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Review: Basement Crawl

Posted by on February 26th, 2014 | 2 Comments | Tags:

The first image we ever received for Basement Crawl was some concept art for the game’s playable clown character. It’s an incredibly unsettling image and as someone who can’t get enough horror-themed entertainment, it had me curious. Soon enough we got another piece of artwork detailing a blind-folded girl carrying a blade-wielding teddy bear on her shoulders. Without any sort of information on what the game actually was Bloober Team was able to capture my attention and at the very least keep me hopeful of what was to come. The reality that Basement Crawl is a simple Bomberman clone isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’ve had my share of fun with Bomberman in the past, but rather the fact that the game is terribly broken destroys any chance I’d ever recommend this to anyone.

Basement Crawl is a multiplayer only game supporting four local players and up to eight players online. If you’ve played Bomberman before then you should have a pretty good idea of how things play out here. You lay down “traps” that explode in four directions destroying boxes and killing opponents. In Basement Crawl you can grab upgrades that will increase the distance of each trap, your stamina, and health. There are also special traps that are more effective depending on the situation (Double damage, extended range, hidden trap, etc). Each of the four characters (clown, crash test dummy, girl with teddy bear, masked women) have a specific stat that is raised at the beginning of each match. The teddy bear character has its stamina increased while the crash test dummy has better range. With that one exception they all play the same and are able to kick/throw traps across the map towards other players.

When Basement Crawl works as intended you get an eight player match in which traps are constantly exploding, the screen shakes violently, and the action becomes really difficult to follow. In a weird way that I don’t understand fully the chaotic and confusing nature of those matches were kind of fun. It’s not great but when things work there’s at least the glimmer of potential. Unfortunately finding matches where the game worked properly was quite rare as I consistently ran into a number of bugs. For example:

  • Sometimes none of the players would spawn in a match. The timer would run all the way down and a random person/team would get a win and experience towards the next rank.
  • Winning a match earns you experience towards the next rank. Ranking up doesn’t unlock anything new but sometimes, even after winning, I wouldn’t earn any experience for no apparent reason.
  • Nearly all the matches I played had at least one or two characters that didn’t move. They were free to kill which meant most people used them to drive up their score. Sometimes these same dummy characters also ended up with kills at the end of a match.
  • There were a couple times where I found characters to be invincible to my traps or better yet I wouldn’t get points for my kill.
  • Every few games I tried to join would simply not load and the leaderboard doesn’t actually load until I try to sort into specific game modes.
  • In some matches my character and all other players would be completely incapable of laying down any traps.

In the interest of full transparency I played a LOT of Basement Crawl last night. My rank is seven and I’ve played close to fifty matches. I’ve played across the four variations of all three maps and used all four characters. The bug list above is representative of what I experienced the majority of my time with the game. In most cases I ran into at least one of those bugs in each match. The bugs are listed by which I saw most often. The video you’ll see embedded below is one of few times I was able to get multiple matches going that worked fine back-to-back. However in the state that it is currently in I can’t recommend this game to anyone.

With no sort of single player mode (though the developer said they’d add one if there’s interest for it), a small number of people online, and that list of bugs I can’t see Basement Crawl having a long life online. Even when it works, despite a small glimmer of potential, Basement Crawl is still just Bomberman with a new coat of paint.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.

General Info

  • At the moment Basement Crawl has a ton of issues. See the list in my review...

  • BlooberTeam

    Hey Guys,
    First off, thanks for taking the time to write about our game. We are aware of the bugs and are working to fix them right now.
    We didn’t anticipate these bugs being there at all since the game went through our QA and Sony’s, but still, updates are coming, and soon.

    • PSPenguin

      The invincible bug was in global multiplayer. I spawned in a match with those two characters on top of each other just like that. That specific bug I only ever ran into once. The others I ran into multiple times. So the invincible thing seemed pretty rare.

      I look forward to checking it out once a patch hits. Like I said when things were working correctly the game was pretty cool.

      (Also for clarification. The trophy for playing with a local person in multiplayer. Does that mean playing a local match or playing with one other person locally while being in an online game? I’m assuming the latter since the trophy didn’t unlock when I played locally.)