After resurfacing after launching the N. Sane Trilogy in 2016, Crash Bandicoot has followed in the footsteps of most of the video game franchises and released its own spin-off for cell phones. Crash: on the run! is an endless runner who tries to offer us the same style and emotion that the main orange marsupial titles on consoles one day offered us. This game is now available on Android and iOS devices and is free to download and play.
We all know that the crash games aren’t exactly narrative. However, that of On the Run is particularly limited as only the summary of the story allows us to find out what is happening. In this title, Dr. As expected, Neo Cortex is up to something again and this time he’s gathered all the bad guys to take control of various dimensions. Here we will play as Crash and his sister Coco, and it will be in our hands to stop these villains and bring them back to the dimensions they came from.
Crash: on the run! It works like any endless runner, because in it we cannot control the speed of movement of Crash and can only change direction by sliding our finger to the left or right. On the other hand, we will find three different lanes to go through, which are full of obstacles (like boxes) and enemies to avoid, as well as holes to jump over. To be honest, the controls are pretty easy to learn and the game doesn’t seem too tough as there are control point panels that you can use to track your progress, just like other titles in the series.
The gameplay is divided into three different sections. Meanwhile, we will have to fight enemies and bosses, craft new objects, and run races to collect new material. To move forward we will have to defeat a number of bosses and their minions. Of course, to achieve this we must first have the appropriate weapons in our inventory, as every enemy and boss requires us to use a specific one. How can we get these guns? Well, forging them with the materials we collected earlier in the special collection races.
Boss fights are very action focused so we need to be in constant motion and change lanes to dodge their attacks and drop collectable bombs at them to lower their health limit. Something really cool is that some of the series’ favorite bosses like Dingodile, Fake Crash, and Nitrus Bio show up here, and even other darker enemies like the lab assistants from the first crash and the Elemental Masks from Cortex’s Revenge. Although these games are very entertaining at first, they quickly repeat themselves. We always deal damage the same way, and bosses and enemies are pretty much the same all the time, with minor changes in their movement and arrangement.
Another aspect that should be mentioned is that while the gameplay is quite addicting, unless you are ready to make some cash, progress will be too slow. It can take more than 20 minutes to finish the weapons we forge and the amount of materials we need to make them grows. All of this makes it very frustrating to move forward and it seems that we are getting stuck. You can even spend more than an hour in the final sections fighting an enemy. In our case, when we got to the sixth boss, we lost the patience and interest to keep playing and preparing the materials.
It might not be entirely fair to criticize a free mobile game for its microtransactions, but here they have been implemented in such a way that if you don’t pay, you are playing at a disadvantage. Come on, it seems that with the currency of purchase (which are purple crystals) you have a shortcut to almost anything. For example, you can use these crystals to pick up the game right where you left off before you died, or to unlock missing weapon craft items. Also, these microtransactions and offers are very intrusive and appear every time you finish a race and return to the map screen.
One thing we really liked was the fact that On the Run! stayed so true to the main series. In the different levels in which we run we find elements of other crash adventures and also many of the characteristic musical themes of the series are included. On the flip side, the skins that can be bought have also been seen in other titles like Warped’s Biker Crash and Nitro-Fueled’s Blue Hyena Crash, which are our two favorites. In short, the experience doesn’t seem like a vague attempt to make money in this regard, and it must be admitted that it is fun to see so many little nod to previous classics.
Before we’re done, we have to say that Crash: On the Run! It’s hands down one of the best mobile graphics games we’ve ever played (we played it on a Sony Xperia 5 II). The graphics come to life thanks to lots of bright colors, and the shadows and lighting effects are impressive for a mobile title. While it still can’t be compared to the latest crash releases like It’s About Time and N. Sane Trilogy, the leap in quality from one game to another isn’t very noticeable.
This title may be very loyal to the series, but it loses a lot of points when plagued by microtransactions and with gameplay so repetitive that it’s not worth playing a lot. Without paying we felt very disadvantaged, and the task of collecting items and turning them into weapons seemed too difficult for us. It is true, however, that it offers some glimpse into the potential as its graphics are impressive for a mobile game and were created by fans of the series, but unfortunately not on par with the latest crash releases.