[Review] Basement Crawl

With an apparent lack of games being released for the PlayStation 4 at the moment, you’d hope that Sony’s promotion of indie games at Gamescom last year would mean that we’d see some unique and wonderful titles. While they have slowly releasing content onto the PS Store and had some success through Resogun, the store hasn’t been filling up with content as much as many had hoped. One of these indie games recently released is Basement Crawl from Bloober Team and it looks to bring a modern feel to a classic type of game.

 

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When looking at footage of this game, the first thought you would have would be: “This looks like a Bomberman clone.”

Sadly this is as close as the game ever comes to reliving the magic that was created with those cartoon-styled heroes and its fun competitive gameplay.

 

Basement Crawl begins with an introduction to the game’s background and shows the creepy nature of the characters you are playing. Unfortunately this is completely unnecessary as the game benefits in no way with the characters being portrayed in this way. The game takes place in several locations, all of which feature teddy bears, circus accessories and blood stained floors. The darkness from each level and the similarities between the characters make the game frustrating to play. The best thing about Bomberman was that everything was so colourful and felt fun to play. Basement Crawl feels unnecessarily dark and adds nothing but frustration to the atmosphere. There is no real quality of sound either with only the numbed explosions from the bombs, dull tones which wouldn’t seem out of place in a budget horror film and the creaking of the wheels from two of the characters and failing to provide any sort of sound quality.

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The game’s objective seems simple enough and is almost the exact same as the classic game I’ve already mentioned several times before. There is a time limit of 2 minutes and the winner of the match is the player who achieves the most kills within the time limit. The only weapon each player has to use is bombs, but these can be kicked and health items can be picked up as crates are destroyed. The gameplay idea is very simple, but Basement Crawl soon becomes very difficult.

 

With the game being able to be played by as many as 8 players at a time and only the choice of 4 characters, you would assume that Bloober Team would do something to make this easy to see who you are. If all 8 players pick the same character, they all look the exact same. Once you get halfway through a match and are crossing paths with other characters, you soon lose sight of whom or where your character is. In addition to the characters being confusing, they don’t have any appeal whatsoever and make it hard to fathom any sense of favouritism towards any of the playable characters.

In terms of gameplay, the mechanics are never properly explained and this adds to the frustration of getting to grips with the game. The buttons are displayed before the next match begins but some of the button presses have no effect on the gameplay. The only buttons I found useful besides the directional buttons was X to set a trap and R2 to make your bombs detonate quicker. There is meant to be a mechanic to kick bombs away from hurting you, but this was temperamental as it would work sometimes and not others. Ultimately, these are the only buttons you really need to progress through the game but there are no memorable moments at all. No unique moments that you would share with your friends and nothing which would make you look back on the game fondly.

 

We have seen recently that multiplayer only games do have a place with the release of Titanfall and DayZ showing that online-only multiplayer can be achieved. In order to do that, you need to have an audience. These games have all had marketing promotions of some kind to gain recognition. Basement Crawl has been out for around a month and until having to review it, I never even knew it had been released. If there is a game coming out for a new console you should be doing your utmost to promote it and show the new console owners, who are desperate for new content, exactly just how good your game is. While the game can be played locally, not enough people own more than one controller with their PS4 as they’re so expensive to own and there are also far better games to play cooperatively already on the PS4.

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With the game being relatively new, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of people who own the game. So much so that within my first few hours of playing it, there was only one online match that I was able to access which had the same opponents throughout. That’s the biggest problem with a multiplayer only game, there has to be a community to target this game towards and it seems that no gamers have put any time into this game. The game has been on sale for exactly a month in Europe and there was only one joinable game online. I was not able to play with any friends locally because not many of my friends own PS4s or a copy of the game. I can’t imagine showing my friends NBA 2K14 and its wonderful visuals and then showing Basement Crawl off. It looks like a million miles away from what you’d expect from a PS4 game. Even if it’s only an indie title, it’s not very flattering to view.

 

I hate reviewing games which are fundamentally wrong, as I’m sure many other people do. The people behind Basement Crawl have spent hours after hours trying to perfect a modern twist on a classic idea. While they are putting their hard work into trying to make the perfect game, I sit here in front of a computer speaking of just how awful this game is and I hate nothing more than tearing something to pieces.

 

In saying that, there is nothing good that comes from Basement Crawl. The multiplayer-only aspect of the game doesn’t work if no one is aware or willing to buy the game. With so many PS4 games showing of great graphics and tremendous colours, this title doesn’t show of any of these things and the gameplay is frustrating and inconsistent. If you absolutely need to buy a new title for the PS4 and you already own every PS4 game, then buy this. Otherwise look on Ebay or boot up your Xbox 360 and play some classic Bomberman. At least those classic series of games provides all of the thrills and none of the spills. Basement Crawl is definitely an appropriate name for something which is lower than low and has no legs to stand on.

 

2/10

 

Basement Crawl is available to buy now for £7.99 on the PS store, exclusively for PS4.

Simon Marshall
Twitter: @SimonMarshall6

Xbox Live Gamertag, Steam & PSN ID: SCIENCEakaSYCO

Nintendo 3DS Friend Code: 2466-2669-0117

 

Images used under creative commons, rights to respective publishers/ manufacturers.

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