I don’t care what anyone else says; Lego was the best toy ever, no contest. Well ok, I guess Transformers were pretty badass too, but come on man! Lego! It let you make whatever the hell you wanted to; your own creation, build with only love, care and your own two hands. And best of all, you could then watch that sucker crumble into teeny-tiny pieces after you ‘accidentally’ crashed it into something (surely I’m not the only kid that did this?).
While many games in the past have tried to capture the same sense of childish glee that Lego provides, I think Crashtastic is one of the few to hit it so squarely on the head. The game tasks you with using a simple yet robust creation tool and an assortment of bars, springs, wheels and rockets to build a vehicle of questionable structural integrity. Then, after deciding how much thrust you wanna give those rockets (you *did* cover it in rockets right?), you get to see how well your sweet new ride fairs in a series of small performance trials, which all inevitably end with “Deathtrap Mk3’s” individual components violently propelled across all corners of the map.
These mini-challenges range from simple tasks such as traveling a set distance or at a certain speed, all the way up to more advanced assignments like navigating an assault course or surviving a head on collision without your little mannequin pilot dude falling off his seat. The idea is that you’ll continue to tinker with your design for maximum performance at each individual task, or maybe even build a one-off that’s perfectly suited for one particular challenge (pro tip: for head-on collision ones, just build something that can move out of the way!).
While at first I was a little sceptical about playing what looked like yet another ‘physics based puzzle game’, I just can’t deny that the core concepts and mechanics of Crashtastic are incredibly strong. Despite my rather limited imagination, I still had an absolute whale of a time trying out all sorts of crazy abstract designs, and then watching on in a mixture of horror and morbid delight as my creation disintegrates into shattered fragments at the slightest provocation.
My only real gripe is how little feedback (i.e. none) the game gives you on how and/or why these (beautiful) disasters end up happening in the first place, which can make honing your design to be a bit less accident-prone rather difficult. Are there too many rockets*? Are there not enough rockets**? Is the undercarriage too close to the ground? Do I need to fashion some kind of quasi-shock absorbers? Should I not be building my designs around the idea of constantly placing the pilot in mortal danger? There’s really no way to tell what the actual issue is most of the time, so you just end up tweaking until the problem finally goes away, often only to be replaced with yet another new indescifrable and/or catastrophic design flaw.
** Always true.
But that stuff aside; the current direction of Crashtastic is very promising, and all it really lacks at the moment is more content to mess around with. Give it a bigger range of challenges and few extra types of building blocks, then this’ll be a game I can heartily recommend to any other Lego die hards out there without a moment’s hesitation. Sure, It might be a little limited right now, but I think Crashtastic will definitely be one worth revisiting further down the line!
You can currently pre-order Crashtastic for ~£5 ($7.99) on the official site, granting you instant access to the ongoing Alpha test (PC only).