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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jenks

Game Review #241: Crash Dummy (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Twelve Games

Publisher: Funbox Media

Category: Platformer, Arcade

Release Date: 02.28.2019

Price (at time of review): $29.99

Buy Crash Dummy from the eShop here.

Buy Crash Dummy from Amazon UK here.

Dummies Need Not Apply

I may be showing my age, but when this game appeared in my inbox, I immediately thought of the band Crash Test Dummies, and their song “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”; and that’s not made up and was their biggest hit. After that, I thought of the old commercials of “The Incredible Crash Test Dummies” who would give out safety tips on how to be safer drivers and protect yourself on the road. That actually turned into a thing, and they even had games on the NES, Genesis, SNES, and Gameboy, so when I saw that the character in this new game was very similar-looking, I thought this was a continuation or reboot, and it looks to be just the opposite, as they were under the old Acclaim publisher umbrella. This reboot—or reimagining—is brought to us by developers Twelve Games.

One Day In a Lab, Things Got Weird

So, the game opens up with what I thought was going to be a very promising opener, with a cartoon that looked to be plucked straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon lineup; but the video was choppy, and didn’t seem like very high quality to match the art of the cartoon itself. This left me pretty underwhelmed, as it took me in with high expectations, and let me down rather quickly. Unfortunately, it just kept going in that direction for the remainder of my time with Crash Dummy. The story starts off with the evil D-TROIT kidnapping MIA, the Advisor’s daughter! You might be playing as CID, the simple crash dummy, but CID was also programmed and equipped with everything needed to be the hero he always dreamt of being. It’s time to set CID on his adventure and to save MIA.

Crash Into Me...

This is a 2-D platformer that reminded me of Mega Man, and normally that’d be a huge compliment, but I mean that only in the gameplay and what they intended for the platforming. As CID, you’re taught that you have been given abilities by The Adviser, and you use these abilities to navigate the 16 levels ahead of you. You’re able to sneak past detection, wall jump over enemies, use your body as a battering ram to bust through doors, and there is a mini-gun to blast baddies. As you go through, you can collect batteries to restore health. You can also collect bullets and energy bars, and if you get 10, you can go into an ultimate panic mode that destroys anything around you.

Now, saying all that, you’d think this will be a fun experience. Well, not exactly, as the game handles horribly. Hands down, the most important thing to me when playing a 2-D adventure platformer are the controls. These controls are so bad! The character constantly drifts when he jumps, nothing ever felt exact or as if I was ever fully in control. Everything from the jumping while platforming, to the hand-to-hand combat from small-level enemies. I always felt as if my character was in slow motion or stuck in peanut butter. The thing is, you’re given the tools or abilities to defeat the levels, and the levels are rather simple—nothing that I found hard at all—until you start getting into the higher levels and you need to be rather precise in jumps and movements, and the controls just don’t allow for that.

I can’t remember how many times I had to backtrack an entire section because the moving platform stuttered and my character couldn’t adjust, or I’d be hanging from a ledge and would have to try twenty times to get him to jump on top of the landing, as you can’t simply push up. The same is to be said for the boss battles, as they were a snooze fest, adding zero challenge to the game. I would just move a tad, jump, shoot, and repeat until the boss was dead, as all he did was jump from one side of the screen to the other, shooting one to three rounds at a time.

Audio & Visuals

The audio in the game is on par with everything else to this point, as it sounds rather generic, though the effects sounded well-placed. The art hurts, because the characters are cute and likable, but the package I’m given isn’t giving the same vibe. The cartoon at the start is choppy, the cut scenes are decent but not great, and the graphics in-game look like something from the 90s, and even then would only be considered subpar in regard to design and overall art.

It’s A Wrap!!!

The game has the nostalgia factor going for it, in that I thought it was the original IP of The Incredible Crash Test Dummies, but as you begin to play the game, it all quickly unravels. My son enjoyed playing it, but, just as I did, he would get very annoyed with the controls. The biggest problem I have with Crash Dummy is that the price should reflect the package, and this game is priced digitally/physically at $30—and that’s just plainly unacceptable. You can buy some very good games for half that price on the eShop. I wouldn’t recommend Crash Dummy in its current state, unless it goes on a deep deep sale and you have a morbid curiosity to try it out.

Score: 5/10

Buy Crash Dummy from the eShop here.

Buy Crash Dummy from Amazon UK here.

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*Review Code Provided by Funbox Media

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