The Crackpet Show – Preview
Follow Genre: Roguelike, Bullet Hell
Developer: Vixa Games
Publisher: Ravenage Games
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

The Crackpet Show – Preview

Good: Decent amount of potential
Bad: Small enemy, ability and weapon pools. Needs polish
User Score
0
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

The roguelike genre has become more and more popular in recent times. Each day, several games belonging to this genre are released, each trying to stand out from the crowd. The Crackpet Show is one of such games, and it is currently in Early Access. The game is bringing its post-apocalyptic insanity show for players to try out. Here is what it has to offer.

In a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has been wiped out, mutated animals are the only remaining survivors. Left without any entertainment, The Crackpet Show was created, pitting a group of challengers in mortal games against hordes of enemies. While the game’s story is rather simple, it sticks to its settings in an incredibly strong way, flavoring almost all of the content to match, thus truly making the game feel like a show.

The game’s graphics also further emphasize this, with cartoony aesthetics and colorful designs all around, regardless of how much sense they may or may not make. This is especially true for the enemy designs, featuring lots of diverse creatures to confront from a roster that changes each level. Sadly, it doesn’t really apply to the environments, seeing as the game reutilizes the same few areas for over half of its current duration.

Similar to the graphics, Crackpet’s sound design further contributes to its theme with whimsical SFX and a soundtrack that could only be described as a TV ad’s musical theme. While both are serviceable, it should be noted the sound effects can become somewhat grating due to how incredibly often players will hear them, which is not helped by the incredible quietness of the OST. The latter is barely audible in most cases.

As previously stated, The Crackpet Show is a roguelike, or more specifically, a roguelite. This means that despite most progress is lost after each run, some permanent upgrades may be unlocked. The core gameplay loop of the game sees players moving through a series of levels wiping out waves of enemies. These levels are first displayed in a map akin to that of Slay The Spire’s, where the player will be able to see branching paths containing different rewards. Some of the areas displayed in this map may also be harder than usual, often netting better rewards, such as higher rarity weapons or more money. By investing in the permanent upgrades, players will also be able to unlock special rooms containing buffs, healing, or timed challenges.

Some of the most important things players will find are new weapons and perks. While the weapons are straightforward enough, the perks are what other games would call passive abilities. These grant special effects ranging from more damage to spawning damaging piles of fecal matter after suffering damage. However, the utility for most of these can be rather questionable, with some granting effects when touching enemies being near useless due to the player still taking contact damage. The same can be said for the weapons and other items, as they also vary in terms of usefulness. Of course, with the game still being in development, some finetuning may do a lot.

This gap between the better and worse items is only furthered by the game’s upgrade system, which provides the player with two items at random for them to upgrade with their accrued tokens. These upgrades increase the damage, uses, or effects of the selected item, with the randomness only making players potentially waste points improving bad equipment.

The main way Crackpet differs from similar games is in how it handles its combat. While containing the standard formula of a pair of weapons, an active item, and a dodge roll, all aiming is fixed. Whenever enemies spawn, the player character will automatically aim at one of them, with the player only being able to control which of these they want to shoot at. While this system is very clearly intended for the game’s co-op integration, it doesn’t particularly work in a single-player setting.

More often than not, players will be left unable to shoot enemies as soon as they spawn due to a slight delay in the autofocus. Additionally, perks such as bouncing or splitting bullets lose a lot of the depth free aiming would’ve allowed. This, coupled with limited bullet range and a somewhat wonky camera, leaves the game feeling rather unsatisfying to control.

Another issue the game runs into is how each run is completely isolated from the others. While this is a staple of the roguelike formula, most other games are segmented into different areas played through in a sitting. However, Crackpet is divided into “chapters”, each with their own bosses, which are only ever seen again as mini-bosses in later chapters, if at all. This makes the game feel disconnected, with the difficulty of the chapters never really increasing beyond adding more rooms, thus not making the player feel like they’re improving.

Conclusion

The Crackpet Show is a rather harmless and bland roguelike that might improve with further updates, although it would need some revisions for it to truly stand out. Lovers of the genre looking for the next best thing to play will most likely be left disappointed, although the game’s simplicity may be enjoyable for a newcomer or those looking to play it in co-op. Sold for £13.49/€14,99/$16.99, the game is not the most expensive in the marketplace, although better games are available at the same price or less.

Personal Opinion

“The best way I could describe this game is by saying it’s utterly bland. It doesn’t really offer anything innovative nor do anything particularly well. I’m not particularly a fan of the gross-out humor and graphical style the game is going for either. It only makes me think they were trying to be like The Binding of Isaac but gave up halfway, never feeling tongue-in-cheek or self-aware, only childish. The game also has an issue in how its rooms are unexpectedly small for how many enemies spawn at once. This often leaves you without much space to maneuver, which is especially annoying since shooting makes you stop moving. All in all, this game might become half decent with a lot of work, but at the moment it’s just bland, and it serves as something to zone out with while watching documentaries.”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.