anyone who is familiar with the shows they’ve brought to Adult Swim will recognize the style immediately—and it gives everything a fitting, surreal feel. With multiplyers and a timer constantly working against you, after playing Smash Party myself I can attest that the game has a satisfying arcade feel. There are even bonus rounds where an enraged squid will break down a wall of the cage and start soft tossing items at you like in an actual batting cage—but instead of balls it’s usually pieces of a tea set—again adding to the insanity of it all. Each experience is also short enough that it could be a fun party game as you pass the headset and controller around, everyone trying to reach that new high score.
While it’s not something that would make me want to run out and buy an HTC Vive, my short time with Smash Party has me feeling it would be another enjoyable group experience that the headset is becoming known for. We’ll have to wait for a release to see what kind of legs the game actually has, but as a free download to let off some steam, Smash Party is shaping up to be my kind of distraction. And I can’t wait to see what Titmouse rolls out for next year’s actual party now.