Prepare to crash.
It seemed to many to be a bad idea when EA announced that their new Burnout game would be both a downloadable title and would use a top down view. The fact that this was an offshoot rather than the full game many fans had been waiting a long time for compounded fears.
However, when the game released on XBLA and PSN last year it transpired that EA knew what they were doing. Along with a campaign that used The Hoff to advertise the game to the masses, Burnout Crash! became something of a success. Part of this has to be attributed to the way Criterion took one of the best loved parts of earlier Burnout games for their inspiration and then added a ton of crazy stuff on top. Whatever it was, it’s time for that same magic and madness to come to iOS.
For those who still don’t know what Burnout Crash! is all about, it’s pretty simple to explain the premise; you crash, a lot. Starting on a long highway, the player needs to point the car towards traffic ahead and cause them to smash in to each other, forming obstacles for further traffic to then crash in to.
Each of the three modes; Rush Hour, Road Block and Pile-Up require you to rack up damage, displayed as dollars on the screen. Hitting buildings, totally destroying cars and causing bonus items to appear all help towards your carnage-created total. Smashed cars will build up your meter, leading to a Crashbreaker which allows you to explode, sending cars sprawling across the road.
Hitting other cars or buildings in this way (called Punting in the game) allows you to spread the damage much further. This is particularly useful when you build up a pile of cars around you in Pile-Up and Road Block Modes, the former setting everything on fire and the latter blocking off every exit to stop cars escaping.
At first the three modes don’t seem all that different, but further play uncovers very different strategies for each mode. Rush Hour needs fast bursts of Crashbreaker power and as much damage as possible in a short space of time, Road Block is slightly more strategic, in that you will need to work out how to cover off each exit and Crashbreakers can actually damage your carefully built up baracades rather than help create them. Pile-up gives you a short space of time to gather cars for the final fiery showdown.
Alongside the Crashbreaker, Criterion have peppered the game with a bunch of mad power-ups. My favourite has to be the police barricade, which gives you a fleet of police cars to block the road. Pizza Trucks give you a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ style random Power-up and Ice Cream Trucks freeze cars nearby, allowing you to completely destroy them for a bigger bonus. Then there are the massive powers like the UFO and Tornado, the latter appearing at the end of the game to sweep up the remaining debris and add a ton of points to your score. These are all accompanied by neat little audio soundbytes and mad commentary.
EA have done a good job of replicating the graphics from the downloadable console games, not that they were particularly graphics intensive. Despite the top down view, there’s a fair amount of detail in the game and everything is suitably destructible. Small touches like sinkholes appearing and just the way that the cars slide to try and avoid an accident add something special to the feel of the game.
Controls have received the biggest overhaul. The Kinect version was notable for not being entirely useful, but the iOS controls have managed to provide the opposite and have actually enhanced the game over the console release. After a few attempts, swiping in front of the car to direct it in to traffic, then swiping again to crash it once the Crashbreaker appears makes it feel as if the game has always been made with this control system in mind. At times the action is so fierce that you’ll find yourself swiping all over the screen just to get those elusive points, but it’s certainly preferable to a controller.
Holding all this together is a 5 star scoring system which adds objectives to gain stars. These stars them open levels and new vehicles with which to create even more destruction. While levels can be beaten fairly easily, gaining a full set of stars is more difficult and should lengthen the game, as will the use of scoreboards over Origin and the trusty Autolog feature which EA is so fond of.
While seasoned players may find that Burnout Crash! is a little lighter on content than they would like, the game is certainly a blast while it lasts and if you’re up against friends on Origin the Autolog can get very competitive.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 8
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