Raise your hand if you wrote off Crash Team Rumble when it was revealed. Almost everyone I spoke to about it did, likely because it doesn’t seem like a good idea. Except now that I’ve had a week with the underdog multiplayer game we’ll see this year. I grew up on Crash Team Racing, a birthday present I received that went the distance in terms of hours spent playing locally with my neighbourhood friends.
So, let’s explain what Crash Team Rumble is and what you can get when you pick up a copy.
Mayhem and Madness
In Crash Team Rumble, fans can play as Crash, Dingodile, and a host of other friends and frenemies, each of which has their own distinct power, personality, and playstyle, as they compete across wild and varied arenas in four-versus-four team-based online multiplayer action. To lead their squad to victory, players will slide, smash, bump and bash as a team to be the first to bank the most Wumpa fruit in their drop-off zone while simultaneously defending the opponent team’s drop zone.
At launch, there is currently one mode available, but it’s so meticulously thought out. The main goal of Crash Team Rumble is to obtain and score 2,000 Wumpa fruit before your rivals do. This is where Toys for Bob pulls a wild card and incorporates the familiar gameplay mechanics in a brand new way as you collect wumpa from crates while preventing rivals from hitting your character and losing precious resources.
Crash Team Rumble Features Thrilling 4-on-4 Matches
In Crash Team Rumble, teams of iconic Crash Bandicoot characters face off in intense 4-on-4 matches. The current roster offers eight characters, each belonging to one of three classes: Scorers (Crash, Tawna, and Catbat), Blockers (Dingodile, Dr. N. Brio, and Dr. N. Tropy), and Boosters (Coco and Dr. Neo Cortex). This diverse selection of characters provides a strong starting point, and I’ve enjoyed playing as each one of them. Despite coming from the same archetype, they all offer distinct gameplay experiences.
Scorers: These characters excel at scoring. They can hold more Wumpa Fruit than other classes, possess practical combat skills, and often have special movement abilities that make them difficult to corner.
Blockers: Blockers are adept at preventing opposing scorers from achieving their goals. With strong offensive capabilities and the ability to control the game’s space, they can dominate the enemy team’s territory.
Boosters: Boosters play a supportive role, offering unique gameplay mechanics. One such mechanic is capturing Gems by simply jumping on them, providing a significant scoring boost. Owning every group of Gems on the map doubles your score, making capturing fights crucial. Boosters excel at defending themselves and their objectives, ensuring the success of their team.
Unleashing the Power of Relic Stations
One of the game’s most exciting features is the utilization of Relic Stations. Boosters, who have a knack for collecting Relics quickly, can bring these powerful artifacts to the stage-specific ultimate Relic Stations. By exchanging them, players can unlock game-changing power-ups. Each of the ten launch maps features a unique Relic Station with specialized rewards that perfectly complement the map’s themes and design. From Bonus Banks that double Wumpa turn-ins to the summoning of TNT drones, a sandstorm, an explosive jump, and even a dragon! Each of the Relic Stations makes each map feel distinctive and adds a layer of excitement to the gameplay.
I am having a lot of fun playing Crash Team Rumble, but it is priced like a premium product when it isn’t. At launch in Canada, you can pick up the standard edition for $44.99 or the deluxe edition for $59.99. I’m left baffled why Activision didn’t release it as a live service free-to-play title instead of charging a hefty sum for what is rather barebones. As I said, the core mechanics are great, but the lack of content does not justify the price point and will turn away players who would have probably invested in the ecosystem had it been free from the get-go.
I do like Toys for Bob, and they’ve done some incredible work over the years, but it’s really hard to say buy Crash Team Rumble when there’s been very little marketing regarding its launch, and at any time, the publisher can shutter the game before the year’s over. This brings me to the final point I’ll make: the multiplayer space is packed with many options, some of which cost nothing to play. With nine maps and eight characters at launch, that’s not enough to bring players in for the long term.
In a year where every month is stacked with many options to play, Crash Team Rumble will live or die by the content it receives. There is enough to bring players in, but in a space filled with many options, the multiplayer scene is hard to crack in today’s landscape. Toys for Bob is the right developer for Crash, and they have a strong understanding of how to get the most out of them.
Thankfully, if you look past the light amount of content, there’s something special here. Crash Team Rumble does, it does it well, and there will be moments where you’ll be having a lot of fun collecting Wumpa Fruit.
[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Crash Team Rumble will live and die by the content Toys For Bob delivers, and as it stands, there's a lot of fun to be had at launch, even if the content is barebones.