Key TakeawaysCrashlands is a simple but fun mash-up of brawlers and survival crafting games.The game's core controls and UI work great with a controller.Crashlands almost had a mini-game that let you catch pets, but it slowed down the pace of the game too much so it was changed to the current taming mechanic.
Brawler meets survival game, meets base building—that's the basic idea behind Crashlands. While it might sound like a weird mash-up of different game mechanics, it all works together to create a fluid and fun gameplay loop that's easy to get lost in for hours.
Quirky artwork and simple controls are at the core of Crashlands. Stranded on an alien planet following the destruction of their spaceship, Flux—the player character—and Juicebox must work to build a communication device to let the Bureau of Shipping know about their crash, so that they can complete their latest shipping contract.
From here, players must gather resources, build up their base, and unlock new weapons, all while beating their enemies to a pulp.
"The core loop of brawl-harvest-build was something we had squared away early on," Sam Coster, lead writer and artist on Crashlands told Ach5 via email.
"We really wanted to recreate the adventures we had as kids, going into the woods around our house and flipping over rocks, finding all kinds of weird creatures, plants, fungi, etc., and just being there in that zone of delightful discovery."
Crashlanding in Creativity
Unlike a lot of games that feature base building, Crashlands does away with the idea of managing your inventory, giving players bottomless pockets to hold all the junk they want to pick up.
Crafting also is extremely simple, only requiring you to gather the resources you need and then click the icon of the item you want to make. From there, it will automatically be equipped or added to your build menu.
This ease of access is one of the strongest aspects of the game. While Coster says this team drew inspiration from Klei's Don't Starve—another popular survival crafting game that features a similar art style—and its hardcore difficulty, the game never feels like too much to handle.
Resources are straightforward and any information you need to know is directly on the screen, making it easy to move through the various quests that you'll need to complete on your adventure to build a new communication device and finish delivering your packages.
The cast—which is made up of quite a few delightful characters—always is looking to have you complete some kind of quest, many of which range from beating something to death with one of your ridiculous weapons to gathering the resources that they need to do something.
Even the fetch quests, which usually are lamented in games due to their boring gameplay, feel fresh in Crashlands, and I can't remember a single one that felt like a waste of my time.
Speaking of inspiration, the game also draws from iconic titles like Diablo, Terraria, and Pokémon. In fact, Coster revealed in the email that the current taming system isn't how the team always planned to include pets in the game.
"We went through a ton of iterations for each part of the loop, even if it never really went away from that core idea," he told us via email. "I think my favorite scrapped mechanic was the mini-game that was used to catch pets—it lended some Pokémon vibes but slowed down the adventure pacing far too much."
Finding a New Home on Xbox
Moving a game—especially one designed with a mouse and keyboard in mind—can often be difficult. But Butterscotch Shenanigans already was prepared for the move, having invested 350 hours (they counted!) during Crashlands' first year to make controller support a proper addition to the game, Coster told us.
That investment shines clear in Crashlands' Xbox version. Movement is fluid and navigating the menus and various windows is never any trouble at all. Despite its roots on PC, it's a game that feels right at home on the Xbox.