Take a multi-player only game with no audience, the cheap haunted house your neighbor puts up every Halloween to scare infants, and a homage to Bomberman. Put it in a bag, then shake said bag, set it ablaze and you’ll have something resembling Bloober Team’s Basement Crawl for the PlayStation 4.
Basement Crawl takes the classic game-play of Bomberman and tries to, I don’t know, rejuvenate it? Players must navigate a grid-based maze and set traps in order to inflict damage on other players, subsequently killing them. The two game modes in Basement Crawl consist of team deathmatch, and your run-of-the-mill deathmatch — most kills win. In order to do so players will choose from the four different playable characters (all resembling some overpriced, corny Halloween animatronic item purchased from Spirit). Each of the four characters has a unique ability that will boost a players health, stamina, range or trap damage.
There are also destructible and indestructible obstacles throughout each map. Destructible obstacles are packed with goodies -like a pinata- and are used to do an assortment of things — like increasing the amount of damage a player does. Alternatively, players will come across something like the “ultimate” which has unlimited range that is only obstructed by indestructible obstacles. Players can also kick traps into the path of other players, which is a semblance of a good idea there, but everything is ruined by Basement Crawls inability to explain anything.
Basement Crawl has no tutorial; there’s a FAQ buried in the menus, which does alleviate some of the frustration of deciphering what the hell you are supposed to do, albeit it seems like an afterthought. I still do not completely understand what I was supposed to be doing in the game. In fact, the only game I won occurred after I was the only player in a match with the ability to lay traps — a trophy even popped rewarding me for my, uh, victory and that brings me to my next point.
Broken. Unbelievably, undeniably, implausibly broken, and not in a Battlefield 4 “this game would be fun sans the bugs” way. Basement Crawl is broken in a “who thought this was a good idea?” way. For instance, I often spawned in a corner surrounded by obstacles, and the only way to get out of my “time out” was to inflict damage upon myself. Sure, holding the left trigger deploys a shield that nullifies that damage, but I still can’t help but ask why they would spawn me in a situation like that in the first place? In addition to the idiotic spawn position, the game crashes frequently. So, if you do happen to find a match (which is unlikely), and the game doesn’t decide to disable the ability to lay traps, or some other absurd bug, more often than not it will crash.
I did not enjoy anything about my time with Basement Crawl. It is a mess in every sense of the word. It’s flawed from a technical as well as design standpoint. The combat, when working, is not interesting. The uninspired attempt at a horror aesthetic is laughable at best, and let us not forget the lack of any explanation on how to play the game. Calling Basement Crawl a homage to the Bomberman series is kinda like me pooping in my pants at the age of twenty-six and calling it an homage to my infancy.
[-A Technical mess] [-A multi-player only game with no audience] [-Poor mechanics] [-No tutorial] [-Uninspired character models and art design]