Similar to the console gaming world, there’s a lull in game and app releases in January and February. But luckily for game-starved mobile players, Butter Scotch Shenanigans’ (yes, that is the studios’ real name) Crashlands has dropped and is definitely worth checking out (there’s also a heartwarming story behind the game’s inception).
Crashlands is built around crafting mechanics, following the adventures of space-tracker Flux Dabes and her sidekick/robot juicebox (again, you read that correctly). Juicebox and Flux Dabes find themselves stranded on a remote, untamed world when their delivery ship is destroyed by a floating insect head.
In case you didn’t already notice, Crashlands is full of tongue-in-cheek references to pop culture and other video games, and while every joke doesn’t hit its mark, many do. Crashlands, similar to Pocket Mortys, is one the few mobile titles, let alone video games, that has true comedic value.
The game takes place in a procedurally-generated open world, and features a variety of side missions, as well as plot-specific tasks that keep its narrative moving forward.
Crafting allows players to create tools and stations as they break down resources. Fighting is also tactical and requires more than just tapping on foes. Taking each creature down requires a unique attack combo and approach that the player needs to learn to be successful.
There’s a Pokemon-like creature-raising component where players incubate and hatch their own pet, which can then be turned into a death-dealing machine. The game also features a base-building mechanic that’s reminiscent of games like Fallout 4 and Minecraft. While I’m only a few hours into Crashlands, it’s one of the better mobile games I’ve played in the last few months, though, it does suffer from select issues.
It’s worth pointing out that Crashland’s unlimited inventory system feels overcomplicated at times, especially when it comes to crafting, though I did eventually gain a better handle of its mechanics. Crashlands’ Don’t Starve-inspired art style also won’t appeal to everyone (though it does give the game a unique look).
The mobile version of Crashlands is also more difficult to control than its PC counterpart, requiring subtle taps to move Flux Dabes in each direction, and screen presses to pick up objects. That said, saved files are transferable, which means the same saved file can be played across iOS, Android and PC. So if you start playing the game at home on your PC, that same saved file will be available to you on your mobile device.
Crashlands is the rare type of mobile game that feels like it doesn’t belong on the platform, but still finds a way to work within its constraints despite a few hiccups.
Crashlands is available on iOS for $6.99, Android for $7.29, and Steam for $16.99.