Crashed Lander VR Review
First off I’ve been playing games a long long time.
I remember a simpler time when polygons and frames per second meant nothing and the only part of playing a game that truly mattered is how fun it was to play. Crashed Lander might not have the shine and polish of some of today’s triple A titles but it does have some of the best unbridled pure gameplay mechanics your ever likely to come across.
Crashed Lander is a simple game at its core. You control a small craft in third person view and guide it through various levels trying to land on platforms in sequence to complete each zone. Sounds simple ? Well yes but controlling your craft is a Joy and this is what makes this game one of the purist examples of how good gameplay mechanics trumps all other design aspects in videogames.
The closest game I can compare this to would be the Atari 2600 hit title Lunar Lander which was just a series of lines on a screen and some dots but the indescribable joyous feeling of getting a landing right and mastering the controls is something I have rarely felt playing videogames since my childhood. Crashed Lander recaptures the spirit of these earlier games in a similar way to how Shovsoft’s Lunar Flight game does but in a more Arcade type manor which is easy to pick up and hard to put down.
The developer Dom Whitaker has made some inspired design choices for showing players essential information instead of using the standard HUD which never seems to work well in VR. On the craft your controlling you will see a counter on the top showing how many seconds you are playing the current level. On the side facing your position you will see a second counter which shows how much fuel you have used. Both of these elements come in very useful as one of the games main replay values it trying to beat your current best time using as little fuel as possible. On the top right of the craft a small compass circle points you in the direction of your target landing pad. The compass is by far the most useful piece of information you can view as some of the later levels are quite large and the landing pads can be underneath foliage , fog or even inside caves.
Crashed lander has 25 different stages to choose from which ramp up in difficultly as you proceed through them. The levels themselves are completely unique to each other and each time you proceed you can’t be quite sure what is coming next. In one level a giant boulder rolls around and all your landing pads are placed in various spots on the boulder. You have to nudge the boulder so you can get access to the correct pad and this can be a difficult task but very rewarding once you get it right. Another level has you in a large Air Hockey type of area with moving targets to test your skills and in another it has your landing pads placed on top of representations of the planets in our solar system.
Crashed lander has another couple of games modes. One is Ring Runner which has you flying through hoops. This has 10 stages in total and they get harder once more as you proceed. One thing I especially love about this mode is that it leaves a trail from your trajectory and shows just how smooth a pilot you really are.
When I first sat down to play Crashed Lander I thought to myself that I would see all that it offers within half an hour, then suddenly without realizing it 3 hours had passed me by. Overall this is a fantastic gem of a game. Simplistic graphics, a wide variety of level design and a core game flight mechanic that will keep you entertained for hours.
If you enjoyed this review please remember to hit that subscribe button.