It appears as though the family party-brawler is dying down following a brief surge of popularity. Though, that’s not stopping Big Crown: Showdown from touching ground this week to give you and your nearest and dearest some old-school competitive fun, just in time for the festive holiday. When it comes to the party-brawler, replay value is key. Games that take on this concept need to relay a good deal of longevity, or else, they just fall to the wayside after just a few games, once the novelty has worn off. Does that happen here?
Big Crown: Showdown is a very fun game, that much I’ll give it credit for. However, there’s some odd design choices and a few bugs that truly hold it back from greatness. Being a party-brawler, there’s not much here in regards to a story. In fact, Big Crown: Showdown doesn’t give a flying toss about strong plots. Instead, it focuses much of its attention on its gameplay, and for good reason too. Booting up the game, you’re taken to a very clean, very accessible main menu, with ease-of-use comfortably oozing from its UI and its presentation.
Big Crown: Showdown can be played via local couch play or online play, with a total of four players able to jump into the fray. The goal in all of this? You and said friends and family will battle it out across three distinctly designed worlds, each encompassing five levels per-whack, until just a single one of you stands victorious above the rest. You’re able to toy around with the game’s settings to tweak some parameters; number of lives, points needed to win, screen speed, and so forth. Players can also earn swag through the spending of gold.
Swag consists of a fairly sizable range of different cosmetic hats to kit out your character with, which, as alluded to, offers no benefit whatsoever to the actual gameplay. Once you have your set number of players, you’ve toyed with the options, selected your string of levels, and chosen your favorite hat, you’re ready to dive on in. Each and every course will begin in the same fashion. You and your opponents will start out in a caged area whilst a countdown timer ticks down in the background, once this timer hits zero, the cage opens.
When that happens, the screen will constantly drag you and your opposition around each course. Should you fall behind (and out of view) you’ll have a few seconds to get back into view before you lose a life. The controls are fluid and easily mapped, lending the game a further degree of accessibility. Players can punch, charge punch, block, jump and move. You’ll utilize these functions as you attempt to keep up with the screen, all whilst fighting the other players and dodging the heaps of hazards that each course will throw at you.
The aim of the game is to either defeat your foes by knocking their life-count to zero, or jumping through the course’s end gate with the most lives overall. You’ll ultimately begin to repeat your selected collection of courses until the required amount of points have been met by any given player. Earning them first place on a podium screen, and some well deserved bragging rights. Your points are charted along the top of the screen throughout each session, allowing you to keep track of how many points you and your foes have.
The game’s three worlds are themed around the likes of castle villages, Egyptian ruins, and wintry, iceberg-like surroundings. The environmental hazards and traps are detailed as such too, sitting well with the design and theme of each world. My only gripe as far as level design is concerned is that there’s just not enough player-controlled traps throughout each world. Most of the game’s traps consist of pressure plates or switches that will drop a bridge or collapse a ledge, making it far too easy to suss out when a player is about to be nefarious.
It would have been nice to see more effort on this front, if for anything to give players that extra layer of depth to get one over on each other more frequently. I also take issue with the game’s core structure, being that outside of chasing achievements and unlocking new hats, there really isn’t much else left to do once you’ve obtained them all. Still, that’s not to say that the fun will die down after that, far from it, but I certainly question why more rewards were not thrown into the mix to add more meaning and depth to the longevity.
Moving onto the game’s bugs, I noticed that on several occasions, when two or more players would drop in from respawn, they would often become stuck together and unable to move, forcing a cheap and unfair death. I also noticed the occasional environmental bug that would see players getting stuck on the side of a course with no option but to wait until the screen had moved along, again, forcing the loss of a life. With that to the side, there’s little else to scoff at here. Big Crown: Showdown is a fun and exciting party-brawler.
The gameplay, although brief per-course, rarely gets old. Several times did I laugh that much as I belted my opponent off the course and to their doom, that I ended up losing a life myself through blurred teary view. There’s no shortage of ways to be devious here, which is just brilliant. Whether you’re about to cross a fiery pit, jump over a powerfully gusting nozzle, hopping across fragile (and breakable) platforms, or even waiting for icy breezes to calm, you’re always on the edge of your seat through panic that another player will wallop you.
The game’s non-stop camera movement only adds to the tension, and should you be skillful and fortunate enough to make it to the end of the course, you’ll battle it out with your opponents whilst you wait for the end door to open up. Huge bulky chests entice you to stop for a moment and open them up to gain some gold, but this leaves you wide open for attack; throwing in some risk vs reward in the process. It’s a heap of fun to play, more so with family, and something I anticipate will go down well during the quiet season ahead.
It helps, of course, that the game is very easy to play, making it an appropriate choice for players of all ages and skills. This spreads into the game’s visual and audio design, being that Big Crown: Showdown sports a visual presentation that’s light hearted and welcoming. The game’s environments remain sharp and well structured, and although it’s not going to be winning any awards anytime soon, there’s no denying the game of its vibrant, fun charm. The same can be said about the audio design, which only adds to the wacky atmosphere within.
Big Crown: Showdown isn’t without issues. There’s some questionable design choices within, as well as a few bugs that hinder its fluidity. That said, these small problems are easy to overlook in the face of the vast amount of fun that the game consistently relays. I credit the game particularly for its accessibility, making for an action-packed, family friendly party brawler that rarely alienates the younger, or lesser skilled players.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.