Crash Boom Bang! (Pre-E3 2006)
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Genre: Party
Ever since the success of the original Mario Party, publishers have been trying to cash in with their own character-based party games, usually without much success. So if I tell you that Crash Boom Bang! is yet another party game that features familiar characters from the Crash Bandicoot series, you might feel like hitting the 'Back' button, but don't be too hasty. Crash Boom Bang! has at least one thing going for it that many other party games didn't have: Dimps. What the heck are Dimps, you say? You should say "is" not "are." Dimps is the developer for Crash Boom Bang!. They also developed the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush titles on the GBA and DS. All of those were excellent games, so we have cause to be optimistic about Crash Boom Bang!.
The premise isn't very unique. Players choose a character and move around a board by rolling dice. Of course, the fun part is that after everyone moves, they get to play a fun mini-game to compete for points. One of the things that always frustrated me when playing the Mario Party series was waiting for other players, especially computer players, to make all of their moves on the board. Thankfully, in Crash Boom Bang!, all of the players make their moves simultaneously, speeding up the tedious part so that everyone can get to the part they really care about –the mini-games!
The mini-games in Crash Boom Bang! make use of the Nintendo DS's microphone, dual screens, and touch sensitivity. Over 40 mini-games will be included, and they'll cover a wide array of game mechanics, which is the fun part about party games. The mini-games are rendered in full 3D with some nice detail for a DS game. The action previewed so far is fluid and responsive. One of my favorite mini-games is one in which each player is trapped inside a big plastic ball and set on a pool table. The players have to knock pool balls and each other into the pockets. There's also a pizza making game that I think it's really fun. There are other mini-games based on sports, racing, and a myriad of other scenarios.
Crash Boom Bang! has some more innovative features as well. It's possible to be a spectator while other players are playing a mini-game and the spectators can actually place bets on the outcome. Spectators can even use special items to aid their chosen player or hinder their rivals. The game features something Dimps calls the "Motion Panel Communicator." It allows players to draw symbols on the screen to send messages to other players. You can use the messages to hinder opponents or send hints to a buddy so that you can gang up against another player. These certainly are interesting mechanics not seen before in a party game, and it's a great use of the DS.
Four players can play together over local wireless, with computer characters replacing humans if less than four players are available. Crash Boom Bang! will even feature a DS Download mode so that four players can play with just one game card, though the amount of mini-games will be limited. To play the full game, every player will need a copy of the game. Unfortunately, Dimps doesn't currently have plans to put this game online with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. This is the first party game I've actually been interested by in a long while, and online play would certainly clinch it for a lot of people considering the game. I've got my fingers crossed for any hope of learning about an online feature at E3. Crash Boom Bang! is currently slated for an October release, and we'll be checking it out next week at E3 for any new info.