Crash Team Rumble is a new online multiplayer game developed by Toys for Bob and published by Activision. The 4-by-4 team-based game is based on the Crash Bandicoot universe and features characters from the beloved Crash Bandicoot games such as Crash, his sister Coco Bandicoot, and the evil villain Dr. Neo Cortex.
The core gameplay of Crash Team Rumble is quite simple. Teams are tasked with collecting Wumpa fruits and returning them to their bank as quickly as possible. The first team to collect 2,000 Wumpas is the winner, but the chaos that ensues in the meantime makes it an absolute frenzy. Team composition is important, working together in different roles to stop the other team without sacrificing their own speed.
The three character roles are Scorer, Blocker, and Booster. Scorers are responsible for scoring as many Wumpas as possible, using their quick movement and fast attacks to collect as many as possible and bank them for points. Blockers use skills to stop other teams from scoring, often causing immense frustration for enemy teams by camping on their bank to prevent them from doing anything. Boosters are the most intricate, needing to collect keys to unlock power-ups that will help the team in different ways depending on which map you are playing on.
Each of the playstyles is unique enough to be fun to use, but teams are limited in that they need to have two scorers, a blocker, and a booster if they want to have a chance of winning. If everyone wanted to play as Crash, a scorer character, their team would not stand a chance. Characters are linked to their play styles, so players are limited to who they can play as if they want to have an optimal and more enjoyable experience at the expense of not always getting to play as the character they would like.
Like with every new game, Crash Team Rumble is in desperate need of some balancing when it comes to characters. Characters that aren’t unlocked until some serious playtime is put in are much better than the base characters, leaving me never wanting to play as Crash or Coco for example, two of the three characters that are unlocked from the start. It does feel rewarding to unlock stronger characters as you progress, but making fan-favorite characters essentially obsolete the more you play is a bit disappointing.
Playing games and earning medals helps unlock new tiers of the battle pass in order to get new cosmetic items like character skins and emotes. There are some really cool-looking items on the battle pass, and I did find myself earning a significant amount of battle pass experience with each game. It didn’t feel like too much of a grind to unlock new items, which I appreciated.
The other real issue I have is that there is only one real game mode to play against others, competitive mode. The competitive mode pits two teams of four against each other, and you can join solo or with friends, but other than private matches with friends or bots there is no real variety in gameplay. In between matches, players are immediately queued up for another game in the same lobby, which is fine if the games are close but frustrating if it was a massive blowout. On top of that, the next match loads within a minute, and that counter includes the post-game report which severely limits the time players have to view newly unlocked characters and the moves associated with them. You also can’t back out with your party, leaving the lobby takes you out of the party, requiring you to re-invite any friends you might have been playing with.
Despite the frustrating moments, there are some seriously fun times to be had in Crash Team Rumble. Getting a team together that communicates well can feel incredibly satisfying, and if you find yourself in a lobby that isn’t very good it can be really fun to keep winning game after game. Hitting excellent team-based combos to knock out opponents and stop them from scoring put a genuine smile on my face. The frantic gameplay with unique characters was quite appealing and kept me coming back for more.
New maps and game modes would go a long way towards making that fun something that lasts more than only a few matches because it can feel quite repetitive after a while. If this was a free-to-play game I would understand the barebones mode and the limited number of characters, but considering this is a $30 game at the cheapest it was really disappointing. I hope there will be post-launch support, but without it I can’t see the online community lasting very long which would make it virtually unplayable.
Crash Team Rumble feels like a great idea for a game that still had work to be done before it launched. The singular game mode, limited maps and characters, and a small online community kept from growing due to a high price point of entry do not bode well for the future of the game. That didn’t stop me from finding fun, but the $30 cost would be much better spent elsewhere for now.
Crash Team Rumble
Crash Team Rumble feels like a great idea for a game that still had work to be done before it launched. The singular game mode, limited maps and characters, and a small online community kept from growing due to a high price point of entry do not bode well for the future of the game.