The world of Crackpets is dark, gritty and gross. The Crackpet Show, however, is all of that but with a smile!
One day, we’ll all be gone. Whether it be by mass extinction or a series of catastrophes, the only two things that are certain in this world are death and taxes. In The Crackpet Show by Vixa Games, humans have gone extinct and the world has become inhabited by mutant animals called crackpets. How they spend their days, however, is anything but predictable.
The Crackpet Show is a brutal contest of guns, gore, and glory. As one of four delightfully gross crackpets, you’ll be dropped into this bloody game show with little more than a gun and a gizmo. You’re even able to team up with up to 3 friends locally to take on the many trials of the Crackpet Show. While you’re able to pick one of four archetypes to jump into the arena, you’ll quickly find that these are more like suggestions when put into practice. With the rogue-lite elements backing this bullet-hell arena action, you’ll always be switching it up.
From lasers to rockets, to machine guns and crossbows, you’ll be slinging guns with gusto as you blow away the opposition. You’ll also be able to collect support items to help you cut down the hordes of enemy crackpets. These can heal yourself and your team, give you an extra attack, or a plethora of other bonuses that keep the action fast and fresh. Boss kills and other bonuses are added up into fame, which is given to you after each level for you to upgrade weapons and items you find. You also earn ‘Likes’ from each kill, which you can spend at shops you’re able to stop at during each episode.
These shops can hold everything from weapons to items, to handy perks that stick with you throughout your run. Almost all of them are useful, much like most of the other bonuses you can get. You can also get these boons and various others from the stages you can pick, where the bigger the challenge the better the reward. It makes planning your route to TV stardom feel important and have weight, even if the rewards are all more or less random at the end of the day. While the rewards can ultimately be unpredictable, you’ll always want to be prepared for the challenge ahead.
The Crackpet Show pulls no punches and can be as brutal as the gore you’ll leave behind in each stage. From the very beginning, you’ll be faced with hordes of enemies. While there is always a lot of them, they begin rather simple with just a few low-speed attacks or gimmicks. By the third episode of this blood sport, however, you’ll begin to feel the difficulty begin to ramp up. Taken one at a time, the game always feels fair and cheap deaths only feel like they come from boss characters. This can feel troublesome later in the game, however, when episodes require you to fight multiple bosses in one run.
While it keeps gameplay fast and frantic, you’ll end up fighting a lot of familiar faces during The Crackpet Show. While you’ll rarely fight them the same way, you can bet you’ll be seeing nearly every boss you’ve beaten before looking for a rematch as a mid-boss during a future episode. This can become a brutal exercise in trying to memorize complex patterns of bouncy bullets against previously beaten enemies, where you hope you have the right loadout of weapons and items to win.
The presentation is also a bit of a mixed bag. While the subtle soundtrack can feel forgettable at times, it’s got simple charms that make certain moments pop to life. The dramatic game show stylings are complemented we’ll with the roars of the crowd, bringing a fevered smile to your face after each brutal round, triumphantly signaled with cheers and fanfare. The weapons are also zany and fun, fitting the crazy world of the crackpets. The 90’s style gross-out character designs are a mixed bag, however. Each design holding the charm of your favorite Garbage Pail Kid is countered by a lackluster or uninspired creature that’s always just a glance away. Since the game likes to re-use and re-skin its enemies, those who are turned off by this style will find themselves disappointed with it rather quickly.
The visual style does little to detract from the comically brutal atmosphere of the game, however. It feels as if it’s always a no-holds-barred battle in the arena, as enemies explode into a gory mess when killed. Little details also immerse you in the wild world of the crackpets. Traps are harmful to both friend and foe, while stray bullets can nail audience members for brutal collateral damage. It all adds up to make the action feel non-stop and addictive, especially since each run always feels longer than it actually ends up being.
The Crackpet Show is an absolute blast from start to finish. Fans of the bullet hell genre will enjoy the well-crafted rogue-lite elements, with a robust amount of well-designed and balanced weapons, items, perks and upgrades. Casual fans will enjoy playing co-op with friends and appreciate the natural feel of the difficulty curve, which is made easier considering even failed runs give fame. While the gross-out style visuals and over-the-top cartoon gore may not be for everyone, The Crackpet Show proves to be a fast, furious and fun experience with a brutal twist on the game show aesthetic.
-Tons of well-designed weapons, items, and perks.
-4-player co-op gameplay
-Tight and responsive controls that are easy to pick up and play
-Difficulty curve feels challenging and fair.
-Gross-out style visuals may not be appealing.
4 out of 5
Review code provided by PR. The Crackpet Show is out now!