In Progress: A Review of Crash Team Rumble

“Crash Team Rumble” may initially seem like an unlikely combination, but it defies expectations and offers a surprisingly enjoyable experience. In this team-based platformer, the objective is not to defeat members of the enemy team but to collect 2,000 Wumpa Fruit before them. During my three-hour preview session and subsequent gameplay on live servers, I gained a better understanding of the developer’s intentions and became even more eager to collect Wumpa Fruit.

The game features 4-on-4 matches, pitting iconic characters from the Crash Bandicoot series against each other. Currently, there are eight characters to choose from, each falling into one of three archetypes: Scorers (Crash, Tawna, and Catbat), Blockers (Dingodile, Dr. N. Brio, and Dr. N. Tropy), and Boosters (Coco and Dr. Neo Cortex). This diverse roster offers a good starting point, as each character feels distinct within their archetype.

Scorers excel at scoring, capable of holding more Wumpa Fruit than other archetypes. They excel in combat and possess unique movement abilities that make them difficult to corner. Blockers, on the other hand, specialize in obstructing Scorers from scoring, with offensive capabilities and control over the surrounding space. Boosters, while less straightforward, play a crucial role in capturing fights. They can quickly collect Gems, which provide a significant scoring boost. Controlling multiple groups of Gems doubles the score, and even capturing at an additional 30% makes a significant impact. Additionally, Boosters can collect Relics faster than Scorers or Blockers and exchange them for powerful stage-specific power-ups. Each stage offers a unique power-up, tailored to its theme and design.

Crash Team Rumble demands important decisions to be made on the fly during matches, but team composition is equally vital, as it cannot be changed once the match begins. For example, Dingodile is a great Blocker with his vacuum ability, enabling him to collect Wumpa Fruit efficiently and hold more of them than other Blockers or Boosters. This means he can still score when necessary. Each character, including Tawna, Dr. N. Tropy, and Coco, brings their own unique abilities and specializations to the game. The game thrives on adaptability, allowing players to fulfill different roles as needed.

In addition to character abilities, players have access to a Power that charges up during matches. These Powers are not character-specific and can turn the tide in close games. The Wumpa Stash, for instance, accumulates over time and provides a significant scoring boost when Wumpa Fruits are turned in. Other Powers include a healing refrigerator, lightning pulses for holding areas, and a ranged enemy attacker. Deploying the right abilities at the right time can determine the outcome of a match.

The map design in Crash Team Rumble is impressive and forces players to utilize their character’s skills effectively. The maps resemble those found in arena FPS games like Quake or Unreal, with multiple levels and verticality. Swift movement and efficient routes are essential for maximizing Wumpa pickups, Relic collection, Gem activation, and drop-offs. I thoroughly enjoyed discovering optimal routes through the maps and anticipate perfecting them as I spend more time in the full version.

Overall, my experience with Crash Team Rumble has been highly enjoyable. Its unique multiplayer structure rewards map knowledge, teamwork, and smart play. While I still have more to explore, such as unlocking new content and mastering additional maps, I am excited to continue my journey and uncover more of what the game has to offer. I will provide a comprehensive final review next week, but until then, I will happily be collecting Wumpa Fruit, aiming to be the first to bank the most in the drop-off zone.

 

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