Crayta review (in progress)

by on June 29, 2020

Video game development is a multi-faceted beast, and quite often players enjoy picking it apart. We live in an age where social media rules the roost – where everyone’s a critic – and nobody is ever truly happy. Like Roblox, Fortnite’s Creative, and Dreams, Crayta gives people the chance to make their own game within a game. It provides plenty of tools to build your own multiplayer game, encouraging creativity and allowing ideas to flourish. Being a Stadia exclusive, it’s always interesting to me knowing developers continue to put faith in a product that is still in its infancy. The service hasn’t taken off in the way Google would’ve liked, but hopefully Crayta will be one of those games that changes that.

From the moment you start playing, it’s obvious how much work has gone in to making Crayta a fun and accessible title. The visuals are bright, with a definite Overwatch and Fortnite inspiration in the way characters look and move. You’ll start off by creating your avatar, choosing hair styles, outfits, and more. The Store lets you obtain new stuff the more you play, such as emotes, outfits, and sprays. Once you’re done, you’re allowed to dive right in to either playing one of the pre-existing games, or crafting your very own.

At the time of writing, the game isn’t out yet, and Crayta is very much about exploring the creative process with others, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to do so. We were invited to a multiplayer session, but sadly I couldn’t make it. For a game that requires more than one person to play the creations, the lack of involvement from fans could really harm its success. Although the collaborative elements eluded me, I was still able to play around with different templates and tools to make my very own game. There are pre-set games available for you to tinker with, such as Capture the Flag and Team Elimination, and you can literally redesign the rules, visuals, and mechanics as you see fit. It offers you the ability to change the slightest thing, or completely change how they look and play. You have an asset gallery with loads of stylistic choices to play around with, where you can add a whole manner of things.

There’s a definite Minecraft vibe to the creation process. You pick a selection of items to layer into your game which appear in a bar at the bottom of the screen, and from there you can easily switch between them to make your game look unique. You can be as basic or as complicated as you want, and Crayta provides almost every possible option for you to tinker with. I spent a fair amount of time creating my own Team Elimination, and I was blown away by the intricacies of how varied I could make it. The first thing I did was try and create a map that looked the part.

I started off with grass, but there’s plenty of choice, such as carpets, ice, bricks, and lava. I could either add each block individually or fill the entire map with it. You can change the size of the block, spawn a ‘cloud’ of it, and layer everything depending on how precise you want it to be or how fast you want to build. Voxels make up the look of your map, and the Meshes provide you with objects you want to populate it with. There’re hundreds of things to choose from. Want to build a hospital wing filled with beds, chandeliers, cell blocks, fences, or gravestones? You got it. There are also little objects you can put in place like crates and basketballs, giving you 100% diversity in how you want your game to look.

You can add visual and sound effects to make elements of your game stand out, and Primitives allow you to edit practically every element of the HUD and gameplay. You can mess around with scoreboards, including which font and colour to use, the message that appears when a player joins a game, team names, whether you allow respawns, the pickup sound of a gun, and so much more. Crayta offers you the world, and it’s completely up to you how personal you want your game to be. I was a big fan of how easy it was to build my game. Literally anyone can make something in Crayta, regardless of age or ability.

For those of you who prefer a challenge, you don’t have to use one of the pre-set game modes. You can start from scratch, but I’d definitely play around in the templates available. As complex as it can be, Crayta allows you to grow as a ‘developer’ the more you play. It can be a challenge making sure you get it right, but the rewards are well worth the time you’ll spend creating. Out of all the games currently available that let you make your own video game, Crayta is definitely my favourite. I love the aesthetic because it feels familiar. It’s also easier to move around your map, letting you float or even use a drone to get from A to B. Swapping between edit and create is also done with the press of a button.

Currently, I haven’t been able to play a single game because of the lack of players creating because, obviously, it isn’t out yet. With it being on Stadia, I worry that this will continue even when Crayta comes out. It would be a real shame to see it fail because it’s been designed with all skill levels in mind. The concept behind having everyone work together to make unique games is a wholesome one, and it’d be disappointing if all this work was for nothing. Time will tell if Crayta makes an impact on its intended audience, but I sincerely hope it succeeds, because it’s definitely one of the best creative games on the market.