Monday, November 19, 2018

Crayola Scoot (PS4, NSW, XB1, PC) Review

We go from one family-friendly game to another, but this time it's for a game that's not over a year old! In fact, Crayola Scoot is barely a month old now, and SuperPhillip Central has this review, based off the PlayStation 4 version.

Get Ready, Get Set... Scoot!

At first glance, you might think that Crayola Scoot is a mix between Splatoon and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. That's because that is pretty much what Crayola Scoot is all about--just substituting scooters for skateboards and squid kids for... non-squid kids. What Crayola Scoot adds up to is a family-friendly game that allows for an enjoyable experience for any age and any skill level.

Crayola Scoot starts out with you selecting your fully customized avatar--detailing things like gender, skin color, and also the paint color that your scooter will leave behind in his or her wake. Once that's taken care of, it's off to make your way to the top of the Color Cup leaderboard. This is done by completing two-minute timed event as you compete against AI opponents. Each event you complete earns you points. Earn enough points, and you meet the requirements to advance to the next rank. However, before you can do that you have to take on that rank's champion in a trick-based game of H-O-R-S-E, similarly titled S-C-O-O-T.

As cliche of an observation as it is, Crayola Scoot is one part extreme sports game and one part Splatoon.
In an effort to make progression to new ranks as stress-free as possible, players can essentially compete in the same event over and over again, gaining the necessary points to move forward in rank. While that is an option--and a welcomed one at that--as you can imagine, it's not the most recommended way of playing through Crayola Scoot's campaign.

The main hub of Crayola Scoot is an open-ended skate park where you're free to practice the controls and tricks of the game, move to multiplayer, purchase scooter parts and clothing options within the shop, and access events. There are three islands in Crayola Scoot, and these hold the various events in the campaign. As you progress in rank, new events open up within the islands to challenge.

There are 48 events in total, and each one offers three difficulty settings to choose from, ranging from easy to hard. Completing an event on the hardest difficulty earns three stars, and the main challenge of Crayola Scoot's campaign comes from trying to obtain as many stars as possible. Going from the normal difficulty to hard made me question my sanity at times. The AI beat me to a pulp without much effort when I started off and even when I progressed further into the campaign. An overly easy game Crayola Scoot is not, which is nice to see, as it allows players of all skill levels and ages to enjoy the game.

From a golden knight to a member of the undead, the campaign's cast of characters ready to challenge your character at each new rank are varied.
Crayola Scoot's events follow one of a handful of match types. These aforementioned match types can be played in the Arcade, which is essentially a free play mode for up to four players locally via split-screen. There is a Splatoon-like mode where you play either alone against other players or on a team as you try to paint as much of the level as possible in your scooter or team's color. You spread your paint at a greater pace by successfully performing tricks, as well as controlling points on the map which automatically spray areas of level in your team's color.

All maps have three special control points that when taken over launch a "Mega Wonder". When a Mega Wonder is under a player or team's control, different happenings occur, such as an airship that circles the map, dropping paint bombs in their color. These color skirmishes require a great amount of strategy to achieve victory in. Do you scoot around taking over control points--which can be easily taken over by your opponent--or do you perform massive amounts of tricks to paint as much of the map in your color as possible?

Paint has more of a purpose than just for the Splatoon-like mode within Crayola Scoot. It has various applications to it, such as refilling your boost energy if you scoot in paint of your color--or even slowing you down if you're scooting in another opponent's colored paint.

Other modes include a high score trick competition, a mode where you play a game of cops and robbers where one person is splatted and tries to tag other players until everyone is tagged, and also a mode where you scoot around making a mad dash for crayons that pop up all over the map. The player who collects five crayons first is the winner. No mode in Crayola Scoot's bunch really wears out its welcome, as they're all a ton of fun to play.

It's a mad rush to each Crayola crayon in this particular mode.
But, here's where Crayola Scoot dulls a bit--the controls. While trying to offer a simplistic trick system, what the designers have done with Crayola Scoot is make for a control scheme that is heavily problematic. For one, jumping is initiated by either flicking up the right analog stick for a light jump or holding down the right stick and flicking upwards for a higher jump. Seeing as the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch controllers all have more than enough buttons to serve as jumps, it's bewildering to me that jumping is set to the right analog stick--especially when tricks are set to the same input!

Yes, you read that right. In the designers' infinite wisdom (this is total sarcasm--just to clarify ahead of time), not only is jumping and pulling off tricks assigned to the same analog stick, but movement and flips/spins are tied to the left analog stick as well. This--as you can imagine--results in a great deal of frustration when you find yourself accidentally bailing... more times than you would ever like.

The relatively brief loading menus of the PlayStation 4 version show off tips on how to perform specific tricks such as moving the right analog stick in different directions and positions from where you start. However, since there's no penalty for using the same tricks and there's just as little reason to perform tricks with any sort of finesse, I basically just wiggled both analog sticks while in midair to let loose tricks.

The cel-shaded visual style of Crayola Scoot is very reminiscent of Jet Set Radio, meaning I'm in love.
Score multipliers are a part of Crayola Scoot, and instead of continuing a combo through a manual like you would in a Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game, you continue a combo through boosting. You have a limited amount of boost available to you, and if it runs out while you're on the ground, your combo ends. That said, this--in addition to the ease of grinding (where bailing happens soon after your scooter makes a complete stop, boosting makes you grind faster)--are how you chain a multitude of tricks together to score huge amounts of points, something extremely necessary to do to tackle the later ranked opponents in the campaign. I say this because the last couple challengers in Crayola Scoot are hard as nails, pulling off insanely high combos, which makes me question if this game is actually intended for kids or not!

If it's 8:00 a.m., does it mean this is the morning grind?
Crayola Scoot may not color inside the lines all of the time with regards to some of its design choices, but those who stick with it with find a family-friendly game that's a lot of fun to fool around and engage with. While the questionable control scheme (including the lack of the ability to customize said controls at all) lends itself to the game's sometimes strenuous challenge considering its intended audience, Crayola Scoot will, for the most part, have young ones and the young at heart scooting and hooting with glee.

[SPC Says: C+]

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