What started as a simple platformer on PlayStation’s flagship console, Crash has features in various titles and genres over the years. We’ve seen sequels, remakes, racing, party, and even toys-to-life games featuring the cheeky orange bandicoot, and the latest title dips its toes into the Battle Royale genre. Toys for Bob has done a decent job within the confines of the online multiplayer in Crash Team Rumble, but it’s quite surprising this isn’t free-to-play. Although it controls well and has various layers to its teamwork, it feels quite limited in what you can do at the moment, and the Season Pass isn’t that exciting.
The main premise of Crash Team Rumble is quite simple. Two teams of four must collect more Wumpa fruit than the opposition, reaching the goal of 2,000. What makes things more complex – bringing the thrilling elements to it – is how you can take on different roles within your team. There are three roles at present, and each has a role with specific goals, and if everyone knows their role and sticks to it, matches can be fun.
The first role is the Scorer, and they’re responsible for collecting the fruit and delivering it to the scoring platform. Characters like Crash are faster than their teammates and can also carry more Wumpa. They have decent abilities to fend off enemies who want to try and attack them, however, the Blockers are much better at dishing out damage. Dingodile and Dr. N. Brio fall into this category, and their job is to hurt the enemy, protect the scorers, and try their best to defend their platform or prevent the opposition from depositing their Wumpa.
The final role is the Booster, and in my opinion, the most important. Not surprisingly, I found few players wanted to take on this role, just as players rarely want to be a Healer in Overwatch. Few people enjoy support roles, but I found them to be the most flexible. Coco and Dr. Neo Cortex play a pivotal role in building scoring multipliers by jumping on sets of gems, turning them the colour of their team. They can also activate map-specific bonuses such as the ability to heal all of your team or spawn a bonsai tree that’s home to a ton of Wumpa fruit.
In theory, players should stick to these roles. In the majority of matches I played, teams stuck to their roles for the most part, but it loses its enjoyment if players stray from them. Toys for Bob has been meticulous in how these roles all work together, so it’s a shame if players want to deviate. Of course, this isn’t a fault of the developer, but it loses its appeal when matches populated by strangers aren’t working together. Voice chat is integral to playing in unison, and if you’re risking matches with people you don’t know, the same level of enjoyment isn’t present.
Luckily, each player has a power-up that can be charged over time. These can range from a Flytrap Spitter that acts as a turret of sorts, and whenever an enemy is in range it’ll dish out a handful of damage. The Wumpa Stash increases your deposit bonus; Power Drain zaps the rate at which the enemy team’s fill their power-up gauge; and the Gasmoxian Guard is fantastic at dealing enemy damage and making it hard for the opposing team to drop off Wumpa.
Crash Team Rumble is fun to play as far as the controls go. The platforming elements are fluid and responsive, and I never had issues with movement or getting around. It also looks good, with the various maps all designed wonderfully. My main concern is how the Battle Pass progresses far too slowly, something I mentioned in our preview. The content within the battle pass isn’t that exciting either, unless you’re a diehard Crash fan, and the rate of progressing takes a lot of successful runs. There’s still some cool stuff, but having to pay for a game that still feels limited and then the battle pass, I’d have expected more.
Crash Team Rumble is much better than I first thought it would be. Matches can be a lot of fun if everyone sticks to their roles, and the maps look great, but are also designed in interesting ways to make use of character roles. As it’s a live-service title, I hope Toys for Bob is dedicated to keeping it fresh and it doesn’t become another victim of a low player base; though suggestions are this might already be happening. Despite a battle pass that takes a lot to progress through, there’s an enjoyable experience here.
Fun to control
Straightforward yet affective goal
Only one mode at present
Season pass is slow to progress through