Of all the genres available to the best selling handheld console the world over it’s arguably the arcade style racer that’s underrepresented. An odd situation to say the least, given that racing videogames remain as popular today as ever they were, and so it’s perhaps predictable that smaller teams would like to get in on the action. This is where Crash City Mayhem comes in, with Ghostlight jumping onto the Nintendo eShop with an offering that stands out from their typical core gamer line-up.
The videogame begins with Driver’s Ed, a compulsory training mode that teaches players everything from accelerating to drifting. Literally. In three brief challenges you’re taught that you need to press a button to move, and that the videogame will have your driving between separate points on the map at high speed with an arrow atop your vehicle commanding the direction in which you should be travelling. The beginning will certainly be deemed unnecessary by most and the later part ill informs the player of the degree of challenge they will be facing. It’s a poorly presented opening to an otherwise enjoyable videogame.
Once into the core gameplay mode the player will work their way through a series of episodes with five different difficulty settings in each. These don’t unlock in a sequential fashion however, the player must progress through the videogame in a very structured fashion which sees them completing an episode before going back and playing a previous one on a harder difficulty. It’s an odd organisation, and one that feels awkwardly implemented to expand the longevity of the experience.
The handling of the videogame is well balanced, and is undoubtedly the best part of Crash City Mayhem. Vehicles feel weighty and the drifting mechanic is easy to learn and satisfying to master, but the world does feel lifeless. The speed of the videogame in inferior to that of its competition on other formats and the objectives can’t seem to decide whether they want to be Crazy Taxi or Burnout Paradise. The variation is certainly welcome, but the poor storyline making the excuse for these missions does dampen the enjoyment considerably.
Sadly the technical prowess – or lack thereof – doesn’t make up for Crash City Mayhem’s shortcomings. Aside from the use of stereoscopic 3D there is nothing in Crash City Mayhem that couldn’t have been achieved on the original Nintendo DS console, with literally laughable human animation. The sound quality isn’t exactly a selling point either, with a soundtrack that borders on embarrassing and racing effects that clearly emulate the real life sounds, rather than the modern technique of recording them.
Crash City Mayhem may stand in a poorly represented genre on the Nintendo 3DS, but given the general low quality if the production this is hardly a saving grace. Crash City Mayhem sells itself as a videogame that is easy to like the look of, but it plays like one which would’ve been rejected a decade ago. The closest competition Crash City Mayhem faces on Nintendo 3DS is the poorly presented Spy Hunter reboot, and sadly even that would be easier to recommend than Crash City Mayhem.