Crashtastic – First Look (PC)

Crashtastic is an indie physics game being developed for PC and Mac by Mark Smith and is currently in Alpha.

In Crashtastic, you play the role of a designer, designing vehicles capable of delivering a crash-test dummy to the given objective. Objectives range from reaching a set distance, speed or height – surprisingly, this does not include crashing.

Crashtastic 02You begin your design with a dummy sitting on a chair and build around it. Currently you can build using shocks, wheels, steerable wheels, rockets, pistons, braces, rotators and three lengths of beam. Clicking the one you wish to use will highlight it blue, and clicking on the seat will add it to your build. Right-clicking will remove parts from your build. It’s fairly intuitive and will be memorised in seconds. There are also tuning options.

Tuning involves changing variables related to certain parts of your vehicle; Shocks, Rockets and Pistons. Shocks allow you to change how absorbent they are. Rockets allow you to change their power and assign a key which can control their activation– leaving the assigned key blank fires the rockets off when the level begins. Pistons allow you to assign a key to push them out and pull them in. Tuning plays a big part in the game and can be the difference between your vehicle coming to a Crashtastic end or meeting the mission objective.

There is an option in the editor to save the vehicle you have created, and it’s a good idea to do so with your successful build for each mission. The missions range enough that it will have you creating multiple different types of vehicle, and even going back to edit previously-created vehicles to fit the new mission.
Crashtastic 01
One of the best things about Crashtastic is how you can spend so much time in the editor building what you consider to be the perfect vehicle for the current mission, meticulously building and tuning it so that it will perform perfectly. Then upon entering the mission and unleashing the beast you find what you thought to be the perfect car flipping itself over on the starting line. Crashtastic has wonderfully frustrating, yet fun gameplay.

Along with missions there is also a free editor, which allows you to create levels and test your creations in them. You can modify objects in the level editor with the mouse. Left-click allows you to manipulate objects and right-click rotates the camera. There are three manipulation types; Move, Scale and Rotate. Additionally you can use WASD or the arrow keys to move the camera around the level. Currently, there are only three objects to use and manipulate. While these objects are plenty for making most levels you want to make, it wouldn’t hurt for more to be added.

Mission mode provides a lot of fun and frustration; I found there was a lot more fun to be had in the free editor. The more creative among you may think up some crazy trackmania-style track to drive a creation through, but I spent a lot of time playing crash-test dummy and trying to create levels in which I could completely destroy my vehicles. That’s the best part about the game; the biggest limitation is your own imagination. You could create a vehicle which can drive, fly, turn and withstand a crash or, if you’d prefer to watch the world burn, you could simply create a rigid-framed vehicle and crash it, watching as it explodes spectacularly – and if rockets are used, fly off into the distance.
My one gripe with the game is that I felt the music wasn’t totally fitting and was a tad repetitive. It wasn’t long before I muted it and played the game using my own playlist.

Should I be excited about Crashtastic?

Crashtastic is shaping up to be a great offering and is definitely something you should be excited about. The balance of being able to perform as the game intends you to perform and having the option of just opening a free edit and doing whatever you want means that there is a lot of fun to be had. One great addition to see in the future would be the ability to upload your created levels for others to play.

Crashtastic is currently on Steam Greenlight

It can be purchased from http://www.crashtastic.com/