One of the gaming genres that is huge on mobile but doesn’t really have a presence on consoles is the auto-runner. There are hundreds of these games for smartphones but only a handful on Xbox One. Well, Dutch developer, Neonchimp Games, is adding to that handful with a port of their mobile game, Crashbots.
Running on the level
Crashbots tasks you with getting your robot to the end of each level before it runs out of power. Your robot has a power bar which is gradually depleting. It goes down even faster when you are jumping/hovering, sliding, or shooting. You also lose power when you are hit by something or run into an obstacle. If you are running low on juice, you can collect batteries and other power boosts throughout the levels. Make it to the end of the course and you will unlock the next stage.
There are loads of different things to collect throughout the levels. Three stars are available to collect on each stage. You will also be given three optional objectives to complete. These could be destroying a certain number of boxes or targets. There could be a set number of coins for you to collect. You may have to kill a certain number of enemies. Completing all these objectives will grant you bonus coins. You use this currency to upgrade your robot. There are 4 extra crashbots to collect and the parts for these are scattered amongst the levels, as well.
Always moving forward
With this being an auto-runner, your robot is continually moving forward. You control movement from side to side, as well as being able to jump, slide, shoot, and boost. You can’t choose to stop, though, or even slow down. To make it to the end you will have to make your way past numerous obstacles. Some will require you to move either side of them. Others will need to be jumped or require you to slide under. You will also have to shoot numerous boxes and some enemies on your way to the finish line. If you hit an obstacle, you will not only lose some power but will be sent backwards a little as well. This can be incredibly frustrating as on several occasions, I got sent back into another obstacle which trapped me and continually damaged me until I died.
Visually, Crashbots is an OK game for a budget title. The different robots have a nice design to them. The five worlds (Factory, Forest, Haunted House, Wild West, and Neon) all have a good individual style to make them distinct. They all have some unique obstacles (along with universal ones) which keep you on your toes. I never noticed any framerate issues or screen tearing. This is not the kind of game which is going to test my Xbox One X, though. The sound is OK. In-game effects are fine. The music is very repetitive. It didn’t take me long to go to the menu and turn it off.
Content and conclusion
Content-wise, there’s a reasonable amount here for your money. Each area has 24 levels and an extra stage for a boss. There’s also an endless mode for each world. You could probably go through the world mode in a couple of hours. If you want to collect all the stars, I’d say you can add an hour or so to that. However, if you want to complete all the challenges for each level, you’re probably looking at around 8-10 hours (unless you’re some sort of endless runner savant).
Crashbots is a fun idea that is let down by a lack of proper QA testing. There are too many occasions where a single bump into an obstacle traps you and causes your demise. On a couple of run-throughs, my character model disappeared altogether. You could see the shots I was firing but not my robot. On one of the battles with an end of level boss, his sweep attack forced me off the side of the track altogether. My character was running along, carefree, off to the side but I couldn’t finish as I couldn’t target the boss. This is a pretty challenging game as you get near the end. I doubt there will be many gamers who manage to complete all the objectives on all the levels. If you really love auto-runners or endless runners, though, you should check this out. For everyone else, you may want to give this a pass unless an update fixes all of the glitches and obstacle issues.