Game Review: Crash Team Rumble packs in the nostalgia, but lacks variety

Crash Team Rumble was released this year to much fanfare and anticipation, particularly from old-school gamers who grew up with classic Crash Bandicoot games. While Crash is best known for his solo platforming prowess, this new entry into the franchise spins off into the realm of competitive team multiplayer and is one of the more unique offerings we’ve seen.

It packs the zany excitement that we know and love from the iconic Bandicoot, however, a lack of play options and the usual gripes of forced online multiplayer games made this bite of Wumpa Fruit not quite as sweet as we hoped.

Get Ready to Rumble

Players can jump right into this 4v4 action game which has a simple premise – the team that captures the most Wumpa Fruit for their Wumpa bank is the winner. You’re able to achieve this through whatever means possible whether that’s through the speedy collection, foiling your opponent’s strategies or leveraging any number of the map’s unique stations that can aid or deter a character in their goal.

Characters are divided into three roles: Scorer, Blocker or Booster, which are all fairly self-explanatory. Scorers are agile and quick, allowing them to quickly traverse terrain, grab the coveted Wumpa Fruit and swiftly return back to the bank. Blockers are your tanks and foils, they can handle more hits than other character types and disrupt opponents on their way to depositing their fruit. Boosters take advantage of Boost platforms, Relics and any other power-ups available on the map which can tip the scales in your team’s favour.

An example of this is the Bandicootapult in Tiki Towers, which can launch you across a map provided you accumulate the require 2 Relics to jumpstart this station. For those who miss old-school Crash Bash, you’d be happy to know that a lot of the actual character mechanics remain the same. You’re able to continue to jump on enemies, break boxes and collect items with all of the endorphin-inducing bells and jingles we remember from previous Crash titles.

While the many variables at play can keep players entertained for longer, it would be nice if there were a variety of different game modes as each level can start to feel a little repetitive. At the time of playing and reviewing Crash Team Rumble, there are only Learn To Play, Practice Match and Competitive which is the online multiplayer component. Some initial expectations of a Crash Bash 2.0 (which is more Mario Party-like with a range of mini-games) were very quickly dashed, but this is more of a personal hope than anything the marketing had actually promised.

Characters You Know And Love

The gang’s all here! From Tawna to Catbat, Neo Cortex to Ripper Roo, a tonne of characters from Crash games of the past will be available for you to play – so long as you satisfy their unlock conditions. When you start, you’re only provided with Crash, Coco and Dingodile (each representing one of the aforementioned character types) while the rest must be unlocked through gameplay. There are currently eight available in this first season with potential for more on the horizon. Later unlockable characters like Dr. Neo Cortex, Dr. Nitro and Twana Bandicoot add their own flair to the overall gameplay, which certainly helps with variety, but feels bound to its longevity for the ultimate success.

Where the game does also fall a bit short is the lack of any Story Mode or noteworthy cutscenes to add some context as to why you’re even in this Wumpa Fruit frenzy at all. As a result, Crash Team Rumble really does feel like it is only for existing fans of the franchise who have already come to know these characters and are excited for their return. Folks who are new to the scene won’t necessarily have that sense of nostalgia and thus may have a tougher time connecting with this cast, which is a shame – Crash’s friends and foes are all such a likeable bunch after all.

The Multiplayer Conundrum

If it hasn’t been clear yet, Crash Team Rumble is certainly a game best enjoyed with friends, or at the very least within a server that has players. No matter what time of day or how often I logged in, I was never able to find anyone to play multiplayer with me. As I live in Japan, I simply found that the game’s servers were not populated enough for me to nail down matches consistently, which felt rather detrimental to progression.

Final Thoughts

Crash Team Rumble might suffer in terms of general gameplay variety, but it’s definitely worth checking out with friends for the short bursts of fun you’ll take from it. That being said, its heavily reliant online progression system sees this as either living or dying by the number of people that choose to stick with it.


Highlights: Jumping back into the world of Crash Bandicoot is always a treat
Lowlights: Gameplay variety suffers at times; Relies heavily on online multiplayer functionality to unlock full game features
Developer: Toys for Bob
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: PlayStation4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Available: Now

Review conducted on PlayStation 5 with a pre-release code provided by the publisher.