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Basement Crawl Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Simply put, Basement Crawl is Bomberman with a horror theme. While that may be an intriguing concept, this knock-offs proves to be one of the worst games on any system. It's littered with bugs, is lacking content, has a limited amount of characters and, worst of all, doesn't even get Bomberman's fundamentals right. Basement Crawl is to be avoided. Rating: 1%
Basement Crawl
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  • Review Score:

  • F
While game critics would prefer fresh and original ideas every time, there's nothing inherently wrong with stealing somebody else's concept and adding your own unique spin. Between paying homage and straight up copying, a lot of great titles have come from adding new mechanics to already existing games. But all this can backfire if you make a bad game. Sadly, Basement Crawl is as bad as I've seen in a long time.

Put politely, Basement Crawl is a blatant rip-off of Bomberman. This is far from a bad thing, as many of my favorite multiplayer experiences have come from different Bomberman installments. But as bad as some Bomberman games have been (I'm looking at you Bomberman: Act Zero), none are as incompetent as this game. It brings me no pleasure when I tell you that Basement Crawl is the first truly awful game of the next generation.

Basement Crawl (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

This PlayStation 4 game attempts to mix the simple gameplay of Bomberman with a modern day horror film. The intro sets up a gruesome scenario involving a kidnapped woman, a key and a bunch of monstrous characters itching to fight. But don't think you're going to get any answers, because this is a Bomberman clone with no other story elements. It's just you blowing up the competition for points and bragging rights.

Although it's an eight-player game, there are only four characters in Basement Crawl. You have a choice between a crash test dummy rolling around in a wheelchair, an overweight woman in full BDSM gear, a little person dressed as a clown and a blindfolded girl carrying a knife-wielding bear. There is no rhyme or reason for any of these characters to exist, yet they do and they are appropriately creepy. Lame, but certainly creepy.

If you've played Bomberman, then you will know just what to expect from Basement Crawl. The levels are laid out in a familiar grid and players will set down bombs ... er, traps, hoping to blow-up the competition. There are boxes and other obstacles to destroy, which leads to a number of power-ups that were ripped straight out of Bomberman. Outside of the spooky settings, Basement Crawl's only original contribution is a character-specific special attack.

Basement Crawl (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It's worth pointing out that this is a multiplayer-only game. There are no single-player missions, computer-controlled opponents or tutorial stages to warm up with. You either play against other real people or you play a different game. This can make learning the game a little tricky, as you're constantly being thrown into rooms where everybody else knows what they're doing. It took me at least a dozen tries before I finally got the throw and kick buttons straight. This really is the worst way to learn how to play a game.

Eventually you'll get the hang of Basement Crawl and the frustration of starting out will be replaced by the anger of never knowing who you are on screen. Like I said, this is an eight-player game with only four characters to choose from. No matter how you slice it, multiple people will need to choose the same characters. And without any kind of marker, it's incredibly easy to lose track of your mad bomber.

As a multiplayer-only game, you might expect there to be an emphasis put on unique modes and stages. Unfortunately, that's not the direction Bloober Team went when making Basement Crawl. There are only two modes -- a free-for-all deathmatch and a team-based mode. Neither game type is especially original; I quickly lost interest in both. Players earn points to level up, but that isn't enough of an incentive to keep playing these two modes.

Basement Crawl (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Even if you can get past the lack of single-player content, paltry selection of game modes and stingy variety of characters, you're still stuck with a game that can't even get the basics of Bomberman right. Basement Crawl gets simple things wrong, such as getting stuck on objects and the bomb's awful collision detection. This game proves that it's harder than it looks to mimic Bomberman.

Sadly, there's an even bigger problem we haven't touched on. In the first week of playing, I had nothing but problems connecting to Basement Crawl's servers. I was constantly met with game crashes, rooms that wouldn't load and other nasty technical bugs. There were times when it would take five or six attempts just to enter a room, often with at least one game crash mixed in. This is unacceptable.

And just when you think you've successfully entered a room, you'll be hit with a brand new batch of bugs. Sometimes players won't be able to lay traps, while other times one or two people will enter the room long before anybody else. And did I mention that the game likes to crash and disconnect in the middle of heated matches? It's as if Basement Crawl is doing everything in its power to push me away.

Basement Crawl (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

To Bloober Team's credit, I'm sure they will eventually get the online problems and bugs resolved. Because of patches, there may come a time when the last couple paragraphs make no sense. Unfortunately, that isn't the present day reality. As of the writing of this review, Basement Crawl's online component is inconsistent at best, busted at worst. I can't think of a worse thing to happen to a multiplayer-only game.

It doesn't help that the overall presentation is lacking. It's hard to believe this is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, as it barely looks like a PlayStation 3 game. The opening cinema is easily the most impressive part, and even that is full of stuttering problems and ugly textures. From the art direction to the character models, I took little enjoyment in looking at Basement Crawl.

It's easy to scoff at the game breaking technical problems, but they aren't the real issue. Even if the bugs were suddenly fixed, we would still be left with a Bomberman clone that doesn't even get the fundamentals right. Worse yet, it's ugly, has a serious lack of characters to choose from and only two basic modes. It's also frustrating to learn and a big step backwards from other titles in this genre. I know people are desperate for a new PlayStation 4 game, but Basement Crawl is not the answer.
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