Crash and Burnout!
The much loved Crash mode from the Burnout series returns in a stand-alone arcade title after being absent from Burnout Paradise. With a top down view reminiscent of the first two GTA games, a cheesy 80s soundtrack and a decidedly tongue-in-cheek approach to vehicular carnage, Burnout Crash! may not be everyone’s choice for the next Burnout game from Criterion. But does that mean it is not fun?
Play begins with Road Trip, in which the player steers their vehicle, as it automatically accelerates, towards a busy intersection. From there, the concept is simple. Crash into the nearest vehicle, or group of vehicles that are traveling along the road and cause as much damage as possible, both to road users and the surrounding buildings. Players have a crashbreaker which repeatedly refills, allowing the player to explode their car, causing more damage, and maneuver their car to a different place.
Scoring the big points will come down to combos, such as launching one vehicle into another, destroying special vehicles, such as the ambulance, gold car or Pizza truck, and filling the bar at the top of the screen which launches special events that become more and more impressive the longer that the player keeps going. The Pizza truck, when destroyed, will launch the Pizza of Fortune mini-game, which spins a Pizza on the screen that is divided into different bonuses. These bonuses can be anything from a simple x3 multiplyer for 10 seconds, to speeding all of the cars up or having the police block the road.
The special events launched from the bar at the top of the screen are worth waiting for and can bring in some big points. Bulldozers and petrol tankers can be exploded for massive carnage, but the real impressive events come once the player has filled the bar a couple of times, such as the all powerful tornado or the destructive UFO. Either way, to reach these events in Road Trip the player will have to be incredibly precise with their destruction, as the game finishes once five cars have managed to escape the intersection. This will mean blocking all of the routes and keeping them blocked, especially difficult in later levels where the roads are separated.
The other two modes in the game are Rush Hour, in which the player has a 90 second limit to cause as much damage as possible, and Pile Up, in which a set number of vehicles will come along the road and then the player can only continue whilst vehicles and buildings on the screen keep burning. The emphasis is on the Road trip mode though and across the 18 available intersections, players must score a star in Road Trip to unlock the other two modes.
Each mode on each intersection has five objectives offering up to five stars. These objectives can be anything from scoring $10,000 of damage to destroying two Pizza trucks. The number of stars that the player has collected dictate both their title (level) and allow them to unlock new vehicles to use in the game. Each of the vehicles have different stats for power and after touch, making the player choose tactically for the next intersection.
Autolog is present, allowing players to compete with their friends for bragging rights and reminding them when their friends have beaten their score. There is also local multiplayer on a turn by turn basis using Kinect. Aimed purely at the party gamers, this mode will see the player pretending to steer their vehicle with their arms outstretched and performing silly actions at various times, ensuring everyone has a laugh. But the fact that the game is played with one player at a time does slightly dampen the party mood. It’s fun, but not as much fun as the single player.
Burnout Crash! has a particular type of quick-hit casual gameplay that feels out of place on the console, and more suited to mobile devices such as the iPad or other tablets. Whilst there is nothing really wrong with the game, the quick-hit nature is damaged by the need to commandeer the TV, turn on the console, log in and brag a controller. The game is much more suited to mobile play, something which I think is on the way. But this brings up the matter of cost. How much would the game cost if on iOS or Android, and therefore is it really worth the 800MSPoint asking price on XBLA?
The Burnout name may well target the core gamer, but Burnout Crash! is more suited to the casual crowd and this may cause some confusion. The game looks good and is a lot of fun to play, but the repetition and relative lack of depth makes extended gaming sessions difficult. The game is best played in short bursts and in that respect works really well. So, if a spot of quick-hit gaming with some embarrassingly fun party action is what you fancy, then Burnout Crash! is the game for you.