Released back in January by developers Butterscotch Shenanigans, Crashlands is a Diablo-esque action role-playing adventure with an added resource farming and crafting system, which puts you in the space suit and boots of Flux Dabes, a space courier, who alongside her trusty robot companion Juicebox, travels across the galaxy making her all-important deliveries. That is, until the alien creature Hewgodooko crashes her party, literally, by taking her quantum electrodongle and cargo from the ship, the B.S. S.S. Assess, and sends her plummeting towards the planet Woanope [Woah-nope] in the escape pod. This is where the party begins.
This entertaining introduction to the story also serves as part of the tutorial, where you’ll get the hang of the basics. Once your down on the planet, your goals are to send a message for rescue to your superiors at the Bureau of Shipping or B.S. for short, recover the lost cargo, and make the delivery on time, or close enough anyway, as you deal with the trivial and comedic issues of the other alien species, and decimate the remarkable yet hazardous native wildlife for crafting materials.
The planet of Woanope is made up of biomes. During your quest you will visit three of them, starting in the Savanna, and then venturing into the Bawg, and Tundra. Travelling between these biomes is done via the porter stones. Each map is seemingly endless, although fairly simple, but brimming with goodies for you to harvest. Fortunately for you, someone has kindly laid thousands of teleport pads over the terrain, allowing you to move quickly across the landscape.
Blueprints are what you’ll need to survive in these hostile lands. They are received as rewards for quests or discovered out in the wilderness. New items means new abilities and a good sense of progression, and once you have the required materials, you can build floors, walls, furnishings, weapons, and armour to protect yourself. Eventually, you can domesticate the local animal kingdom as pets, to help you combat the other outlandish creatures in the world. It was great to have little Meatbait Junior by my side as we travelled across the planet together.
I thought the quests were quite varied, but due to the interesting language used by the characters, sometimes my objective wasn’t always clear to me. There is a quest log, but even that was confusing at times. But I continued to farm for materials, and built a new workbench for the desired items that I needed to continue. For the most part, these materials, such as baconweed or sunshrooms are easily acquired throughout your travels, but sometimes you’ll need to find a fishing spot or deal with some difficult varmints, which can feel a bit repetitive in the fortieth hour.
The graphics are beautifully rendered with bright colours. It also has excellent lighting with its day and night cycle. The flora and fauna all glow different shades which helped to bring the planet to life. There is no voice acting for the dialogue which is unfortunate, however, there is a fictional language included, which reminds me of the Simlish that is used in EA’s The Sims franchise that makes up for it. The creatures also make their own unique sounds, usually while trying to stomp Flux into a thin paste. There is also a magnificent soundtrack which is very peaceful and alluring, created by Fat Bard, who have done soundtracks for other Indie games such as, Adventure Lamp, and Hive Jump.
This is only a single player game, but it could benefit immensely from the inclusion of a co-op mode, or even a complete conversion into a massively multiplayer online experience. This would allow you to share your home designs with your friends, and make use of some of the household items, which have no real use in their current state. Another great feature is the ability to take your game with you on your mobile devices. Using a Butterscotch ID profile, you will gain access to cloud support, along with other features.
Crashlands has a good story and length, and I admire the fourth-wall breaking dialogue between the characters and the way Flux affectionately slaps everything she interacts with is genius and suits the tone of the game. The combat can be tricky, and some of the unique blueprints are hard to find, but it’s predominantly a fun and familiar experience. The developers are currently hard at work on the latest update, which will feature a creator tool that lets players design their own stories and quests, as well as including a sandbox mode. Now, If only they could make baconweed a real thing – one day perhaps.
Have you played Crashlands? You can find it on Steam if you’re intrigued, otherwise let us know what you think in the comments.
Tim Pearce is a freelance journalist and contributor to PN2. Go say hi on Facebook via MeatBaitMedia!