By: Casey Curran
Upon hearing of Wipeout: Create and Crash, my first thoughts were, “Why is a Wipeout game on the Xbox 360 and Wii U?” Then I found out that it’s not another entry in Sony’s futuristic racer, but rather a game based on ABC’s show. That then prompted the response every time I find out about a television show, “How does ‘Party Down’ get cancelled before this?” Yet unlike most game show inspired titles, this one actually has a premise that could work for a video game, so I tried to stay optimistic. And once again learned how naïve I can be.
For the most part, Wipeout feels unpolished. The game has you move through an obstacle course above a large pool of water, avoiding anything that can knock you off. Yet the controls feel a little too stiff. There were also instances when they felt unresponsive, as I pressed jump more than a few times only to get hit by a flying obstacle. I am always one to doubt my own skills upon a death, yet it happened enough for me to know that it was not just my screw ups causing these mistakes to occur.
Wipeout is neither technically proficient nor aesthetically pleasing. The game, for the most part, looks like a Wii title in HD. In fact, when playing on the Wii U’s Gamepad screen, I would say that 70 percent of my Wii collection looks better than this. The game’s style does nothing to differentiate itself, going slightly cartoony, yet bland at the same time. It looks like shovelware, plain and simple.
Music is the highlight, though nothing that’ll blow you away. The tracks are just catchy enough to be enjoyable, and it knows how to vary them well. The voices, however, made me want to mute the game. Both the jokes from the playable characters and the announcers made me roll my eyes a lot while playing. I haven’t seen the show, but these jokes were so bad they convinced me to not even give it a try.
Limited would be the first word I would use to describe Wipeout’s gameplay. The game is essentially a 2D platformer from a behind-the-shoulder perspective, creating the illusion of a 3D perspective. This isn’t bad in and of itself; in fact, the PS1-era Crash Bandicoot games employed this and are some of my favorite games ever. Yet unlike Crash, Wipeout does not even let you move a little to the left or right, instead just moving straight. This creates a game that makes you wonder why it was made in 3D as a 2D perspective would offer the same freedom in 95 percent of the game’s scenarios.
There are some obstacles that have three lanes to shift from, but these just add to the effect of the game feeling too restrictive. It is a simple matter of hopping from one lane to another rather than Crash, which would let you move freely along a narrow path. This lack of freedom removes much of the fun, as it combines the worse aspects of both 3D and 2D platforming without the wider perspective of 2D platformers or the added freedom 3D supplies.
The obstacles are hit or miss. The more basic ones can actually be quite a bit of fun, offering some decent platforming challenges. It is the more complex ones that result in the trial-and-error gameplay the genre is known for when things get wonky. The physics are both unpredictable and inconsistent, making it very difficult to know where bouncing will take you or if an obstacle hitting you will either be a mild inconvenience or sending you flying off of the map.
It even feels like the game knows this, as each checkpoint gives you three tries, adding 10 seconds after each screw up. Fail all those times and it sends you to the next section. Rather than letting you overcome these obstacles through mastering them, the game offers no choice but to skip it if you fail too much. Considering just how obtuse most of the obstacles I was sent through were, however, I highly doubt I could clear them without a good amount of luck.
The game also has a level creation system. Do not expect something like LittleBigPlanet, however, as Wipeout only lets you decide what order to place fully complete obstacles in the game. If it’s between a checkpoint, you cannot edit the obstacle, only select it. Beyond that, the game is light on content for $40, with levels that are both too short and too few to be substantial.
There is also multiplayer (which is just you and your friends racing each other) and randomly generated courses, yet these are hardly compelling. The game does offer a decent amount of unlockables, but unless you are really committed to level building, these are not the most rewarding of prizes.
Wipeout: Create and Crash is exactly what you would expect: cheap shovelware whose real purpose is to promote its source material. As someone that is not a fan of the show, it even fails in this regard as I want to watch the show even less than when I first looked it up to see what the show it’s based off of is like. With a higher budget to iron out the numerous kinks and offer more content, this may have been a decent platformer. As is, however, I cannot recommend it.