It has been a long wait, but it’s finally arrived with a crash, bang, and a wallop…
Late last year I got hands-on with Burnout Crash on iPad at the EA winter showcase. It then disappeared and reemerged pretty much unchanged at GDC last month. Why the long wait I don’t know, it seemed pretty polished and ready to go last year.
The game has been available on Xbox Live Arcade for some time now. Interestingly, during a conversation last year with one of the key people involved in the game, I learned that Burnout Crash was actually intended for iPad all along, but for some unknown reason it was held back, and released on consoles first.
When you play it on console, and then on iPad, it becomes clear that its original target platform should be the iPad. In fact after playing this on iPad and going back to console it seemed an odd and un-natural fit on 360.
The game is based on one of the modes from the original Burnout series. Burnout Crash takes it and turns it into a fully fledged game of its own. What we are left with is something pretty unrecognisable as a Burnout game, and instead becomes a beast of its own… and a damn fun one at that!
Those of you who remember the original Crash mode (which I believe made its debut in Burnout 2 on PS2/Gamecube/Xbox in 2002), it saw you take your car on the road in the usual 1st or 3rd person viewpoint, and cause as big a pile up as possible. If you scored enough points from your wreck, you earned an aftertouch bonus. This essentially let you move your car further – even after the point of impact – and cause even more damage. It was completely unrealistic of course, but easily the best part of Burnout 2.
Burnout Crash on iPad, takes the same premise, but expands on it further (and a lot further into the realms of the implausible). Aftertouch, for example, is no longer a bonus to be used sparingly. Instead, it is quite literally at your finger tips for the entirety of a level.
Each level places your car at the outskirts of a junction of some sort – be it roundabout, intersection or crossroads (they get more complex the further you get). From here you must direct the car into oncoming traffic, choosing the best target so that you’ll cause the best pile up you can. Your carnage doesn’t stop there though, swiping at the car with your finger will continue to move your car – albeit slowly – in that direction. This allows you take out yet more oncoming traffic.
Better still, hit enough cars and you’ll earn a crash-breaker bonus. This turns your car into a bomb which, when detonated, turns your car, and any other cars, into flaming wrecks. The chain reaction of burning cars flying into other cars and setting them on fire is the icing on the cake.
This of course is the whole point, and is the main objective of the game, to earn as many points as possible. However, it’s not just cars you can destroy. Pretty much the whole environment can be taken down, including gas stations, motels, farms, warehouses and car showrooms. Tying these all together into a symphony of destruction can be a sight to behold.
There are three varieties of game type in which to partake in wanton destruction: Rush hour, which gives you 90 seconds to cause the biggest crash possible; Pile Up, where you must crash all the traffic on screen, and burn it all for maximum points; and Road Block, in which you must attempt to stop traffic from escaping. Of the three, Road block is the toughest, which is primarily down to the difficult task of trying to be strategic amongst what is essentially random chaos.
To make your life easier the game is generous with power-ups. There are various ways to earn these, one of which is to catch and crash a pizza delivery truck. This then gives you a spin of a wheel of fortune style pizza. On spinning said wheel you have the opportunity to earn power-ups such as: Bank truck, crashing this earns more points; Good Cops, useful for helping your with roadblocks; Point multipliers; Magnet power, sucking all the cars to you; and a Redo, allowing you to drive into the level again and crash elsewhere.
Bigger, and far more destructive, power-ups can be earned with higher points too. Accumulate the right amount and you’ll unlock Tidal Waves, Tornado’s and even flying saucers, which sweep in and take out everything in their path.
Each stage features various objectives to pass – five in all – complete these and you’ll earn stars, which in turn unlock new stages, and more importantly new vehicles. Each new vehicle exhibits different abilities. Some, for example, are stronger and will smash through traffic and objects with ease. While others are lighter, but can travel further with each aftertouch.
Visually, Burnout Crash looks completely different to the original Burnout series. Presented in a top down fashion akin to the GTA: China Town Wars, the game has a more playful and cartoon-like vibe. This of course makes a lot of sense considering the game itself doesn’t (make sense). With this simpler approach to the cars and the environments, it has allowed EA to go crazy on the effects, such as the crashes, explosions and the super power-ups.
The music compliments the silliness of it all, particularly when you here Gloria Estefan’s ‘Dr Beat’ when an ambulance enters the stage, or Spandau Ballet’s GOLD when you take out a prize-gold sports car.
Many Burnout purists will no doubt brush off this game as a silly spin-off mini-game, gone mad. But when played I think you’ll find it hard to put down – as it is extremely fun and addicting. Sure, there is a sense of random luck to the whole thing, and at times you look like a crazy person flicking at your iPad. But, in a way, that is its charm.
It’s best then not to compare the two games, and instead take Burnout Crash on it’s own merits… Which is a no-holds-barred slice of gaming chaos.
Burnout CRASH! is out now for $4.99 and available as a universal app. Get it on the