While reviewing Crashbots I went through a plethora of emotions. I went from happiness to frustration, from frustration back to happiness and in the end, I did not really know what to feel about it. It’s quite a strange game that at times I enjoyed but it’s not really something I could really appreciate to it’s fullest. It certainly feels more suited to the mobile phone or tablet market. It reminded me of those free games you get and then the developer tries to sell you more energy to continue. It’s not one of those games but it does feel like one, minus the microtransactions.
Crashbots has no story to speak of really, your task is to get to the end of each stage in one piece collecting as many stars and completing as many challenges as possible. Straight away the 3 stars available on each stage screams mobile title but that’s OK as long as the gameplay is engaging enough. Each new world is gated by collecting a certain amount of stars and each new stage is unlocked upon completing the last. There are various challenges and missions to do while your whizzing through each level and they do add some replayability to the game.
These challenges are your normal type of missions, complete the level without taking damage, collect all the coins, destroy all the boxes, all that type of stuff. All these little goals give you extra cash to spend on upgrading your robot. You can also find new robots to use throughout the levels, they are split into parts though for you to find. The replayability comes from completing stages multiple times, working out the best route and trying to get all 3 stars and hopefully, completing the 3 challenges on the level. You always have one mission active too, they are passive and follow you from stage to stage. These also reward you with cash to fill your virtual pockets with.
My main gripe with this game is the energy system, you have an energy bar that starts full and when it is depleted your robot blows up. Moving drains your energy and using your other actions and abilities drains it more so. I don’t really have a problem with this system, it’s just when I got stuck in damage loops that bothered me. When you hit an obstacle you take energy damage, but when you hit an object sometimes it’s impossible to navigate around it. It’s really irksome to get all the way through a level, hit a log at the end and keep hitting it because you are too close and it’s impossible to rectify your course. You just have to start the level again. Over the course of this quite short game, this bothered me more and more and unfortunately, made me not really enjoy the game for what it is.
When you race through these stages you jump, slide and blast your way through the many obstacles and hazards. Your job is to keep your energy topped up by collecting collectables that restore your energy. These collectables could be in crates, over streams or just out in the open. The premise of the game is fine, it’s the aforementioned damage loops that grated on me. When I did not get stuck in these infuriating loops, the gameplay itself was quite fun. Finding a way through the levels, finding all 3 stars and completing challenges, upgrading your robot and progressing was quite entertaining. It’s just a shame about the damage loops I found so harsh.
Graphically Crashbots is quite pleasing on the eye. It’s all sharp and clean to look at. The colours are bright and everything looks detailed enough. My issue here is the variation, most of the levels within each world look very similar and over time, especially with repeated attempts started to get repetitive. The design of the robots are pleasant and the varying landscapes between worlds are attractive. On the whole, the graphical art style, while not being very unique is charming and suits the game style well. The soundtrack present in this game is adequate, I would have liked a bit more variety because when you are repeating levels and failing the soundtrack can get slightly monotonous.
Performance wise, Crashbots performed admirably. I had zero crashes, hitches or bugs whatsoever. I just wish there was a way to stop the damage loops I got stuck in. They drained any enjoyment I had out of the game and if the developer could alleviate this issue, it would improve it greatly. Apart from that, I had no issues with the performance of this game, it was smooth, stable and very playable.
The overall gameplay of Crashbots is fun enough, collect your stars, make some cash and upgrade your robot. It’s a shame I found myself dying from no fault of my own too often. It took a lot of the shine off the game and made me get quite frustrated with it. Its graphics are clean and crisp, it’s soundtrack is adequate if not forgettable. It may feel like a mobile game when you are playing it but it does have a bit of depth and replay value. If you’re up for quick blasts of action, as long as your not easily frustrated then this game could be for you. I just think there are a lot of other titles more worthy of your hard earned coin.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*