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Game Review #147: Big Crown Showdown (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewers: Allan J, John B, Frank W, and Chad M

Developed By: Hyper Luminal Games, Ltd Published By: Sold Out Category: Action, Party, Fighting Release Date: 01.10.19

Price (at time of review): $12.99

Buy Big Crown: Showdown from the Nintendo eShop here.

What’s the Story?

The kingdom is under attack by Great Wizard Fonkin. Old King Krabbit sounds the alarm, but the Grumblegard Knights are too busy having a pizza party to notice. Great Wizard Fonkin throws the king from the castle tower—as you do—and claims the throne as his own, banishing the Grumblegard through a portal to the future. Now 100 years since the throne was overtaken, there is a competition where the winner claims the royal crown, all you have to do is survive! At least, that’s what I gathered from the brief animated intro, which is pretty much the only story you are given. Here, look for yourself and see what you come up with…

Everybody loves a good party game, right? You get to have fun with your friends and get some healthy competition and sabotage going. Big Crown: Showdown has you facing off against your friends—and hopefully you have some—in a combat footrace through an obstacle course of deadly traps, along with twists and turns, treasure chests, and opportunities to punch your friends over the edge of steep drops!

This time, the review will be a bit different, as several of us here at JP’S SWITCHMANIA got a chance to try it out, so we’re all going to say our piece. First up, we’re going to hear about Fun Factor from John B:

Fun Factor

Big Crown: Showdown is a multiplayer-only experience. As such, the enjoyment you’ll get out of the game largely depends on A) having friends or B) the online community. I DEFINITELY have friends, but we’ll do the online community first. There isn’t one. I tried matchmaking a bunch, and could never find a game unless I arranged with one of my friends (who DEFINITELY exists) to be online beforehand. The game only has random matchmaking instead of allowing you to invite your friends to play with you, which is… weird. Inviting a friend to play with you is an absolute necessity for any online game, or at least I consider that to be the case. Even then, when I created a game, the only person the game found was the person I had arranged a game with beforehand, so at least we got to play together, I guess.

Playing locally with friends is much easier to set up. You need to have a profile on your system for everyone who wants to play, though, which is also kind of strange. I guess it’s so the game can track the coins you collect, but if it’s just a game played for fun it’s not like people who don’t use your system regularly will come back for their coins. On the other hand, YOU CAN BUY HATS. Hats are great. I love new hats. This may be coming off as sarcastic, but I swear to god I love unlocking hats or new costumes in games, so that’s a huge plus for me.

As far as the gameplay itself goes, it’s a strange mishmash of genres. It’s a party brawling, platforming, racing game. It’s actually an interesting concept that is decently executed. There’s some inconsistent input lag while playing online that I experienced with my online friends (who DEFINITELY exist) that brought down the fun level a little bit. Still, racing around, knocking people off the track and racking up points is pretty satisfying; although it’s a lot more fun playing locally versus online. That’s because of the lag issue as well as it just being more fun to be able to talk to the people you’re playing with (there’s no chat feature, which is true of every Switch game at this point, I guess).

John’s Final Thoughts:

Overall, it’s a decently fun game that suffers from a lack of people to play with unless you have a lot of friends that live nearby who don’t want to play Smash instead.

John's Score: 6.5/10

Next up, we have Frank W., who will be talking about the gameplay and controls:

Gameplay & Controls

We have a nice little dynamic going on with the controls for Big Crown Showdown. You move with your analog stick, and you can either do a quick punch in front of you that has a small knock back to the other player, or you can charge it for a stronger punch that also makes you charge forward, dealing greater knock back and giving you a quick burst of speed in the chosen direction. You can also use that move in conjunction with jumping to traverse the playfield quite quickly. I found myself a-hoppin’ and a-punching all over the map as I got the control methods down to great effect. My friend with whom I was playing commented on how hard it was to hit me and deal with my mobility… until we discovered the block button.

When holding the block button, your knight will raise his shield, and all attacks he suffers from the front will be turned back at them, and you will take a small amount of knock back while launching your opponent back. While only effective in guarding your front, the shield can be used to surprise an overly-eager opponent right off of the map! It's only a few moves, but due to the innate chaos this game brings, you really don’t need more than that! It feels a little finicky at first, and you will swear your punch missed when it should have connected more than once, but it does the job well, and contributes to the chaos in which this game revels.

Frank’s Final Thoughts:

This game started out feeling like a stinker, but as I played a little more and figured it out, I see what it was going for! If you regularly have people over, this would be a great addition to game night that is sure to cause some yelling, some standing up, and some friendships to get a little shaky!

Frank's Score: 6/10

So what does this game look and sound like? Chad M. is going to tell us all about it:

Audio & Visuals:

The soundtrack is upbeat, with horns, pipes, and drums that give a very Scarborough Renaissance Festival vibe that was rather catchy. I wasn’t blown away by the graphics, but the overall art style was cartoony and cute. The level design was done nicely, with traps and pitfalls in the isometric kingdom.

Chad’s Final Thoughts:

Big Crown: Showdown has all the elements in place to be a hit in the space of a quick pick-up-and-play. Yes, it has local multiplayer, which is nice, but to really seize the day it needs to grow its online community and aim to do what Rocket League has done, even if on a smaller scale. That being said, I had a fun time playing—when I was able to get a match going—and was laughing my butt off the whole time. Like many other games, this would be improved by voice chat or in-game chat, like other games in this mini game medium have. As I said, there is potential here to be more than a couch co-op, you just may have to be patient as the community grows.

Chad's Score: 6.5/10

Wrapping Up: Allan’s Final Thoughts

So, basically, it would seem that we all had about the same experience with Big Crown: Showdown, which was that it’s a fun little party game with a lot of potential, but the online community is still too small to allow for much random online gameplay. Also, we all have real friends—honest!

I felt that it was a good time to be had, but trying to schedule matches with my fellow reviewers was a bit of a challenge, given our different schedules and time zones. Also, it would be a much less frustrating experience if you could just have 3 other guests sign in for local play, rather than require 4 separate profiles to be used, but overall, not a bad game. I give this game a 6/10. Since we have 4 scores here, the final average score comes out to:

Allan's Score: 6/10

Final Average Score: 6.25/10

Buy Big Crown: Showdown from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Codes Provided by David Scammell

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