Most games we encounter during our gaming carriers conform to just on one or two compatible genres at best because their creators are letting some quality unrelated factors (i.e. ratings and profit) impede their creativity. However, on the other side of the spectrum, there are also those daring trailblazing developers who aren’t too concerned with established gaming conventions. Butterscotch Shenanigans is one such visionary game developer. The guys known for a number of inventive games had let their imagination really run amok this time and created Crashlands, a title that unlike the majority of dull and formulaic gaming production, can’t be so easily pigeonholed.
This delightful space oddity represents a fantastic (and, unexpectedly, quite harmonious) blend of several gaming genres including, but not limited to, survival, exploration, crafting, base building, and loot based game. Finally, this Sci-fi hotchpotch is topped off with an addictive action RPG mechanics and likable cartoonish visual identity that to some extent resembles the new Cartoon Network production and adequately mirrors off the chart weirdness of the narrative and its characters.
Now, if the things we’ve mentioned sound a bit daunting for some reason, don’t fret – the combination doesn’t imply that the game will be too complex. In fact, the whole experience is exceedingly smooth and straightforward, thanks to the intuitive gameplay, skillful implementation of those diverse features and the crucial fact that game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Of course, the thing that flawlessly brings everything together and validates all the action is the storyline itself. Quirky, charming, witty, eccentric, sometimes even bordering on pure insanity, the story is the thing that elevates virtually everything into the stellar heights and drives you to continue even when other segments of the game become a bit stale.
In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream…for Help
You play the role of Flux Dabes, delivery girl and space truck driver extraordinaire who works for the Bureau of Shipping (which more observant players will surely recognize as space alter ego of Butterscotch Shenanigans). During one of your delivery missions, your trip was rudely interrupted near the orbit of a remote planet known as Woanope. The intruder came in the form of a giant floating alien head named Hewgodooko.
This exceedingly unpleasant individual had destroyed your ship without too much ceremony in order to salvage one of its parts and use it for his own hidden schemes. Followed by your fateful robotic companion Juicebox (who’s conveniently a sort of flying futuristic shipping pallet), you are forced to board an escape pod and crash on the inhospitable surface of this remote world.
There you will be forced to fight for the survival using various materials at hand, some ingenuity and, when all other things fail (and they will fail rather quickly, believe me), prodigious quantities of strong-arm tactics.
The Manual for Space Castaways
As any diligent space trucker would do, your ultimate goal will be to contact the Bureau of Shipping and finish your delivery. However, that obviously won’t be immediately possible. The first thing that you’ll be required to do is to build your own base. Easier said than done, right? Luckily, your escape pod was equipped with a self-sustaining survival station. You’ll use this essential part of the equipment to craft anything you need from a humble hand saw flooring, walls, and chairs for your base, to the hi-tech gear with awesome destructive potential.
Of course, you’ll need raw materials to do that, so you’ll constantly be on the lookout for various resources such as grass, wood, dirt and countless others. In practice, that means that you’ll smash them with your current harvesting tool and, to use a subtle phrase of your robotic henchman, “deconstruct” them for further use. Crafting system itself is extremely well done and addictive. In order to make anything, you’ll need an appropriate schematics which you’ll find in the course of your main quest line, or randomly, while scouring different ecosystems of Woanope planet.
One of the most enjoyable and amusing features of the Crashlands crafting system is a certain degree of randomness that potentially can occur in every build. For instance, you can craft a weapon of a certain level, and the same object can receive a different effect. Naturally, as you build new structures and develop your base, you’ll increase the range of objects you can craft.
Hunt or be Hunted the Woanope Style
It is one of the more unpleasant facts of life that you’ll eventually be forced to deconstruct some of the living organisms that exist on this planet. In other words, you’ll have to fight them if you want to defend yourself or get to the much-needed resources. The creatures you’ll encounter are really inventively designed, frequently featuring bizarre body parts combinations (just take a look at jumping one-legged hippo creatures called Wompits) which is explained by unusual energy fluctuations active in the planet atmosphere and their influence on living organisms.
For controls based on simple tapping, the combat offers surprising space for various combinations and tactics. When you attack or somehow provoke any specimen of the outlandish Woanope wildlife, two things will happen: the health bar will be displayed and a part of the terrain before them will be marked red in a certain pattern. Since each type of creature has its distinct path of the attack, these red markings will be useful for well-timed dogging.
You’ll also have a number of quick slots at your disposal, which you can use for the speedy access to the equipment such as various health potions. They also provide additional tactical opportunities. For example, you can quickly equip your fateful wrench, throw it to the face of your enemy to stun it for a few seconds and then you can finish it off with your active weapon. Later on in the game, you’ll get to raise your own creatures in specialized facilities of your base, which will follow you and aid you in combat.
Now, this was just a glimpse of things you can do in this game. As your base grows and you explore the three unique environments available in the game, you’ll be able to do interact with more sentient inhabitants of Woanope and to learn more about the fate of this world and the power play between different races. Of course, the menacing presence of your nemesis from the intro will always be somewhere around the corner, so you’ll know you’re bound to cross paths with him again. To conclude, Crashlands is a game that practically tackles a gazillion gaming genres, and, for the most part, does justice to them all. The game with such a charmingly original and well-established world, not to mention highly addictive crafting system deserves to be savored slowly and methodically. Try it out, and you’ll surely be space trucking with Flux Dabes, Juicebox and the rest of these outlandish characters for a long time!