More Wumpa Needed
HIGH Easy to learn. Quick matches for a MOBA.
LOW The novelty wears off pretty quickly.
WTF How is a vacuum more powerful than a gun?
Hi everyone. Eugene Sax here with another review from GameCritics.com.
Crash Bandicoot has been all around the gaming landscape, in many different platforms and many different genres. I’ve grown up with Crash and it’s always been always been part of my gaming library in one form or another. However, when they announced Crash Team Rumble, I was skeptical — despite the marsupial’s diverse repertoire, his latest is about as far from his roots as he’s ever been.
Crash Team Rumble is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game where teams of four fight to gather wumpa fruit faster than the other team. Players will be able to attack each other to steal fruit, gather relics to unlock special stage-based abilities and bonuses, and capture crystals for bonus scoring. The first team to bank 2000 wumpa wins.
Characters are split into three styles. Scorer characters gets bonuses if they are the ones banking wumpa. Blockers are built to attack enemies and stop them from scoring, and Boosters thrive on capturing gems and relic stations. During play, each character increases a special gauge that will give a bonus ability — things like a heal for teammates, or a power drain that robs special gauge energy from enemies.
As in other MOBA titles, each character’s move set feels unique, even between characters with similar roles. Crash is a scorer, and plays like he would in any of his platform iterations, and it feels spot-on. Tawna, another scorer, has slower move speed but has a grapple hook that allows her to move around with more precision. Catbat, yet another scorer, has vertical movement thanks to her wings. This slight tweaking to each character makes them all feel good to move around and play with, and no two feel too alike. Having said that, this diversity in play only goes so far — balance is also a consideration.
Playing through all of the currently-released characters, it feels like some characters are just better than others. Taking my example from above, Crash feels decent all around, but doesn’t excel at anything. Catbat is worse, with less health and poor offense. Tawna has more health than Catbat and moves faster than Crash with her grapple hook, so she seems the only sensible choice.
Apart from character balance issues, there just isn’t enough variety in Crash Team Rumble overall. There are a fair number of stages, each with varying level hazards like lava pits, sandstorms, or plasma cannons, but offering only one game mode means that players will see everything pretty quickly. Most MOBAs on the market come free-to-play, but this comes with a $30 pricetag at launch, and I’m guessing there will be season passes later in the life cycle. That alone shrinks the matchmaking pool since competition in the genre is fierce, and doesn’t give me hope that there’s going to be a reasonable lifespan here.
Crash Team Rumble feels a bigger-than-average swing for the series, but one that — at this point — ultimately misses. That said, there are updates on the horizon, but I’m worried that it won’t be able to break away from more unbalanced characters and a general lack of content. Maybe Crash Team Rumble will end up like Fall Guys or Rocket League and go free-to-play at some point, but as it stands I’d have to recommend waiting for the game to bulk up a little before diving in.
For me: Crash Team Rumble gets 5 wumpa fruits out of 10.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Toys For Bob and published by Activision. It is currently available on PS4, PS5, and Xbox One. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 6 hours of play was spent playing the game.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10+ and contains Comic Mischief and Fantasy Violence. From the ESRB Website: “This is an action platformer in which players compete in team-based arena battles to collect Wumpa fruit. Players defend their bank, collect power-ups (e.g., Bandicootapult, Bombardment), and knock out enemies by using various attacks and weapons (e.g., spin attacks, ray guns, vacuums). Damage is indicated by cartoony skulls and crossbones above characters’ heads and comical ghosts emerging from players’ bodies. Battles can be fast-paced at times, highlighted by small cries of pain, smacking sounds, and screen-shaking effects. The game includes a handful of emotes depicting bodily humor (e.g., spitting a “loogie,” green mucus dripping from a nose).”
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: There is text in game, but the text is not able to be altered or resized. There are no voices, and the audio mostly serves aesthetic purposes. There is a bar at the top of the screen to show who is in the lead and how close a team is to victory. In my view, the game is fully accessible.
Controls: Controls are remappable.