Forget about Kinect. Criterion's destructive spin-off shines brightest on mobile.
Upon seeing Burnout Crash! in 2011, we immediately thought the game belonged on iPhone and iPad instead of consoles, where both devices' touch screens would work much better than Xbox 360's Kinect sensor. Electronic Arts agreed, and chose to bring this explosive arcade quality experience to the App Store, giving us a chance to cause wanton destruction on the go.
That said, if you know of the Burnout franchise but missed out on Crash!, this title may come as a shock. Instead of creating a more traditional racing experience akin to Burnout Paradise (a personal favorite), developer Criterion Games took the project in a somewhat different and unexpected direction. Rather than speed through tracks at well over 100 miles-per-hour, players view the action from a top down perspective, and must steer a vehicle into traffic in the hopes of racking up millions in damages. To that end, there's no racing whatsoever. You plow into other drivers, then frantically swipe the screen to guide the truck or car into harm's way, which is a huge departure from the old adrenaline-fueled play sessions we're used to.
At the same time, this is still a Burnout game, where the basic goals of achieving the highest totals and making things explode are alive and well. Criterion just added crazy things like tornados and UFOs, as well as a game show wheel called Pizza of Fortune, where spinning the sucker grants access to a plethora of useful power-ups. Meanwhile, slot machine noises and even brief song clips play in the background, depending on one's progress. It's so immersive (particularly with headphones), that before long, you'll think you're in Dave & Buster's.
Quite frankly, we like it. Some modes are better than others. We much prefer Rush Hour (90 seconds to do our worst), than Road Block, where the object is to prevent traffic from disappearing off screen. Meanwhile, Pile Up is essentially Rush Hour, but with the goal of grouping objects to essentially burn them and score more points. Ultimately, like us, you'll have your favorites, and the 54 events will keep you busy for quite some time.
This is especially true when it comes to competing with friends. EA and Criterion were wise to include the well-received Autolog from games past, giving players the opportunity to keep track of other people's scores and challenge them outright to ascend the leaderboard. It worked remarkably well in the Need for Speed series, and it's a welcome addition here as well.
With this in mind, if you're in the mood for a little highway mayhem, Burnout Crash! definitely satisfies. The wealth of events, vehicle types and the aforementioned Autolog make it an App Store favorite. You know, where it always belonged.
Review code provided by Electronic Arts.
What's Hot: Excellent console port, 54 events, 18 traffic junctions, Pizza of Fortune, arcade-style sound effects, Autolog.
What's Not: Not a huge fan of Road Block.