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Crash Team Rumble

Crash Team Rumble

Written by Eric Hauter on 6/29/2023 for PS5   XBSX  
More On: Crash Team Rumble

I've been delving into some fairly big games lately. Giant experiences like Zelda and Diablo have made up my gaming diet over the last several months, pulling me into deep, sprawling experiences for hours and days on end. But something has changed recently in my household, slamming the brakes on my deep-focus gaming habits. We have a new baby in the house, and well, if you've ever tried to play a game you can't pause like Diablo with a baby around, you know that it is a fool's mission.

So instead, I've pivoted over to games that I can jump into and jump right back out again. My kids have rediscovered Fall Guys and Among Us. Lego 2K Drive is a good one for me. And so is Crash Team Rumble. We've been playing Crash Team Rumble a lot over the last week, and it hasn't even approached the point where we tire of it. Crash Team Rumble is a fantastic 4v4 competitive game, and the great thing about it is that I can dive into a match for five minutes while the baby is napping, and dive back out again when she wakes up. It's perfect for my needs right now. 

Better still, my two older kids absolutely love Crash Team Rumble, so while I'm not playing, they are there bouncing their way through our season pass, unlocking all sorts of surprising goodies while I'm away (all cosmetics here, no nonsense to be seen). And if I do happen to be in the middle of a match when fatherhood calls, I can just pass the controller to one of my kids and ask them to finish up. It works for everybody, and the entire family loves it equally.

I never expected a game like Crash Team Rumble to spawn out of the Crash franchise, but Toys for Bob have flipped the script on the typical Crash platforming while retaining a lot of the mechanics, and pulled off a good one here. The core concept is simple; four players on each team start in an open arena. The teams run around, smashing boxes and trying to gather Wumpa fruit to turn them in at their respective home bases. The first team to turn in 2000 Wumpa is the winner. The basics are simple and easily grasped in less than a minute, but there is some strategy and depth to the game that reveals itself the more you play.

The characters - all franchise luminaries - are sorted into three groups. The first group is specifically tuned to score. They gather Wumpa fruit quickly and efficiently, and can outmaneuver the others with special traversal skills. The second group is tuned to do damage, and they are there to wreck shop on the opposing team, blocking their base, attacking them, stealing their Wumpa, and generally being a nuisance. The third group specializes in activating nodes throughout the level that give their team a boost; a temporary multiplier is added to scores made after this group is successful.

The interesting thing is, any of these specialized characters can perform any of the tasks; they are good at one thing, but they can do the other stuff in a pinch. Attackers can score or activate the multiplier, for example. So a lot of the strategy of the game comes from the makeup of the team that you've assembled, and then that teams willingness to stick with their roles or pivot, depending on what the situation calls for.

Each of the arenas - there are probably about nine or ten of them - come preloaded with special attacks and situations that can be activated by any player or team that is willing to collect and turn in icons scattered around. These can be as simple as a spiked ball that appears around your character for ten seconds so you can mow some fools down, and as complex as a fleet of flying saucers that chases around your opponents' team and disrupts the entire flow of their game. There are great fun to mess with, and can be absolute game changers. 

I've played Crash Team Rumble with a group of dedicated Gaming Nexus staffers, and we had a blast trying to coordinate our strategy (until we eventually ran face first into an equally organized buzzsaw of a team). But I've had just as much fun allowing the game to matchmake me into groups of randos, as you never know what you're going to get. Like any game of this nature, the rest of your team could be made up of little kids, or it could consist of stone cold killers. You just don't know, and reacting to whatever you find yourself with is part of the fun. 

Frankly, my only concern about Crash Team Rumble is it's longevity. The game looks and sounds fantastic, and it has a pretty healthy community playing right now (I can usually get into a game in less than a minute). But lots of games like this that I really enjoy end up going the way of the dodo in less than two years - I'm thinking of a particularly awesome dodgeball game, and another where players zipped around with rocket packs. The jury is still out on the recent roller derby game. The point is, they can't all be Rocket League, friends. 

Crash Team Rumble is a blast in the moment, but there really is just that one mode, regardless of how fun it is and how many maps there are. It will be interesting to see if Toys for Bob expands the game out over the next couple of years, or simply collects it's Wumpa fruit and moves onto the next big project. Regardless, for the time being Crash Team Rumble is a deeply enjoyable blast of a adrenaline to my sleep-deprived, cotton-stuffed brain. I'll enjoy it while I've got it, and be damn thankful it's here to blow away the cobwebs.

Crash Team Rumble is a fun and unique 4v4 competitive game that is able to create something new and ludicrously fun out of the existing franchise mechanics. While I've played a ton and have not tired of the game, there is only one real mode, which might impact the game's longevity. Still, the game is deceptively deep and strategic, with teams needing to think and react quickly to be successful. Regardless of how long it's around, right now Crash Team Rumble is great for a blast of gaming fun for the whole family.

Rating: 8.5 Very Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

Howdy.  My name is Eric Hauter, and I am a dad with a ton of kids.  During my non-existent spare time, I like to play a wide variety of games, including JRPGs, strategy and action games (with the occasional trip into the black hole of MMOs). I am intrigued by the prospect of cloud gaming, and am often found poking around the cloud various platforms looking for fun and interesting stories.  I was an early adopter of PSVR (I had one delivered on release day), and I’ve enjoyed trying out the variety of games that have released since day one. I've since added an Oculus Quest 2 and PS VR2 to my headset collection.  I’m intrigued by the possibilities presented by VR multi-player, and I try almost every multi-player game that gets released.

My first system was a Commodore 64, and I’ve owned countless systems since then.  I was a manager at a toy store for the release of PS1, PS2, N64 and Dreamcast, so my nostalgia that era of gaming runs pretty deep.  Currently, I play on Xbox Series X, Series S, PS5, PS VR2, Quest 3, Switch, Luna, GeForce Now, (RIP Stadia) and a super sweet gaming PC built by John Yan.  While I lean towards Sony products, I don’t have any brand loyalty, and am perfectly willing to play game on other systems.

When I’m not playing games or wrangling my gaggle of children, I enjoy watching horror movies and doing all the other geeky activities one might expect. I also co-host the Chronologically Podcast, where we review every film from various filmmakers in order, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.

Follow me on Twitter @eric_hauter, and check out my YouTube channel here

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