The fine trio of brothers — whom together formed Butterscotch Shenanigans — have recently visited upon us all yet another of their highly demented visions, this time going by the title of Crashlands (out now, $4.99). The game provides mobile and PC users with an original top-down action-rpg/resource-crafting experience, that furthermore contains a whacky plot for players to slowly unravel (unlike — per se — either Minecraft or Terraria). This massive adventure — which covers three different procedurally generated biomes — is 100% functionally equivalent on either platform, and people may even freely jump back-and-forth all while still using the same save file (but more about this feature later on).
The entire adventure begins when Hewgodooko — one of the last remaining Veeru on planet Woanope — attacks a passing Shipping Ship from the Bureau of Shipping, saying that he really needs to borrow their Quantum Electrodongle for his newest experiment. As Juice Box — the electronic assistant/friend to the ship’s pilot — quickly points out, however, the Shipping Ship would probably explode if the craft’s Quantum Electrodongle were ever to be removed. Completely unfettered by the notion that an entire Shipping Ship might potentially be destroyed in the process, Hewgodooko — much to the pilot’s dismay — promptly proceeds to make off with the ship’s vital component.
After crashing down upon the planet’s largely uncharted surface, the ship’s captain — one Flux Dabes, a talented woman whom made Juice Box herself — is now faced with the greatest challenge of her life: ensuring their current package delivery still arrives on time! After all, it’s be a true shame if she inadvertently lost her pension — got fired — or (most heinous of all) somehow broke her perfect long-time track-record for always being the Bureau’s employee of the month! Seeing as how she and Juice Box managed to save their precious cargo, while racing to their ship’s escape pod, the only thing they’ll need to do now is build a rudimentary satellite dish with which they can signal their home office.
Nearby resources can be harvested by finding something and tapping on it, after which Flux will automatically whack away at the item — assuming she already has the right tool — until the materials have been collected. In this way Flux will slowly be able to gather the materials needed to craft rudimentary tools and work benches, which in turn may then be used to craft even more advanced tools and work benches (and so on, and so forth). However, Flux won’t be able to singlehandedly build for herself an entire satellite dish merely by smashing her way through every single stone and tree-stump she manages to find during her travels.
That’s because there’s a wide variety of bizarre — and often rather violent — creatures populating the many landscapes of Woanope, and they all generally don’t take very well to random strangers traipsing about in their official Shipping Bureau designed Infinisuits. For this reason Flux will need to use the materials she finds to craft a wide range of weapons and defensive gear, with the armor actually being placed over top of her Infinisuit (it was — after all — designed for keeping her alive, not intense bouts of combat). As an additional perk, successfully preparing herself for combat will greatly increase the range of useful — and sometimes conceptually macabre — crafting materials she can harvest (so rather than being self-defensive, Flux will often actively chase after critters).
To fight these roaming animals — either in the name of self defense, or because you desperately crave their hides — all you’ll need to do is tap on them once, after which Flux will charge after them, whacking endlessly away when she’s close enough to lash out! Now it probably goes without being said, but many of these creatures — such as the one-legged Rhinoceros-esque Wompits you meet early on — aren’t exactly going to make defeating them a simple task. Should you tap anywhere else when Flux is savagely hacking away at a foe, she’ll then immediately forget that animal entirely and promptly scurry off to that location (this — by the way — is also how you normally move her about).
Thankfully — due to the wondrous technology built into Flux’s Infinisuit — you’ll also have advanced HUDs showing you precisely where your opponents will be striking next, meaning all you’ll need to do is steer Flux clear of the red marked areas. Now before you protest how this clearly turns Crashlands into a simplified affair, I’m here to personally assure you all that successfully hitting-and-dodging at the same time is certainly not easy. Furthermore, players are able to select various difficulty-tiers when beginning a new adventure should they absolutely crave an expedition filled with the utmost of white-knuckled never-ending edge-of-your-seat life-and-death struggles at every last turn.
One curious thing Flux will discover as she crafts the weapons and armors that she uses to win these fights is how they’ll never quite come out exactly the same twice, a fact due in part to Woanope having strange never-ending energy fluctuations across its surface. This is because the planet’s core has curiously been laced with copious amounts of potent Juice, the very same energy that players were desperately striving to harvest from asteroid fields in Butterscotch Shenanigan’s Roid Rage. As a result each weapon crafted will — in a move similar to Quadropus Rampage (our review) — receive randomized perks upon being constructed, as well as a name befitting the properties of that incarnation.
As a result someone would clearly benefit far more greatly from gearing themselves up with the rarest of constructs, rather than merely arming themselves wholly in the utter chaff of possible results. To this end Flux may optionally deconstruct any piece of equipment she either no longer requires, or perhaps simply wasn’t properly armed with perks adequate to her desires. Performing a recycling act — however — will only restore some of the materials used in the original crafting process, meaning that it’ll be up to Flux to personally re-harvest the difference each time she plans to rebuild anything.
Now whereas Flux’s weapons and defensive armors will come out randomized each and every time she builds them, there also exists tools — as well as combat assistants — that aren’t subject to the random whims of Woanope’s fluctuating Juice-driven energy fields. At the bottom of your iDevice’s screen will appear four slots that may either be filled up with bombs, health potions, buffing stuff, or various other widgets that help Flux in a plethora of ways. The items in any of these four slots can then be used simply by tapping on that specific icon, after which the item — whether or not it’s consumable in nature — won’t be available again until after a short countdown process has first finished.
Thankfully, the power of all these gizmos and explosives — save for the 100% fixed payoff health potions — are all dynamically calculated based on Flux’s current gear stats. This means that even if Flux were to craft over a hundred bombs one day, she wouldn’t be forced to regret that decision if she still had over half of them left when the schematics for a new type of bomb were eventually discovered. In the world of Crashlands new types of widgets — except for the aforementioned weapons and armor — generally provide Flux with different types of results, rather than being superior upgrades to previous items.
Also growing in power alongside Flux are the various pets she can raise to serve as formidable battle allies, but only after she first acquires an egg for that species (all of which are semi-rare drops that are found by slaughtering veritable tons of that wild foe). Although their stats will increase as Flux herself becomes more powerful, they can additionally be embiggened — an obvious Simpsons reference — by giving them gifts of an appropriately flattering nature. Embiggening your creatures — which will dramatically spike their power upwards — usually requires you to collect a wide array of rare resources, most often found by tackling the hardiest and most fearsome members of that species.
However, no matter how good the Juice-driven craftsmanship behind the weapons and armor parts that Flux crafts — nor how much she painstakingly embiggens her loyal pets — these things alone will not be enough for her to eventually craft an entire satellite dish. After all, things like state-of-the-art satellite dishes tend to involve stuff like complex circuit boards — copious amounts of metal — and other such science things (none of which you’ll get from smacking the ever loving tar out of Woanope’s stable of flora and fauna). Instead — where these sorts of complex science-based resources are concerned — you’ll need to have Flux help out Woanope’s various residents by completing story-filled quests, getting yourself into some truly epic boss fights along the way.
While I don’t wish to spoil much — since many enjoy watching a game’s plot unfold — all of these boss fights will definitely live up to the bizarre standards set forth by earlier Butterscotch Shenanigans efforts, and you’ll even get to tackle the Baconweed Fairy! After completing one of these boss fights you’ll often earn access to various potent crafting blueprints, as well as a statue that allows you to permanently herald that time when you triumphed over that particular fiendish foe. As a result they make a great way to spruce up your personal base of operations, which I guess finally brings me around to discussing the house-building aspect of Crashlands’ crafting system.
Beyond just constructing the various tools — weapons — and crafting tables that I’ve already mentioned, players can additionally have Flux build a plethora of walls, floor types, and assorted furniture. Players may then freely place these permanently upon the world to construct their very own base of operations wherever they wish (although they’ll ideally want to place their center of operations next to a teleportation pod, if possible). Not only will walls keep nearby wildlife from paying Flux a visit while she’s busy, and floors keep enemies from ever spawning inside her base, these building materials additionally come in a variety of styles allowing you to achieve your ideal-looking base.
Now obviously — since Crashlands is played from a purely top down perspective, and furthermore never has players going up or down staircases — your ability to craft diverse bases here will certainly be a bit more limited than in games like Terraria or Minecraft.
Anyways — getting back to topic — it’s probably high time I finally got around to further explaining those teleportation devices I just mentioned, as they play a key role in how fast-travel and player-death both occur in Crashlands. Every time you come within eyesight of a teleportation pod during Flux’s journeys, it will become permanently added to her map of the world (which gets slowly filled in — and updated — as she traipses about). Not only may players freely warp to any one of these — assuming they’re not currently in combat, seeing as how they can’t open their Infinisuit’s map during battle — they may additionally touch any of these to mark that pod as their current respawn location.
Unlike many other resource crafting games, death is only a minor inconvenience to Flux since she’ll always respawn — without any plot progress being lost — each and every time she meets an untimely end (and this will definitely happen a lot on the harder settings). The only real downside is that a pile of Flux’s most recently gathered materials is dropped wherever she died, alongside a freshly constructed tombstone, yet these will thankfully be automatically scooped up whenever she finally gets back to that location. Furthermore, as an additional perk — if you should happen to be feeling particularly macabre — you can then use these gathered tombstones to construct your very own Graveyard of Shame next to your base of operations.
Now if you haven’t already played any other Butterscotch Shenanigans games recently, then this would probably make for a highly appropriate time to explain the company’s “Butterscotch ID” and “Butter Up” systems. When you first install Crashlands you’ll find a prompt on the lower-right to sign up for a Butterscotch ID, and it’s something you really should do as this allows you to back up your save online (among other things). Once you’ve done this — should you additionally purchase the PC version — you’ll furthermore be able to freely swap back and forth between the two devices whenever you see fit, although the save file update process can take a few minutes whenever switching.
What’s far more significant about the Butterscotch ID system is how it allows your copy of Crashlands to interact with other games by Butterscotch Shenanigans, which actually makes sense seeing as how they all exist within one shared universe. Completing specific tasks within Crashlands will unlock related-content in other games, and vice-versa (an entire Crashlands quest involving Tack from Quadropus Rampage exists, for instance). The catch is that in order to receive the material you earned from Crashlands — or to gain unlocked content in Crashlands from other games — they’ll also need to be added to your Butterscotch ID account, which is a bit more of an involved process for the other apps.
Now while there isn’t a single IAP to be found within Crashlands — since you get the entire package upfront after the singular asking price of $4.99, which I believe is fully worth it — things work a bit differently over in the rest of Butterscotch Shenanigans’ apps. Those games — as part of a recent development that didn’t exist back when we first covered Quadropus Rampage — are all offered for free up front, but exist purely in a limited content demo-format until a person Butters Up (which is a one-time IAP option). Once a person has Buttered Up they’ll never again have to spend a single additional cent on that game, and they may furthermore link that app to their Butterscotch ID account (allowing for shared save files across devices, as well as cross-game content unlocks).
If you’re still finding yourself on the fence as to whether or not Crashlands is worth your upfront investment of $4.99, my advice would be for you to go try some of the other games by Butterscotch Shenanigans. If you find yourself enjoying those games so much so that you’re willing to Butter Up, and I truly think you will, then I’m here to assure you that Crashlands is 100 times better at everything their other games have already nailed. Truly there’s no wonder as to why it took Butterscotch Shenanigans quite some time to finally release Crashlands, or at least there won’t be after you’ve seen the massive array of highly-polished content and butter-filled joy jam-packed into this amazing package!
Perhaps my only true complaint is that Crashlands doesn’t contain the hilariously titled “Gerrymandering Pistol-Whip of Iowa” from Quadropus Rampage (they really might want to consider adding a way to unlock this weapon via their Butterscotch ID system).
Crashlands — from Butterscotch Shenanigans — is a finely crafted top-down Action-RPG/resource-crafting game, which furthermore features cross-platform saves that let you play the same save-file on both your PC and mobile devices. The game contains endless hours of hilarious/demented story-driven content, that’s chock-filled with references sure to please fans of the developer’s other apps (Crashlands truly is the package the ties their shared-universe together in a solid way). Although the upfront price might be a bit steep, there’s virtually no chance that anyone whom ever enjoyed any of Butterscotch Shenanigans’ earlier apps — such as Quadropus Rampage — will be even the slightest bit let down by this amazing package!