In Indie Game HQ’s latest review, James takes a look at Crashtastic by Mark Smith. The game has you build various crash test vehicles to meet specific goals while factoring in physics. Crashtastic is available directly from the developer for $9.99, and it includes both the PC and Mac alpha versions. It is still unclear when the beta and final releases will be. Mark Smith has Crashtastic listed on Steam Greenlight, so be sure to show your support. All the needed links are listed at the end of this review.
GAME NAME: Crashtastic
DEVELOPER(S): Mark Smith
PUBLISHER(S): Mark Smith
PLATFORM(S): PC, Mac
RELEASE DATE(S): TBA
We would like to thank Mark Smith for giving us the opportunity to review Crashtastic.
Crashtastic is a physics based vehicle sandbox game. The goal is simple… build fully destructible vehicles to help your robotic rag doll companion accomplish goals in the challenge mode, or torture him in the sandbox mode by building the most convoluted series of ramps, quarter pipes, walls, and watching him crash at insane speeds.
The whole premise of Crashtastic is to build vehicles for your test robot. We’ll call him Pete. You are tasked with specific goals for Pete and your vehicle to reach such as set altitudes, hang times, distances, and speeds. Each of these are reachable through building unique vehicles with well placed rockets. This game will involve great amounts of trial and error, and unfortunately for Pete, many painful trials.
The game has a high learning curve from the onset. There are not a whole lot of pieces, but how to properly utilize them is something that can only be learned through much trial and error. You will likely end up building 25-50 piece vehicles and by the time the test is over there may be 6 pieces still attached. Do not fret! Pete does not care, so long as the tests are in the name of science.
Crashtastic is immensely challenging at times as some of the requirements will have you building machines for hours until you get it perfect. After several test runs, I would eventually succeed barely, but poor Pete would tumble for a few feet with his face scraping against the floor, a shallow victory indeed. Luckily, Pete is a robot, and robots don’t feel pain! ….probably.
The game has seemingly limitless options when building. You can create large Ferris wheels of death that speed through the map ripping to shreds or you can make small non-creative block vehicles that look strangely like Honda Elements. Either way, you can succeed if your vehicle is built properly. Creativity versus practicality need to be balanced in order to create the ideal vehicle.
Ultimately, Crashtastic is very fun for what it is, but it is still lacking in some areas. Since this is only 0.4.8, there are still many more features planned. Crashtastic could benefit from a story of some sort so I don’t have to invent my friend Pete, and it seems that is one of the developers planned features. The developer is also planning to add additional parts and obstacles which will add more variety to the gameplay, and explosive crates are always a plus no matter what game you are playing. With these key additions I think Crashtastic can be a great game, and even in this early stage it is still very enjoyable if you like a challenge.
Crashtastic features one really great audio track that seems to feature many varied influences. Initially it sounds like your standard 90′s rock song, but at times it picks up speed and adds an electronic sound that has an 80′s feel similar to the band Europe. Later on in the song it even shows some jazz influences. The length of the song and eclectic variety certainly help offset the fact that there is only one song during the game, but it still can get a tad annoying with extended play.
The sound effects in Crashtastic are minimal with the rockets being the only real noticeable one at this time. I fully expect the developer will add additional audio tracks and sound effects prior to full release. We need to keep in consideration that his is only version 0.4.8. One final feature that I really enjoyed was that the game’s audio stopped when you tabbed out. This was a minor addition, but I certainly appreciated it as I often tab out of games to check emails and such.
The graphics of Crashtastic are very minimal as they should be. Adding additional textures and a background would not add much to game. Crashtastic aims to be simple while maintaining challenging gameplay. The limited colors and basic art really adds to the overall appeal of Crashtastic. They may change a bit here and there as the game near full release, but I wouldn’t expect any major overhaul to this department.
Down to the Nitty Gritty:
Despite being developed by one man, Crashtastic plays very smooth. I never had any hiccups while playing. The audio track used during the game is a very enjoyable song, but they could stand to add 1 or 2 more to increase the variety while the sound effects need to be redone a bit. Despite being simplistic, the graphics do not take away from the game at all. In fact I think they allow you to focus better on your task at hand. Seeing as the game is only in alpha, I fully expect to see the game to be improved by release. This review score only reflects the current state of the game.
Crashtastic features some challenging gameplay that may not be for everyone. This is a game that can be picked up and played periodically, but it is better suited for long play times. If you even remotely like physics and challenge, then this game is for you. The alpha of the game is currently available directly from the developer for $9.99 for PC and Mac. Those who purchase the alpha will receive the beta and full release when they become available. Be sure to check out Crashtastic on Steam Greenlight because if the game is Greenlit any purchaser will receive a Steam key as well.
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