Burnout Crash is one of those rare franchise spin-offs that capture the tone of the main series without being anything like it. Unlike traditional Burnout games, Crash is a mini-game instead of a fast-paced racer.
Both have one thing in common, however: mass destruction, and few games pull it off more rewarding than this one. The core of Burnout Crash’s gameplay involves driving your car into traffic and then flicking it around the screen while it wreaks destruction on the environment.
When your “crashbreaker” meter fills up, you can cause an explosion that sends your car flying and deals significant damage to your surroundings. Scoring is based on the cost in money of the destruction.
Smashing into a pizza truck allows you to spin a prize wheel for one of a variety of special events. Some examples of that are speeding up/slowing down traffic, meteor strikes and endless holes in the ground that give you points when cars fall into them.
Burnout Crash includes three modes: Rush Hour, Road Block and Pile-Up. Rush Hour is a race against the clock, giving you 90 seconds to do as much damage as possible. When the timer runs out, your car explodes as a final hurrah.
Road Block takes place in two phases: phase one sends 30 cars through the environment with a ticker counting how many crash or make it through safely, and phase two lets you rack up your score until you fail to use a crashbreaker within a certain amount of time. In phase two, you’re given a multiplier based on your performance from phase one.
Pile-Up revolves around causing enough damage to trigger three special events, the last of which is a massive catastrophe. The catch: if you let more than six cars get by safely, each of which marks an “x”, the game ends. The exception to the rule is ambulances, which remove an “x” if you let them through. The power of the final catastrophe is based on how many “x” marks aren’t filled in.
Each level has five objectives that earn you a star when completed. Collecting stars is crucial to unlocking new vehicles, environments and paint jobs. Some are quite tricky, such as not destroying the golden car in each level until a certain point, thus introducing a strategy element.
There are 18 intersections spread across six environments, each with different traffic patterns, buildings and special vehicles (such as airplanes and boats) to obliterate. While the only difference between most levels is the layout, it’s enough variety to prevent repetition.
Cars have two stats: power and aftertouch, which determines your control over the car’s direction. There are a variety of paint jobs, including the unlockable “elite” paint that boosts both stats of any car.
Leaderboards through EA’s Origin service are available, with the added option of challenging friends to top your high score. We were disappointed that this feature wasn’t implemented for Game Center as well, especially as the service is already part of the game.
Burnout Crash’s visuals are absolutely beautiful, which makes it all the more fun to turn them to rubble. Even better is the quirky commentator who makes silly remarks on the commotion. Some of the sound effects can become grating, though.
Burnout Crash is a little pricey at $4.99, but we think it’s a fair request to let your childish urges to destroy everything run wild. There’s little more satisfying that causing a 50-car pile-up and then causing a chain reaction in which they all turn to scrap metal.