Have you ever wanted to play Smash Bros with unrecognizable alien characters and guns? Well, I have some great news for you, because Fueled By Rockets’ Crashnauts is exactly that! This is a hard-hitting 2D arena shooter that is about as chaotic as they get, but it sure is a lot of fun to play with friends and family locally.
But is Crashnauts a game worthy of your almighty dollar? Or are these guns loaded with blanks? Let’s find out!
Crashnauts is an arena brawler/shooter similar to others on the market, particularly the granddaddy of them all, Super Smash Bros. The goal is simple: defeat your enemies by shooting them to death or knocking them off the floating platforms for them to plummet to their death. Either way, kills count, so you need them.
There are multiple modes: Free for All, Team Deathmatch, and Hold the Flag. All three are pretty self-explanatory, but naturally Free for All and Team Death Match are the two that people will most gravitate towards. Hold the Flag is good fun, but the novelty wears off quickly, similar to some of the other games modes in Smash Bros, like collecting the coins.
Crashnauts also has loads of modifiers that are easy to apply right before a match. Mods like low gravity cause your jumps to be insanely high, insta-gib which causes any damage to result in an instant overkill, big heads that make you a literal bigger target, and giant crashpods to return to the battlefield when respawning.
Now, the crashpods are a fun thing to talk about, because they can be a game changer. When you die, you have the ability to choose your path of return, and anyone within your path is immediately obliterated and counts towards your kills. This is an awesome little gimmick that can turn matches around, especially if you or your combatants are not paying attention.
The customization options in Crashnauts are genuinely insane. There are 6 races to choose from and numerous ways to edit the individual race even more. Personally, I loved the bug race, since my son loves beetles, so I was always slightly changing my bug’s appearances while playing the game.
But how does Crashnauts feel while playing? Well, good, actually. The controls are simple and solid, and I never felt “cheated” in any of my hours of play. All of the different guns are loads of fun to mess with, but I did find myself depending mostly on the starter gun that shoots rockets. It does adequate damage and once you get the feel for it, it is one of the more deadly weapons in the game. However, you can change the startup weapon via the modifiers, which can be a fun change up.
Powerups that spawn on stages reward players with other guns and shields, and those shields are the most sought after item in the game, as they give you extra health to survive longer, allowing you to get more kills.
The other major positive for the game is that it supports 1-6 players on a single Switch. This allows for amazing couch experiences, but sadly, Crashnauts offers no online play at all on the hybrid console.
One of the highlights for the game is its absolutely gorgeous cell-shaded graphics and art style. Everything on the screen pops so well, and the splash of colors provided by the avatars themselves and the wide array of bizarre guns simply adds so much flair to the otherwise gritty arena shooter.
Unfortunately, I did experience a handful of crashes throughout my time with the game. I even witnessed my first crash literally 2 minutes into my first match. This is especially painful, because setting up matches with multiple people takes some time, especially the customization and mods. For it to crash and cause the party to start over and go through the process again is a quite frustrating. If the game wasn’t so good, I would not recommend on this issue alone.
But at the end of the day, Crashnauts is a solid local arena shooter in the form of Smash Bros with guns. If you are looking for a game to play with friends but are on a budget, this is definitely a worthwhile experience that will entertain for hours and hours. Although it does have some technical issues on the Switch, that doesn’t take away from the core gameplay and the genuine fun the game provides.
Get ready to crash land on those floating platforms and shoot your way to victory!
Great action gameplay and variety
Beautiful cell-shaded graphics
Local support for 6 players
No online play
Technical issues that resulted in numerous crashes
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.