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Crashland Review
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CRASHLAND VR Review

360 Degrees of Absolute Chaos.....

A CRASHLAND Review. Let’s get started…

What Is CRASHLAND?

CRASHLAND is a mission-based shoot-em-up that throws you into 24 battle missions against dozens and dozens of terrifying creatures on a hostile alien planet. You’re a Space Gladiator trying to survive a crash landing just long enough for your rescue ship to arrive.

With each location comes new terrain obstacles to deal as well as unique creatures that hide weaknesses you must exploit. There is a unique perk system that houses 30 unlockable power-ups to help you along your journey….these are especially handy when you eventually learn which perk combinations work best with each other.

CRASHLAND Trailer - Oculus Quest

Who Makes CRASHLAND?

CRASHLAND was made by Llŷr ap Cenydd.

One PERSON.  Llŷr is the one-man show behind CRASHLAND.  This fact alone makes the player appreciate this game even more, as the quality and attention to detail rivals even the mega-team projects out there.

For those of you with a good memory, you may be thinking to yourself that the CRASHLAND name and concept seem vaguely familiar.  Well, you’re right!  That’s because Llŷr actually created CRASHLAND way back in the early days of Oculus development as a tech demo to show just how well wireless controllers (The Razr Hydras) could be for freedom of movement in a Virtual Reality Shooter. 

Fast forward nearly a decade, and we are now fortunate to have this polished reboot available in the Quest library!  Llŷr resides in Bangor, North Wales, UK, and the current Quest version of CRASHLAND was released in February of 2021.  Random fact: Llŷr was also responsible for the wildly popular VR experience OCEAN RIFT.

Which VR Headsets Is CRASHLAND On?

You can play CRASHLAND on the Facebook/Meta Oculus Quest 2.

CRASHLAND Gameplay

You start out by watching your spaceship crash landing on a mysterious, foggy planet.  The screen fades from black and you find yourself isolated on a desolate planet landscape with only have two guns and a radar to help you.  That tranquility lasts for about 5 seconds before a barrage of alien creatures comes out of nowhere and tries to ensure that you don’t survive long enough for a rescue.

The goal was, seemingly, simple.  “Salvation in three minutes,” the deep voice announces.  “What’s three minutes?” I thought. Well, I’ve never been more terrified and on-edge during a 3-minute mission – ever.  I felt defeated and encouraged at the same time.  I had to win. I had to see what came next. I finished the first mission after about 7 re-tries.  That’s over 20 minutes to survive just three measly minutes – but it was addicting and didn’t feel like the typical grind.

These missions are a 360-degree onslaught and creatures, weapons, and sensory overload.  CRASHLAND, simply put, is the exact style of game that Virtual Reality was designed for.

You’re going to fail.  You’re going to die.  You’re going to be startled.  You’ll scream and probably take your headset off.

Yep.

But, then…. You’ll take a moment to process what just happened, and then you’ll realize that this was unlike any other experience you’ve ever had in Virtual Reality, and then you’ll become hooked immediately.

CRASHLAND Tutorial

CRASHLAND has an extremely effective tutorial.  Instead of standard enemies in the tutorial, static targets are used, and you’ll be walked through all of the standard game mechanics. You’ll be able to take the time to learn and become familiar with the game without feeling pressured.  As a result, you’ll start the first level with full confidence in what the controls are.

I’m not saying you won’t get obliterated almost immediately, I’m just saying you will have at least been familiar with the game controls while being obliterated.

CRASHLAND Is Not A Rail Shooter

This is not a rail-shooter in the traditional sense.  You are completely free to roam wherever you desire.  You can walk using the thumbstick as well as using your teleport mechanic.  This teleport mechanic is a very crucial aspect of gameplay, actually.  It’s used to instantly traverse long distances, gather items, as well as quickly escape hectic enemy attack situations.

At first, you get five teleports before your bank is depleted. Once depleted, you must kill more enemies in order to gain more teleports.  This creates a very delicate balance of killing solely to gain teleports, so you can use them escape again….only to do it all over again – just to survive.

The progress you make as you learn enemy weaknesses, how various weapons work, or how certain perks work with other perks makes this gameplay completely unique and 1000% repayable.  Even playing the same level back to back to back to try and beat it is never the same experience twice.  This is important as you won’t be discouraged by the “grind” that many other games tend to suffer from.

CRASHLAND Weapons – So Many To Choose From…

To help you survive, you’re stocked with a standard pistol and a “Boomstick.” The standard pistol has unlimited ammo and can eventually be upgraded with various shooting modes as your experience level increases.

You can cycle through these pistol modes at any time during a level once they are earned.  Single-shot, burst mode, and rapid-fire are just a few of the shooting modes you’ll earn with the pistol.  These modes can also be enhanced with super-stopping power when you collect the available power balls that pop out of defeated enemies.  You’ll know you’re in this boost mode when your pistol is glowing red.

The Boomstick, on the other hand (pun intended), is the main delivery method for the various power-ups and upgrades that are peppered throughout the otherwise unforgiving landscape.  These, however, are not unlimited.  Power-ups such as grenades, electric impalers, and giant penetrating fan blades, are just a few of the first power-ups of many that you will discover.  When they run out, you’ll have to wait a certain amount of time for them to recharge.

You’ll also discover that there are parts of the landscape, such as explosive pods, that can be used to help you blow away your foes.  They can also hurt you – be careful.

CRASHLAND Enemies – There Are Tons!

There are well over 50 creatures throughout the game.  They definitely aren’t the typical creatures you’re used to seeing.

They are created using procedural animation and they will crawl, jump, and fly in ways you haven’t seen before.  They are very well-textured, wet, slimy, and covered in blood.  When you kill them, the rag-doll physics will put an instant, yet grossed-out smile on your face.

The sense of scale that some of these creatures create is jaw-dropping and one of the reasons I was drawn to this particular game in the first place.  Other than a few pictures in this review, that’s all the info I am going to tell you about the enemies.  It’s best that you discover everything else about them on your own.

CRASHLAND Spatial Audio

Audio is also an extremely important aspect of CRASHLAND.  Not only does the audio sound great (with amazing sub-bass), but the audio is 360 degrees so you can (and have to) listen for each unique alien cry and growl to identify which creature is which and what direction it’s coming from .

It’s not just the sound that helps clue you into where distant enemies are coming from – you also have a handy radar that can be brought up with a simple button press.  This live radar will tell you which direction enemies are coming from and how many there are.  Be warned – some enemies can mess with your radar – leaving you blind.

CRASHLAND Perk System

Each mission begins by allowing you to choose your perks.  As you progress and gain experience points, you can unlock new perks as well as open more slots to carry more perks at the same time. You have a total of 30 Perks that will be unlocked as the game progresses.

Some of the perks add new types of weapons.  Others change the rate at which your health, transports, or Boomstick ammo replenishes.  Some can add speed or slow time down.  One of the more satisfying perks is initiated by shooting your pistol straight up into the air.  Moments later a giant machine gun turret is dropped from above that will obliterate anything around you for 60 seconds straight.  These are just a few of the more basic perks.  They get pretty imaginative.

Each perk is explained in great detail and even has a video that shows what each does during the selection process.

CRASHLAND Multiplayer Experience

CRASHLAND is single-player only.  You may be thinking that this game would be amazing as a co-op, but then it wouldn’t be as satisfying knowing that you accomplished everything on your own.  In addition, being stranded solo on a desolate planet adds to the terrifying atmosphere and feeling of impending doom – all of which is part of the CRASHLAND experience.

M For Mature

Who Will Enjoy Playing CRASHLAND?

CRASHLAND is rated Mature 17+. There are fantasy and horror themes as well as tons of blood and guts.  There is no swearing, sex, or substance abuse, however.

That being said, this game would be a perfect fit for anyone who loves aliens, horror, shooting, gore, being scared, space, survival situations, timed levels, and feelings of being completely overwhelmed and dominated by creatures 10x your size.  So, yeah – that audience.

What Games Are Similar To CRASHLAND?

CRASHLAND is unlike any other shooter I have experienced.  I suppose you could say it’s somewhat similar in gameplay to other free-roaming, open-world wave shooters such as Arizona Sunshine, In Death: Unchained, and Space Pirate Trainer.

But again, I just named those games because you can walk and shoot, basically – nothing is exactly like CRASHLAND.

How Long Does It Take To Complete CRASHLAND?

There are 24 missions, and the objectives range from three minutes of survival to ten minutes of survival.  I have spent upward of 3 hours trying to survive for only 8 minutes.  So, predicting how long it takes is tricky.

The game was recently updated with additional difficulty levels ranging from very easy to nightmare.  That will also impact playtime.

Can You Play CRASHLAND Sitting Down?

Absolutely. You can sit or stand. A swivel chair may actually add to the overall immersion factor.  There’s even a “sitting” option in the game settings.

Does CRASHLAND Cause Motion Sickness?

CRASHLAND gives you full control over your walking, turning, and teleporting.  There are no movements that occur that would tell your brain that you are moving when you didn’t tell it to in the first place. There are also settings for smooth or instant turning as well as various levels of a screen edge vignette during movement to help reduce any motion sickness that may exist.

 

With these options at your disposal and given the fact that you have full control over all of your movements, CRASHLAND should not cause any motion sickness.

Final Thoughts On CRASHLAND Review. Is CRASHLAND Worth It?

Yes, CRASHLAND is worth it!

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