App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Open world survival games have been a trend for a while now, and one of the most popular iterations on mobile isDon't Starve, a brutally difficult game about crafting and survival presented with a kind of Diablo-like isometric view.
Crashlands feels closer to DiablethanDon't Starve, and the result is a refreshing exploration-focused crafting game that is extremely compelling and satisfying.
A crash course
The premise of Crashlands focuses on Flux, an intergalactic deliveryman who crashes on an alien planet with little option but to build his way back up into space.
To accomplish his mission, Flux has to harvest resources to craft items, weapons, armor, and more to complete quests while taking on increasingly more difficult and exotic enemies.
Killing harder enemies will usually yield materials to build even better equipment so you can take on even harder enemies, and this is the main cycle that keeps you engaged with Crashlands.
How Diablo-y is it?
You might be wondering how progression at this point works - especially considering it invokesDiablo, a game in which the only hook is, essentially, character progression.
Crashlands handles all of this pretty differently in the sense that it hangs all of its progression system on loot. That's right, if you want Flux to do move faster or shock enemies, you'll want to craft the right gear to make that happen.
Though this might take the wind out of some people's sails, let me just say that Crashlands has an extremely robust set of items for you to build - to the point that I found myself wanting to make to-do lists and schedules for all of the items I wanted to track and build in my time with the game.
Out of this world design
More than the core gameplay structure though, Crashlands is such a pleasure to play mainly due to how well designed it is. It shows hitboxes for enemy attacks, tracks system for item building, and there are a ton more small but incredibly smart touches that makeCrashlands not only fun, but really satisfying.
On their own these design choices aren't gamechangers, but the sheer amount of new and useful UI elements that feel like they should be in every game of this type moving forward is certainly commendable.
The bottom line
It's not an overstatement to say that Crashlands redefines what an open-world crafting game should be. It cleverly builds upon its trending source material while remaining fresh and new with its inclusion of so many innovative design choices and charming presentation.