When I found out there were free games available on XBLA and they were produced by Doritos, I was a little weary. Could you blame me? Free games don’t often appear on the service, and when they do they’re usually not very good. It’s hard to complain with free, but just because I didn’t pay for the game doesn’t mean I expect a little quality from it. To be absolutely blunt, I was pleasantly surprised when I booted up Crash Course 2.
Before even downloading the game, I had a rough idea of what I was in for from the description and screenshots. To describe the game in one sentence, it’s like they took MXC or Wipeout and made an arcade game out of them. I’m a big fan of both of those game shows. It’s very entertaining to watch the contestants go through all that punishment, but seeing somebody dominate the course is even more exhilarating; and that’s exactly how I felt while playing Crash Course.
The game uses your XBox Live Avatar for your character which definitely helps the game’s atmosphere out. The controls are very simple and work splendidly. You press Left or Right Trigger to run, A to jump, and the left stick to move; that’s the basics. You can also press in the left stick to crouch (or slide down a ramp faster) or the Right Bumper to “Chicken out” and skip a tough area (though this gives you no medals and doesn’t unlock the next level when you beat it). This small addition keeps the game from getting frustrating for more casual (or younger) players and while I never used it, is a welcome addition to be sure.
There are three different countries available in the game with five levels in each one. To unlock a level all you have to do is beat the one before it. The game does a good job of introducing new elements as you go along without overloading you, and while you’ll probably be running through the first set with no problems, by the time you get to the last group you’ll be relying on all your skills and reaction speed to keep up.
There are certainly some parts of the game that can be very frustrating to get past, but this is always the fault of the player and I never found myself calling out a cheap hit or blaming the game for missing that rope or letting that hammer hit me. Even when you’re missing that jump by a few feet or not hitting that trampoline quite right, the game is fun the entire time.
Crash Course offers leaderboards that are quick to remind you that your run wasn’t quite as good as your friends, or to point out just how much better your score is than theirs. This is pretty straight forward and quite common these days, but I feel the need to point it out. Just like old school Shmups, proper leader board implementation can kill a game like this or give it a much longer life, and this game does a damn fine job of it.
If you’re bored of the single player, you can head online and play the game in co-op with a friend or search for a game to play with a stranger…in theory. At the time of this review I have yet to be able to actually enter a multi-player game, though whether this is because nobody’s playing or the matchmaking doesn’t work I have no idea.
Crash Course is a very simple game that knows precisely what it wants to be. It’s never too complicated and never too simple, and while most people will probably pick it up, run through it a few times and then put it away, I see this game sticking around and showing up at parties or that rainy night. Since it’s been released I find myself booting it up every once in awhile to try and shave some more points off my score, or grab those last few achievements; and I think that trend will continue for awhile.
I would like to see some more levels added to the game, and if possible some kind of level editor would be absolutely amazing; but as it is I very strongly suggest everybody give this game a whirl. It helps that it’s free, but this is one that if priced right I think would still sell very well.
Title: Dorito’s Crash Course 2
Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Developer: Wanako Games/Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: Available Now