Crash Team Rumble First Look

Ned Jordan
In Short
Just heard about Crash Team Rumble for the first time? Wondering what the game is all about? We have all the answers for you!
Crash Team Rumble

One of the many cool things about being a video game journalist is that you get inside looks at new games before they’re even announced. And sometimes those games are something completely unexpected that are revealed by the creative talent behind the game. This is one of those times. Dan Neil, Creative Director, and Lou Studdert, Associative Creative Director, of Toys for Bob gave me a first look at their newest game, Crash Team Rumble, and now I have the pleasure of sharing that look with you.

After completing the first original Crash Bandicoot platform game in years, Toys for Bob wanted to make Crash’s next outing a multiplayer game. When they looked back to previous Crash multiplayer games, they felt that none of them really reflected the series’ origin as a platform game. So instead of creating another kart racer or party game, they decided to make a multiplayer platform game. But what would that look like? Since it hasn’t really been done before, they decided they would create the first game in a new genre, strategic multiplayer platforming (Toys for Bob admits it’s still working on the genre’s name), and that game became Crash Team Rumble.

Crash Team Rumble pits two teams of four players each against each other in a race to be the first to collect enough Wumpa fruit to win the match. The battles take place in open arenas (Toys for Bob insists that you refrain from calling the game a MOBA, thank you) that draw inspiration from classic locations across the Crash multiverse. While each arena is unique, they all share some things in common. First, each team has a unique spawn location and a Bank where they will deposit their Wumpa. Next, each map will have several Relic Stations – more on those later. Lastly, there are the Gems – this is where the competitive platforming comes into play. Gems are platforms that change to your team’s color when you jump on them. Gems are collected into groups known as Gem Clusters, and if your team captures an entire Gem Cluster, you’ll get a boost to your Wumpa.

Your primary goal is to collect Wumpa, which you will find scattered around the map, on the ground, on platforms, and in crates. The Wumpa you collect won’t count towards your team’s score until you safely deposit them at your team’s Bank. If you don’t make it back to the Bank safely, any Wumpa you’ve collected is lost.

Maps also contain Relics to collect that kind of look like little ankhs that need to be deposited at Relic Stations. If a team deposits enough relics at a station to take control of it, they will be rewarded with a unique boost or power. One station on each map is an Epic Relic Station – it will take more to capture it, but when you do the boost can be game-changing. The Relic Stations are unique to each map, which makes this a good time to talk a bit about the maps that have been reveled so far.

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First up we have Just Beachy. This map puts the player spawn points right next to their Banks, with each team’s area on opposite sides of the map. The map’s Gems are all located at the top center of the map, and each Cluster’s Gems get progressively higher, bringing some of that classic platforming verticality into the game. This map’s layout makes it more offense-focused – it’s harder to block the other team’s Bank when their spawn point is right there and yours is on the other side of the map. Most of the battling will typically take place at the Gem Clusters as both teams try to boost their Wumpa collecting in the race to hit the goal. The Epic Relic Station on this map will award the team that claims it an extra Bank. Needless to say, an extra Bank is a big advantage in a collection-focused map.

Next there’s Calamity Canyon. This is a crossroads with the spawn points and Banks at the opposite end of each road with an intersection in the middle. A crossroads map means that teams will be constantly meeting in the middle, leading to a lot of battle action. The Relic Stations on this map add to the chaos. You can unleash rolling, exploding boulders, or create a force field to block the enemy’s Bank (or protect your own). The Epic Relic Station on Calamity Canyon summons Crash Team Racing’s Nitrous Oxide, who will fly around the map in a UFO that shoots laser beams at enemy players. You don’t even need to take control of Nitrous Oxide – he’s completely autonomous, a fire-and-forget weapon to rain down on your foes.

The final map that has been revealed so far is Tiki Towers. This map focuses on verticality, featuring a giant tower in the center of the map and really bringing the platforming aspect of the game into play. As you try to go higher and higher to claim Gem Clusters or Wumpa crates you’ll need to make your jumps and avoid being knocked down by enemies or you’ll have to make your way back to the first platform and start over again. The Epic on this map? Well, it turns your entire team into giant vengeful spirits.

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So that’s what we know so far about the maps, what about the playable characters? Well, you’ll get to play as characters from across the Crash metaverse, but you’re not just choosing a skin. Each character is assigned one of three roles: Scorer, Blocker, or Booster. A Scorer looks to collect Wumpa and deliver it to the Bank. The Blocker is a defender, defending the Banks to protect teammates trying to bank Wumpa or preventing enemy players from getting to their Bank. Boosters focus on capturing Gems and Relic Stations, bringing those boosts to their team. While the roles give you certain advantages for fulfilling your primary duties – such as increased Wumpa carrying capacity for Scorers – you are aren’t tied to your character’s role because the game doesn’t impose any role restrictions. If you want to turn your Blocker into a fullback, carrying Wumpa to the goal, I mean Bank, while flattening anyone who stands in your way, go for it!

As I mentioned, your choice of character isn’t just a role and a skin, though. Each has their own unique set of locomotion and abilities. Crash has his signature spins and slides, Tawna can make use of her grappling hook to get in or out of trouble quickly, and Dingo carries a vacuum that can suck in nearby Wumpa. Between the character abilities, powers and role bonuses, there’s a lot of variety and room for different playstyles and strategies in the game just from your choice of character.

Once you’ve selected your character, the next step is to select a power. This choice is effectively the same as creating a subclass because the powers aren’t role-restricted. These powers can be activated when you’ve filled your power meter, and you’ll get a boost to the refill rate while playing to your character’s role. Only a few powers have been revealed by the devs so far. The first is the Healing Fridge. A fridge full of snacks solves so many problems, but in Crash Team Rumble the fridge is an AOE team healing appliance. The Wumpa stash places a glowing Wumpa beacon over your head and thirty seconds later you get 100 Wumpa. The catch is that everyone can see that glowing Wumpa above your head, which means it’s really a target that will draw enemy players right to you. The Gasmoxian Guard lets you drop a giant blue monster at a location you designate. You can certainly make it difficult for the opposing team to score if you put a giant blue monster in front of their Bank.

As you can see from the little glimpse of Crash Team Rumble that has been revealed so far, there’s a lot of room for strategy. What mix of roles and powers do you choose for your team? And how should you adjust those choices based on the map? Once the match begins, do you focus on offense or defense? Or perhaps Relic capture? And do you adjust that strategy based on what the other team is trying to do?

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You’ll have your chance to answer some of these questions yourself in April when the game begins a five day closed beta on the 20th. Want in on the beta? You can guarantee a spot for yourself if you pre-order the game. Pre-orders begin on March 21st, and the game will be available for pre-order on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series XS. The closed beta won’t include the full content of the release – you’ll basically have access to everything revealed in this article.

Pre-ordering will also give you a pass for Season One (you’ll get two seasons with the Deluxe version of the game) and a 25 tier unlock. Pre-orders also include a variety of special skins and gear. The devs ensure that all of this is purely cosmetic, so there’s no pay-to-win model in the game.

That’s all we have for now. We’ll bring you more inside information on what to expect from Crash Team Rumble as soon as we get it!

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Transmitted: 6/4/2023 11:24:51 AM