Put on your helmet and buckle those seatbelts – we’re going for a wild ride in Crashy Laps, the topsy-turvy top-down racer from indie developers JanduSoft and CheapeeSoft Games. These scrappy creators aimed to revive the chaos and fun of old-school arcade racers like Super Off Road. Their creation nails the sensory overload, maybe a bit too well.
In Crashy Laps, up to 4 players choose tweaked-out buggies to careen around outrageously perilous tracks from a bird’s-eye view. Trails twist and turn through candy forests or around frosty peaks, packing in tricky jumps and stomach-dropping slopes. Each race is a mad two-minute dash to be the first to pass the checkered flag after 4 laps without spinning into barriers or opponents. It definitely captures that intensity – but also the total lack of control – that many will remember from quarter-munchers of the past.
So does Crashy Laps succeed in bringing back this brand of frenzied fun? Or does it just leave you feeling frustrated? Well, it’s a bumpy ride either way. The developers jam-packed plenty of content and customization into an impressively nostalgic package. But fidgety handling, unforgiving tracks, and some odd design choices may repeatedly send your race straight into the wall. We’ll take a closer look under the hood to see if this racer truly crosses the finish line.
A Visual and Auditory Assault…For Better or Worse
One look at Crashy Laps in motion instantly rockets you into the kitschy past. The visuals embrace a beloved pixelated and polygonal style, magnified to fit modern displays. Each car and environment brims with bright neons and bold primaries straight out of the 90s creative playbook. You might feel pangs of nostalgia or stifle a laugh – but it does suit the wacky premise.
Technical prowess clearly wasn’t the priority here though. Jagged edges abound along with occasional slowdown when the action gets hectic. The mix of 3D cars on 2D backdrops also makes gauging jumps and impacts tricky. Still, watching these boxy racers bounce wildly around at breakneck speeds carries some goofy appeal.
Speaking of watching, you can toggle between two camera angles mid-race. The default zoomed-out isometric view reveals the entire insane track. Yet switching to an overhead follow cam allows closer inspection of your precariously designed hot rod. Either way, don’t expect lavish details – these are blocky models with simplistic animations.
Environments truly lean into absurdity with improbable themes like snow-coated confectionary forests or circuitous desertscapes. Their sheer variety and colorful palettes help races feel diverse. However, questionable depth and scale perceptions mean you’ll regularly misjudge gaps or fail to spot sudden death drops. It turns learning layouts into frustrating guesswork – but also ups the chaos.
On the effects side, billowing smoke, sparks, and explosions accompany inevitable high-speed crack-ups. It’s nothing cutting-edge, although flaming collisions briefly grant dingy tracks some welcomed luminosity. Digitized engine sounds, pedestrian collisions, and screeching wipeouts complete the experience.
Then there’s Wipeout-esque background beats to race alongside. Their sterile electronica drones on endlessly, clashing with the visual tone. Lower fidelity does mirror arcade ambience – but extended play sessions may urge players to mute. At least the menu tunes were swapped out during loading breaks …a minor mercy.
So if you dig the dated pixel-pushing spectacle Crashy Laps peddles, buckle up for some sensory battering. Casual competition fueled by friends, snacks, and laughs could smooth its rough edges. But for solitary drivers seeking a polished ride, stylistic substance alone probably won’t satisfy.
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White-Knuckled Racing That’s Not for the Faint of Heart
Under Crashy Laps’ charmingly retro hood lurks an unrelenting test of reaction times and cool nerves. Its core gameplay loops are simplistic in concept – race flat out against AI drivers for four laps around semi-sadistic tracks. First to the checkered flag wins. Rinse and repeat across various modes that switch up rules or locations. Yet attempting to master courses that seem actively against you quickly ratchets up the difficulty.
Upon starting out, drivers can toggle between chase cam or omniscient aerial views before burning rubber. Optionally accessible driving assists like traction control or braking guides offer minor relief too. But despite a gentle opening hill climb, the ride soon turns treacherous. As you unlock new tracks, exploitation of wonky physics replaces any semblance of proper racing lines.
See, each vehicle handles like an unruly shopping cart on a slippery slope. Constant oversteer, clumsy traction, and delayed input response means white-knuckling a buggy without skidding wildly requests split-second corrections. Trying to navigate cough drop gradients or Cheeto dusted tunnels at speed feels like madness. Suddenly small bumps spit cars into unrecoverable tailspins as if driving on ice.
And the AI opponents never help in taming these bucking broncos. While generally slower in straightaways, their inhuman driving enables casually gliding through sections you’d struggle with. Don’t expect edged passes around corners or strategic team-ups either. Just frequent bumper car collisions sending you into barriers as they stubbornly stomp the accelerator.
Unfortunately for solo racers, the solo Championship and its branching trophies form Crashy Lap’s meatiest game mode. Difficulty peaks sharply by the fourth and final Grand Prix cup too. You’ll need precise control and serious commitment to set track record times without crashing constantly. Even veterans may find the strict gold/silver/bronze targets frustratingly demanding after extended play.
At least slapping together couch multiplayer let loose some of this tension through group suffering. Finding collective humor in the chaos alleviated individual frustration as we traded last place leads. Limited options beyond changing locations/camera views keep local play no frills however. And good luck even finding online races – essentially a barren wasteland at launch.
Throughout all events, strange design choices and lacking polish continuously threaten engagement. Tracks lack continuity between laps, stranding respawned cars inexplicably. Buggy opponents get trapped in scenery or disappear entirely too. Then one time, every vehicle model simply turned bright pink as I helplessly watched an AI claim victory. Whether these technical issues stem from rushed delivery or mere lack of testing is anyone’s guess.
If you crave no-holds-barred arcade racing insanity alongside friends, Crashy Laps should provide some outrageousness. Solo players seeking rewarding challenges beyond difficulty for difficulty’s sake though may want to cautiously brake for now. This rollercoaster hardly ever stops for breathers.
Multiplayer Mayhem if You Can Find Friends
Like most retro arcade throwbacks, Crashy Laps sets its sights squarely on couch competition. After all, what better way to enjoy some wacky racing than smack talking others in person? Thankfully then, the game fully supports up to 4 player local split-screen so friends can trade paint across all modes and maps. It liberally doles out equal power-up and speed boost chances too, promising randomness and laughs. But limited options beyond picking new skins or camera views leave local play feeling quite one-note. Plus, getting stable online multiplayer running proves nearly impossible.
On the brighter side, having live bodies to joke about the absurd unrelenting difficulty eases frustration substantially. Sitting down for Crashy Laps quickly becomes an endurance exercise in finding optimism amidst the chaos. Laughing at opponents’ crashes or your own ability to choke a huge lead offers some communal fun if you’re all patient pals. Switching up group race formats like elimination last place or team battles further alleviates potential monotony over longer gatherings too.
Just don’t expect deep strategy or serious competition here – it ultimately relies on randomness, not skill. The ease of accidentally bumping others combined with constantly hitting walls yourself means positions shuffle wildly each lap. Single mistake or spin outs ruin any attempt at gaining consistency. Unless you miraculously memorize a perfect run, half the time you’ll find yourself recovering from disaster while an AI zooms by.
And good luck going toe to toe with online rivals to compare best times or climb leaderboards. Limited matchmaking options make getting into races unlikely outside arranging private lobbies with friends. When connections do happen, lag and sync issues torpedo fun as cars warp around or crash inexplicably. Like many aspects of Crashy Laps, while netcode foundations seem in place, polish and functionality feel lacking.
Couch play offers some breezy enjoyment then for less serious groups, but hoping for extensive multiplayer excitement will leave you careening off course. Unless patches get released, taking this ride solo offers the only reliable way to regularly reach the podium through its messy campaign.
Final Lap: Fighting Past Frustrations to the Finish
After overcoming neck-snapping turns, unpredictable physics, and infuriating wrecks during our time with Crashy Laps, it becomes clear the game tries staying true to its chaotic retro inspirations – for better and worse. Successfully channeling the sensory assault of past favorites does recapture some old-school arcade magic. But significant design and technical frustrations keep it from crossing the finish line in first place.
On the upswing, Crashy Laps absolutely nails the vibrantly dated visuals and high-intensity style stalwart genre fans may crave. Its sheer variety of outrageously perilous tracks set in odd themes also pushes players to constantly reorient. Initially, it feels pleasantly familiar, yet uniquely amped up. And since precise driving skill matters little, there’s room for casual fun – at least with others.
Yet for solitary drivers, sadistic difficulty scaling and repetitive tech issues drain enjoyment rapidly. Lack of sufficient tutorials or driving assist options also makes progression feel like bumbling guesswork for newcomers. Limited competitive online and threadbare multiplayer customization seal its fate primarily as a brief, basic local party offering – if you supply the patience.
Comparisons inevitably land on earlier racers like Re-Volt or Micro Machines, which balanced chaos better with more refinement and content. Unless you have an itch only Crashy Laps’ specific brand of pandemonium can scratch, more polished modern efforts like Horizon Chase Turbo serve up smoother throwback thrills.
In the end, can novelty and niche appeal overcome obvious limitations for nostalgic gearheads? Perhaps for a reduced sale price given its Early Access state. Yet barebones modes and swift frustration build-up should curb enthusiasm outside diehard arcade enthusiasts. For those unshakable, nostalgic few, slam the accelerator and enjoy the wreckage. All others proceed with caution on this bumpy backroad.
Crashy Laps Review
Crashy Laps offers a nostalgic arcade racing experience that shines in its vibrant, retro aesthetic and high-intensity, chaotic gameplay. However, its appeal is somewhat marred by technical issues, challenging handling mechanics, and a lack of depth in multiplayer options. The game thrives in a local couch-play setting with friends, capturing a sense of whimsical, frenetic fun reminiscent of old-school racers. For solo players or those seeking a polished, competitive experience, the game's steep difficulty curve and technical shortcomings might prove frustrating.
- Retro Style with a classic arcade look
- Fun Multiplayer for local group sessions
- Varied Tracks offering diverse environments
- Exciting Gameplay that's fast-paced and intense
- Nostalgic Appeal for fans of old-school racers
- Technical Glitches affecting graphics and performance
- Difficult Controls leading to potential frustration
- Limited Online Play with underdeveloped multiplayer features
- Repetitive Solo Play, less engaging for single players
- Steep Learning Curve, challenging for new players