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Crashlands Is Diablo Plus Survival Plus Humour

Crashlands Is Diablo Plus Survival Plus Humour

Crashlands is a new Steam action role-playing game that has me hooked. That’s a problem, because I can play it pretty much anywhere.

Crashlands is an action-RPG (think Diablo, except cartoonier) with elements of crafting/base-building (think Don’t Starve, except less ruthless) and humour (think jokes). I think it’s best summed up by its main character’s idle animation. No, seriously:

That is what happens when you leave purple suited galaxy trucker Flux Dabes standing still for too long. She strikes a couple poses and then starts doing, um, that. Her running animation is equally silly, as is pretty much everything else about the game. Case in point: here is the game’s intro, in which our intrepid hero trucker is stranded on a planet from which she must escape, or else the entire galaxy her pension is dooooooomed:

Crashlands is pervasively silly, and I’ve been surprised to discover just how much that keeps the sandman away from my poor, helpless eyelids in this, a genre mash-up I kinda expected to snooze through. The humour really is a game-changer.

Wandering through the wilds is amusing because monsters are so strange and goofy. Quests often have me chasing after even goofier (and tougher) named creatures, then harvesting their oh-so-succulent skin flakes. It’s kinda like Monster Hunter in that respect. Crafting yields weapons and items with great names and descriptions — sometimes items that are straight up jokes. Observe:

Other fun things I’ve done in Crashlands:

  • I made a volleyball out of one-footed hippo monsters. It functions exactly as you’d expect a volleyball to function. I don’t think it really serves a purpose beyond that.

  • I swatted a one-footed hippo monster so hard that it laid an egg. Then I incubated and hatched said egg. My pet hippo monster’s name is Wompson Jr: The Kinslayer. So far, he’s mostly slaughtered other hippo monsters who look just like him, on account of being stolen shortly after he was conceived and brainwashed into being my son. It’s all good, though. I haven’t seen any mirrors on Crashlands‘ planet, so I doubt he’ll ever piece it all together.

  • I have begun every conversation with NPCs by smacking them. That is, if you were wondering, the only way to initiate conversation in Crashlands.

  • I didn’t hate the inventory system! It’s an ARPG miracle.

  • I helped two weird fly creatures get back together by carrying out a series of targeted assassinations for one and lying for another. It was, as you’d expect, a heartworm and a half. Er, heartwarm. Either/or.

  • Discovered that the game world is infinite. Infinite-ish.

Another cool thing: Crashlands has a mobile version, and you can transfer saves directly between the Steam and mobile versions with the push of a button. Frankly, I prefer playing on my PC (the interface feels better with more breathing room), but it’s been great taking the game on the road and into the bedroom (but not like that). Honestly, it’s a big part of the reason I can see myself playing this one for some time to come. Between the infinite-ish nature of its world and the surprisingly functional portability, it’s a great time-killer.

If you can’t tell, I’m pretty into this game. It is not, in any singular way, a revolution, but it’s like a really good grilled cheese sandwich — or if somebody ate a bunch of different grilled cheese sandwiches, and then they fused in his stomach, and then he gently regurgitated them into a perfectly distributed grilled cheese ball. That is to say: it’s an excellent blend of tried-and-true ingredients with just enough personality (digestive acids, in the previous metaphor) to make them feel novel. Give it a try.


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