Basement Crawl Review

Blowing up in your face.

Basement Crawl opens with a cutscene that promises horror and perhaps a bit of mystery. A grandmother sternly tells her granddaughter of the dangers that lurk outside their home, though the grandmother's warning is itself tinged with a sinister tone. What has happened to the outside world? How have these two people survived? Is the grandmother evil? What are these horrific creatures that we're getting glimpses of?

Then you start the game and find a lackluster, multiplayer-only Bomberman clone bereft of features and personality. Any promise the premise had is immediately lost, and disappointment--not terror--lurks around every corner.

Basement Crawl is a grid-based game for multiple players in which you bomb things. As one of four different characters, each with slightly different starting stats (one is a bit faster, one has a bit more health, and so on), you lay down bombs--sorry, "traps"--which explode in straight lines in four directions: up, down, left, and right. You can collect power-ups for longer explosions, kick traps away from you, and hide behind a predictable pattern of unbreakable blocks, all in an effort to kill the opposing players over and over again.

Wait, am I the crash test dummy in the center or on the left? They both look the same!

If this sounds familiar, then you've probably played a Bomberman game before. Basement Crawl may call its bombs traps, but even the game's dark visuals can't hide the fact that this is just Bomberman with a shoddy horror theme.

Basement Crawl's biggest problem isn't that it's derivative, however; it's that it gives you no options. Never mind that there is no single-player mode whatsoever, not even an option to play against bots for practice. There simply aren't any settings to toggle for what kinds of rules you want to play by. Even when you create your own custom game (which is likely, since there's no matchmaking), you can't set options like match time, the number of kills needed to win, whether or not certain power-ups are disabled, or even a player limit. Your only options are Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch. That's it.

Want to limit your online match to four players, because you think having eight players in a match is too hectic and not very fun? Too bad. Want to disable the ability to kick traps, because that's all some players ever use? No dice. For having been inspired by a classic party game, Basement Crawl sure doesn't want you to have any chance at forming house rules. But hey, you can take your room full of four local players and join online matches with them, so that's something, right?

Ooooh, look at all that blood outside the arena. So scary!

One thing you do get to choose is the arena, though differences between arenas are negligible and almost entirely cosmetic. They come in three flavors, with a few different grid shapes for each: Restaurant Dungeon, Abandoned Circus, and Forgotten Factory. Notably, none of these environments is a basement.

One thing all these environments have in common is that they are dark and cramped. So dark and cramped, in fact, that it's easy to lose track of the action. A pillar of light highlights your location when you spawn, but if you lose track of your character after that first moment, good luck finding it again. It's bad enough that there are only four characters to go around for eight players, but they're not visually distinct enough from each other to quickly pick them out in the dark environments anyway. There is often so much happening onscreen--much of which looks too similar to its surroundings already--that you lose track of the action constantly. As you play, you hear people screaming and a creepy child laughing, but none of it is the least bit effective at delivering on the premise of horror.

It's hard to tell in the dark. How many players are here, again?

The only sense of progression is the ability to play online against strangers in an effort to increase your online rank. But since there's no form of matchmaking, your rank means very little. And if you want to increase it at all, you have to actually win matches--as in, win first place in Deathmatch (or as a team in Team Deathmatch). Otherwise, you get nothing. Reaching the maximum rank of 30 could take a very long time.

To top it all off, Basement Crawl is buggy at worst and unfinished at best. For example, when you pause an offline game, the action pauses, but the match timer keeps ticking down. How do you get the act of pausing wrong? It has been a while since a good Bomberman game was released, and nobody else seems to be interested in mimicking that classic gameplay. If you can get a solid group of four local Bomberman fans, and you have no desire to change any of the game's standard settings, you can have some simple fun blowing each other up. But if you're really desperate for this kind of experience, you're better off hunting down just about any Bomberman game from years past, rather than getting dirty crawling through the muck in this basement.

The Good
Support for mixing local and online multiplayer
The Bad
Bare-bones base gameplay
Dearth of options
Cluttered and hard to follow
Nothing original
3
Bad
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Britton Peele lives in Texas, where basements are practically nonexistent. Therefore, he has never crawled in one, but if he had one, he probably would have used it to play Bomberman with his friends all day. He played dozens of Basement Crawl matches before writing this review.

Discussion

44 comments
atomicpulze
atomicpulze

Man...(shakes head)

That is such a friggin' disappointment!

I was so looking forward to this game as it's based on the Bomberman(made by Hudson Soft if memory serves me right) mechanics.

That(bomberman),was without a doubt one of the best multiplayer games IMO.

I still remember playing it on the Famicom(or NES as we call it here) and it was a blast.

To my knowledge,there has not been another game like it since.

And I can't believe Blooberteam have stuffed it up so badly after reading many reviews from different gamesites.All the reviewers rated the game badly.

Hopefully,another dev team can revive the good ol' Bomberman title once again.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"Britton Peele lives in Texas, where basements are practically nonexistent" Over at the "6 million PS4's sold"-article, a commenter said that Sony should thank Microsoft for bringing gamers out of the basement, but there people also told him about the lack of basements in their immediate environment. 

That's true here in Sweden as well. I have some relatives that live in a house/villa and one of them has both an upper floor and a lower floor, that could serve as a basement. Most people can't afford that, though, so they don't have any basements. So yeah, the basement dwelling gamer is a stereotype that isn't very common or based on reality (like most stereotypes).

mr_nee
mr_nee

what? So that trailer was about bomberman? WTF???

Heil68
Heil68

I'm buying for sure. Have to fuel that SONY gaming WAR machine. awwwwww yeahhhhh

translucent17
translucent17

ah another great game in the ps4 library, good.

balrogbane
balrogbane

honestly so far the Wii U has the best exclusives, who woulda thunk

Damnation_6
Damnation_6

Oh this is the grade the Rambo game was supposed to have. I wondered where it went...

virusqg
virusqg

Is this ps4 exclusive? 

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

How are there not 7 billion bomberman clones all over the mobile market?!  It's one of the best and simplest party games ever!


... this game sounds horribly disappointing, not sure how you screw up the classic B-man formula this bad!



hadlee73
hadlee73

Multiplayer only? So its not even a decent single player Bomberman ripoff? Doh!

feared4power
feared4power

We need another real bomberman game. Anyone wanna play bomberman live?

Tiwill44
Tiwill44

Yeah, that's about what I expected from the trailers. It's like a bad Bomberman game where you can't see shit.

MateykoSlam
MateykoSlam

oh by the score i thought this was titanfall's review

tachsniper
tachsniper

what a letdown, the trailer looked pretty damn good.

gatozombii
gatozombii

I had a really large hope for this game. The trailer made me want this game pretty badly not going to lie. Then came this review which was what I was waiting for before spending even the low cost of 10 fun-coupons. The problems listed were some of the things I had feared. But great review Britton, cheers. Hopefully patches fix the issues that I've been reading about. 

Sargus
Sargus

@Hurvl  Interesting. Thanks for sharing that detail.


It's true, the first (and maybe only?) time I've ever been in a basement in a house has been when I visited family in another state. Never seen a house here in Texas with a basement. In a way, that almost made them seem magical.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@balrogbane The Wii U, and Nintendo in general, is mostly all exclusives. That's something Nintendo does very well, it practically always has the best exclusives. That's one of the only reasons people buy it. The amount of multiplatform titles that are worth playing is quite low from what I've heard.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@nl_skipper This sounds so bad it's more than just a B-version of B-man, more like F(ailure)-man.

porcupeth123
porcupeth123

@Bregzeinkul  Yes 1 game = all games. Have fun with Fighter within, kinect magicks, powa of the cloud and ESRAM fairy dust.

namitokiwa
namitokiwa

@MateykoSlam  I think that Titanfall still got a 9 or atleast 8...because that game was so overrated...I saw nothing in Titanfall,

marc_bloober
marc_bloober

@gatozombii  Hey, we had more than a few issues with the launch of the game.  But yes, we will have a patch out this week to fix the bugs.  We take everything said in this review (and all of the other forums) seriously and so after that first update we will have another which will include AI for a single player experience as well as more options; new game modes and maps.  After that we will continue to put out more and more content.   We realise that many people have been disappointed by the game at launch, all we can do is work as hard as we can to win back the trust of the gamers and we will do everything that we can to do that. 

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Shadowdanc3r @HurvlYes, in the south of Sweden, Helsingborg, but I was raised in Uppsala, the middle of Sweden.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Shadowdanc3r @Hurvl I'm quite interested in languages and also don't like to express myself in a sloppy way, so I make sure that I don't make any grammatical or spelling errors. 

Also, I believe us Swedes are famous for being good at English, we get so many American tv-series and movies over here and we don't dub anything, but subtitle it. Even if we just passively sit and watch TV, we actively learn better English.

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@Hurvl @Shadowdanc3r You have such a good grasp on the English language, but you don't spell things like the British so I thought you were American.


It's amazing how the internet can allow for people around the world to interact.  Greetings from the US my fellow gamer in Northern Europe!

Basement Crawl More Info

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  • First Released
    • PS4
    Basement Crawl is a downloadable strategic action game featuring creepy characters, challenging environments and maze-based competitive multiplayer.
    6.6
    Average User RatingOut of 10 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Bloober Team
    Published by:
    Bloober Team
    Genres:
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Violence