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DS  header logo

Crash Boom Bang!

For: DS   Also on: Mobile

Shooting mini-game blanks

Product: Crash Boom Bang! | Developer: Dimps | Publisher: Sierra Entertainment | Format: DS | Genre: Action, Party/ mini- games | Players: 1-4 | Networking: on one device | Version: Europe
 
Crash Boom Bang! DS, thumbnail 1
Many's the time in my younger years I'd turn my ears towards the breakfast bowl and try to catch that famous catchphrase, 'Snap!, Crackle! and Pop!' (or 'Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!' as our German friends would say).

Did my Rice Krispies ever reciprocate such interest in their marketing message? Did they heck.

There's a similar dynamic at work with the title Crash Boom Bang! It sounds appealing enough. It screams 'action, action, action,' even once you've worked out the opening third of the title refers to gaming's most unlikely hero, the small Tasmanian mammal who has sold over 33 million games. But it delivers something of a post-carb binge snoozefest.

It's still difficult to see how Crash Bandicoot got to be so popular. And to be honest, this, his second outing on the DS, won't shed much light on the situation. For this is a distinctly average game.

You can imagine the makers, noted Japanese company Dimps, considering what to do with the little fella. "Mini-games," says one designer. Everyone sagely nods. Pencils are waved in the air and a consensus is reached. A non-descript backstory is invented – something about a quest to find some hidden stone tablets that will lead dodgy-looking bad guy, Viscount Devil, to the Super Big Power Stone. Mini-games are piled haplessly on top.

The action itself is split across six maps, with up to four characters making their way around a simple board. There's a single player mode, where computer-controlled characters fill up the remaining three slots, or you can go multiplayer and swap in some friends, which, in the way of all party games, is to be highly recommended.

The game starts as you roll the dice by either tapping the touchscreen or hitting the 'X' button at the appropriate prompt. As most of the maps have multiple paths through them, you generally also get the choice to move left or right around them, picking up different items, in-game currency (wumpa fruit), or forfeits depending on where you land.

As part of such activity, you or another member of the group will trigger one of the 40 mini-games, which make up the bulk of Crash Boom Bang!

Sometimes these see all the players going head-to-head in one of the touch-heavy games. These include trying to pot an 8-ball by colliding into it with the sphere you're trapped inside, tapping a horse in rhythm to win a race, blowing into the microphone to keep a feather aloft, or catching dropping wumpa fruit and avoiding the falling explosive boxes.

There's a basic problem with these mini-games though: most don't reward your skill. Instead they tend to be capricious, especially when you're trying to beat the three artificial intelligence players who can simply crowd you out of where you want to be. Or, alternatively, you'll find the other characters extremely weak opposition in games such as tossing the wumpa fruit into the basket or spotting the difference between two pictures. You'll win by a mile.

Neither state of affairs makes for enjoyable play, especially when you have to play the mini-games several times during a complete cycle of Crash Boom Bang!.

Other mini-games are two-player-only outings; if you're not playing, you get to bet on the outcome, wagering your wumpa fruit stash. You can also increase the probabilities in your favour by using items such as the power crystal to buff the player you betted on. Other ways Dimps has tried to add extra layers into the game include creating motion panels, which are in-game stickers you can use to distract other players during the mini-games – sending them covers up a portion of the screen for a second or so.

Last and pretty much least, several of the items you collect can be deployed as you move around the map. The binoculars, for instance, enable you to see where the key items are, while other items hinder the opposition by limiting their movement. The options aren't very imaginative, however – 'big shoes move one space only' is one example.

And so the game continues until all the key items on each map have been discovered. Unfortunately, this process can take a while, with some of the final maps taking over an hour of random wandering. At the end of each map, each characters' wumpa fruit total is totted up – you get fruit for winning mini-games, finding key items and betting – and then it's onto the next map.

And that's pretty much your lot. You goal is to finish the six maps with the most fruit, but there's little entertainment or reward to be had for all your hard graft. You can play the individual mini-games outside of the main adventure mode and trade items with your friends using the adhoc wi-fi connection should you desire, but the general lack of passion throughout Crash Boom Bang! makes it hard to imagine who'd be interested.

At least Rice Krispies contains added vitamins and minerals.
 
Crash Boom Bang!
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 7 November 2006
Crash Boom Bang! is a distinctly average and oddly passionless collection of touchscreen mini-games
 
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