Crash Team Rumble Review

When Activision revealed a new, multiplayer focused, Crash Bandicoot game at the Game Awards it came as quite the surprise. We weren’t aware that they were so far ahead on such a project, nor did we know that they had their sights set on bringing the orange marsupial into the multiplayer and games-as-a-service realms. Here we are, though, days after the game has launched, and just a number of months after it was first revealed.

Known as Crash Team Rumble, this is a new take on the classic platformer, which takes the form of a 4v4 competitive experience. Gone is the challenging platforming, the colourful boss battles and all of the single player focuses of the previous titles, and in their place is something different and unexpected. Not only that, but it’s merely a thirty dollar budget title, which is noteworthy in its own right. How does it fare, though?

At its core, this is a race to collect the most wumpa fruits. There’s no simpler way of describing what goes on in the chaos that is Crash Team Rumble. It’s two teams of four players working together to collect and bank more fruit than their competitors, all while dealing with traps, special items and opponents who have the ability to smack, slide and hurt.

Before a match begins, players choose their heroic or villainous avatars, and do so from three different categories:

  • Scorers: These are fast characters like Crash, Tawna and Catbat, whose skills make them best suited for racing around the map and collecting as much fruit as possible in a short amount of time. They have basic attack options, and aren’t as big, powerful or defensive as some of the others.
  • Blockers: These bigger galoots (Dingodile, N. Brio, N. Trophy and — eventually — Ripper Roo) are used to cause chaos and block the opponent from either getting to your goal, or banking their own wumpa fruits. They’re often bigger, have more health and defense, and are stronger when they attack.
  • Boosters: These guys are also fast and move around the map quickly, allowing them to pick up relics and stand on boost pads in order to boost their team’s score. When a team’s score is boosted, they get bonuses for all of the wumpa fruits they bank. Examples include Coco Bandicoot and Dr. Neo Cortex.

The goal, then, is to create a balanced team where every player knows his or her role. The scorers rush out to collect as many fruits as possible, breaking many boxes and jumping on numerous platforms in the process, and then run back to their team’s bank to deposit said fruits when their pockets are full. After all, you can only hold so many at a time. Meanwhile, the blockers do their best to cause chaos and prevent the other team from blocking their bank or beating up on their teammates. All the while, the boosters try to wrestle control of as many of the boost pads as possible, while also collecting relics which can be used to unlock special traps, bonuses and abilities.

If you work well together, you’ll stand a good chance of winning. It’s rarely easy, though, because opponents have a real knack for trying to block one’s bank. They’ll drop massive creatures there, or will camp as they wait for you to return with wumpa fruits, just so that they can pummel you to death. It’s a jerky thing to do, but that’s how this game works, and it’s part of the strategy.

Needless to say, it’s a fast-paced, arcade and frenetic experience that has you on your toes. It’s also one that can become frustrating if you come up against a great team of four as I did. They seemed like a well oiled machine, even if they were randoms.

Playing as each of these well known and beloved characters, whose interactive lives date back to the 1990s, feels really good. They all have different weights to them, and move around as you’d expect they should. Their sizes and unique abilities all factor into how you play, and can be tied to your playstyle once you pick a favourite and become used to them. Don’t be afraid to experiment though, because that’s part of the goal and the appeal.

Those who master different characters will be able to use their abilities to their advantage, but I had a bit of a tough time landing some in my first foray into this experience. For example, one can execute an impactful uppercut and send enemies flying. There are also different types of guns, a grappling hook and more.

The maps, themselves, are pretty small in size but are fun nonetheless. They’re all themed after different things, and present varied layouts of the same thing: floating landmasses, platforms, boost pads and banks spread throughout an arena. It’s important to get the layout of each one down, because you don’t want to get lost and spend time looking for the bank when time is of the essence. It is helpful, then, that the game allows you to plant beacons and call for help whenever need be.

In total, the game is said to boast nine different maps. However, I didn’t see that many when I played. Alas, I guess that means I still have more to see when I return to it.

With just its one mode of play, Crash Team Rumble does get repetitive and might feel stale to some. However, its fast-paced gameplay keeps you on your toes and made me want to keep playing more. Just know that it is limited, and kind of a one trick pony. More content is expected, but who knows if that’ll include new modes.

As you play, though, you’ll unlock new bonuses in the form of different clothing items and skins for each character. You’ll also have to unlock most of the characters. Furthermore, there’s a battle pass to work towards, and it offers different unlocks that you may or may not want. The odd thing, though, is that ours seemed to start at level 26 or 27. Perhaps it was a boost from the ultimate edition we were sent?

Speaking of leveling up, it’s also important to note that each of the characters levels up independently. It’s expected that your main will end up being much higher leveled than the rest, due to experience gained in matches, but it takes time to level them up.

During my time playing this one, I didn’t experience any technical issues. The crossplay worked fine, my connection seemed seamless, and the only negative I came across was lengthy loading times. So long as I stayed in the same game for multiple rounds at a time, the loading wasn’t bad at all and there were only short breaks between matches, no matter how many players left or joined. However, I experienced really long loading times when first joining a match, and on occasion as I kept playing. The loading bar takes a while to fill up, and at one point I thought it had glitched.

Actually, I kind of lied in the previous paragraph and need to make amends. While I didn’t experience any technical issues while playing, Crash Team Rumble is the first game I’ve ever played where the game actually crashed as I was going through its user agreement menu. I’ve read of others experiencing crashes, but did not have any while playing the actual game.

As you’ve seen in the attached screenshots, and surely expected, Crash Team Rumble is an incredibly colourful game. It looks exactly as you’d expect, and seems to run quite well. Everything about it is cartoony, colourful and over-exaggerated in caricatured fashion, befitting the series it’s based on. Fans will not be disappointed. The sound, on the other hand, is also pretty good. The music is made up of songs from previous games, but it’s overshadowed by chaotic sound effects and the tones of the announcer. Don’t expect him to call every play like an NHL announcer or colour commentator, but do expect him to say when teams are boosting, when a boost has expired and other important things.

Going into Crash Team Rumble, I admittedly didn’t know what to expect. I’d been posting news about the game, but hadn’t taken the time to really look into it in-depth, and didn’t exactly know what I was in for. Upon playing it, I was pleasantly impressed despite its limited scope. It can be quite fun, and can also get pretty frustrating in a good humoured way. Plus, even if it’s a bit of a one trick pony, it’s a thirty dollar one trick pony and a very replayable one at that.

This review is based on the Xbox Series X version of the game, which we were provided with. We were sent two codes, but receiving this game for free did not sway our opinion.

Crash Team Rumble Review
Reader Rating0 Votes
The Good Stuff
Addicting and replayable
Does the Crash Bandicoot series proud, as it feels like a Crash game and pays homage to its predecessors
A battle pass to work on if that interests you
If you get a good team together it can be really clinical and fun
Chaotic, colourful and friendly for all ages
The Not-So-Good Stuff
Limited in scope
Gets repetitive
Some promised content is currently missing
Can crash to dashboard