We've played the PC version of a game full of quirky crafting shenanigans.

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Crashlands, created by Butterscotch Shenanigans, starts out on a ship. We play as Flux Dabes, a man tasked with delivering three parcels. After a bad guy called Hewgodooko rips out an important part of the ship, they crash-land on an alien planet. With the help of Juicebox, sidekick and floating palette, Flux must navigate the world. The end goal is it to send a message to the Bureau of Shipping so they can be collected and the parcels can be delivered, for Flux is many things, but first and foremost he is a professional.

To accomplish his task, he needs to harvest the local vegetation, craft tools and things that will make his stay a little safer. On top of that he also has to complete quests given to him by the creatures who call the planet home. There is also a chance to tame and breed creatures who join him on his travels and who can a huge asset in a fight.

The crafting element is easy to understand and it has a natural progression to it. The first thing that the player needs to make is a sawmill. With that you can make some floorboards, then the next step is to build walls to keep the dangerous creatures out. The more things you collect as you travel around the map, the more blueprints are unlocked. The next step is weapons and armour, both of these can be upgraded and enhanced by objects that the creatures you kill leave behind. For those that get side-tracked from the main storyline, there is also a handy journal and you can track the things that you need to build. You really need to follow these steps if you want to survive.

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The game is enjoyable, but it's also difficult. The number of times we managed to die in the first ten minutes is embarrassing. A majority of the things on the planet want to kill you and even the ones that want you to do favours for them don't seem to like you that much. To make matters worse each monster has its own fighting style, so you will not win by mindlessly spamming them with the attack button.

Crashlands is a game for the prepared, and for those willing to put the time in. You will need to watch and possibly die a few times to learn the attack patterns. All of the creatures the player encounters are hard to kill. The wompits resemble rhinos and they like to jump on poor Flux, who can only take a few hits before he dies and respawns back at his pod. The best approach to killing them is to try and lure one away from the group. This can be time consuming, but if you try a more head on approach you'll end up dying sooner rather than later. This is why it makes sense to create armour and develop more powerful weapons before you start taking on missions.

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In our run-through we were able to harvest a wompit egg by punching a wompit heffer. After creating an incubator and placing the egg on top of it, it eventually hatched. Bob the Terrible, our baby wompit, helped us against the beasts. There are other creatures and areas for the player to explore but the map is huge and it'll take a while to uncover a small portion of the place where you initially land.

Crafting is now becoming a regular feature in indie games. In some titles it's nothing but a cheap gimmick, but in Crashlands it's an enjoyable add-on. The way it is introduced in the game is fluid and makes sense within the context of the story. There is a nice retro feel to the graphics with each character instantly recognisable. The colours are bright and cheerful which will appeal to players who liked Don't Starve but who perhaps want something a little less gloomy. Crashlands, with its quirky tone and memorable characters, is a game that players can come back to again and again.

The story is enjoyable and we liked the witty banter between the lead and his sidekick. We're eager to get back and see more. The story plays a huge part in that, and the dialogue really sets it apart. There really shouldn't be any problems adapting to this point and click title for anyone who likes to play crafting games, either on mobile on PC (though perhaps it's slightly better suited to mobile).

Crashlands is a game that intrigues, frustrates and entertains, but it also made us want to get better which meant instead of rage quitting, we kept at it, and that's the hallmark of a good game.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+ Intriguing premise, Memorable characters, Bright and colourful world.
- At times frustrating and time consuming, too challenging.
overall score
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REVIEW. Written by Samantha Allard

"With its quirky tone and memorable characters, it's a game that players can come back to again and again."

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