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Basement Crawl PS4 review

8 March 2014

The PlayStation 4 has had great success with Indie titles since its launch back in November of last year. Games like Outlast scared us, Resogun frustrated us in a good way, and Don't Starve asked us how long can we survive. Unfortunately, Basement Crawl, the latest indie title to hit Sony's new home console, asks us "can we even play it?".

Developed by Blooper Team, Basement Crawl is a horror-themed competitive multiplayer game pitting players against each other on grid-based maps, as gamers set traps to take each other out. Players who have experienced Bomberman will instantly recognize this type of competitive game, minus the horror theme. From the beginning, Basement Crawl confuses players with its introductory cinematic, which sees a little girl asking her grandmother why she can't go outside and see the world. The scene introduces the four playable characters in the game; a Clown, Stunt dummy, a little girl with a knife-wielding teddy bear on her head, and a women wearing a mask and camouflage pants. Unfortunately, the game provides no backstory to any of these characters or why they are killing each other, so it's unlikely you'll become emotionally invested in them at all. 

The game's horror spin tries really hard to fit into this particular genre, though sadly has a hard time in doing so thanks to the generic environments on offer, making it difficult to see much of the action. Another issue is not being able to change your chosen character's costume. The only indication you have is the highlight over your character's head, and this becomes almost impossible to distinguish and pay attention to when other players are trying to kill you.

One of the game's major problems is the lack of a tutorial. Subsequently, this makes it hard to understand exactly how the game works and how the pick-ups that appear in-game affect the player. While the FAQ section helps to shed light on what the different pick-ups are, they are too tiny and hard to make out in the dark environments to make good use of while trying to frantically escape death. Being a multiplayer-only title players are thrust into a Deathmatch that pits up to eight players against each other, as well as Team Deathmatch, which pits the blue team against the red team. I ran into a lot of problems with Team Deathmatch most because of unbalanced teams; at one point it was four on one, leaving the player with almost no chance of winning the match.

It's during the online multiplayer where the game starts to fall apart, sadly. Joining a server sometimes took me up to half an hour, and when I was finally able to join a game none of the players appeared and we just had to wait for the timer to expire, or just quit the match outright. This is unfortunate, as when I was able to finally get into a game I did have fun even though I had no idea exactly what I was doing -- plus it was at full capacity, which meant spawning and dying almost instantly. The good news though is the game supports local multiplayer up to four players, so friends can play on one PS4. It is here that I had the most fun out of Basement Crawl; playing against friends in the same room as we tried to continuously kill each other made me realize how fun it can actually be. 

Basement Crawl tries hard to recapture the magic of Bomberman but has a hard time with its horror theme, lack of a real tutorial, and online connectivity issues. Overall, Basement Crawl can be a fun game but it's hard to justify a purchase when half of the game just doesn't want to work.

-The Final Word-

Basement Crawl tries hard to recapture the magic of Bomberman but has a hard time with its horror theme, lack of a real tutorial, and online connectivity issues. Overall, Basement Crawl can be a fun game but it's hard to justify a purchase when half of the game just doesn't want to work.
  • Can be fun - when it works.
  • Lack of any real tutorial.
  • Serious online connectivity issues.
  • Underutilized characters and theme.
4.0
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