The Crackpet Showby Mikhail Dec 16, 2021 | 2 Votes | 32 Played | 0 Reviews
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Nothing beats the action roguelike games provide, and we’ve seen many of them in the last few years. The biggest name is, of course, Hades, which managed to set the bar high relatively high in the genre.
The Crackpet Show, developed by Vixa Games and published by Ravenage Games, is a newcomer that manages to provide as much fun and depth as Supergiant Games’ masterpiece. Though it’s still on early access, it checks all the boxes in the roguelike genre, providing an action-packed shoot’em up and bullet-hell experience with a lot of depth. Moreover, it has a reasonably long roadmap ahead with more planned additions to the gameplay, and the ability to play online with friends. Best of all, you’ll get to play as mutated versions of otherwise what could have been cute animals.
So, should you add The Crackpet Show to your gaming backlog? Well, before you start playing this shoot’em up with characters that look like they belong in a scarier version of Happy Tree Friends, let’s check out what it has to offer:
Humankind as we know it is gone, and replacing the entire population are scores of mutated animals. They can now think for themselves and seek various forms of entertainment, which is how they came up with The Crackpet Show. Dubbed as the greatest show on earth, it features animals fighting in gorey shoot’em up contests to the glee of the crowd (who are always at risk of being killed), viewers at home, and sponsors looking to cash in on your popularity.
The Crackpet Show’s gameplay is a traditional roguelike. Unlike certain games that provide somewhat similar dungeons, the game lets you select various paths, called episodes, you’ll take to reach the season’s (or stage’s) final boss. Every episode has different contents, but most of the time, it’ll make you face enemies. Some will yield rewards, ranging from weapons, usable items, and new perks, while on rare occasions, some will contain higher-tier gear. Although you’ll likely repeat seasons whenever your character dies, the ability to pick a path prevents the game from falling into a repetitive cycle. There are also episodes that contain the shop where you can exchange likes for new weapons, perks, and health.
You’ll fight off hordes of enemies in The Crackpet Show. To do so effectively, you need your beasties to be armed with a variety of weapons. Whenever you enter a season, you’ll first get to select a skin and a class (which you don’t need to adhere to strictly) that will decide your starting weapon—these range from railguns to grenade launchers and mortar-like cannons with projectiles that go over walls. In addition, you’ll also obtain a starting perk you’ll pick among two random choices, and you’ll have a chance to earn more as you progress. These can change the way you play and help you get out of tight situations. Examples include steel boots that can make you immune to traps and chain attack that lets the bullets you fire bounce off enemies. There are countless perks you can pick which keep things fresh. Finally, you can also select usable items, like bombs, anvils that drop over the heads of enemies, and healing items.
In terms of controls, The Crackpet Show is playable on both a mouse and keyboard setup or a gamepad. For a shoot’em up, the shooting mechanics are quite restricted since players can’t aim manually. Nevertheless, it’s still pretty enjoyable thanks to the sheer amount of weapons you can use. Enemy types vary, ranging from disfigured penguins that shoot projectiles and frogs that hop randomly. At the end of every season are bosses that have two phases, and each provides a fair bit of bullet-hell challenge.
Outside of the episodes, you refit your beastie’s gear, perform upgrades, and upgrade your overall experience. By using fame, you can strengthen your weapon collection, perks, and items. Meanwhile, you can also obtain sponsors’ patronage that will let you increase weapon slots and weaken enemies.
Though The Crackpet Show can be played alone, it’s best experienced in co-op. Episodes are a lot easier when you have teammates, and lobbies can have up to four players. So far, we’ve played a few co-op games, and the experience is relatively smooth.
In terms of presentation, The Crackpet Show has a rather brutal art style. Despite appearing as cute and cuddly animals at first, every animal is a grotesque mutant. The game also has a lot of blood and gore and isn’t shy about showing skulls and body parts. It’s also a well-optimized game with almost no framerate drops or stability issues which is a must in a fast-paced game like this.
Overall, The Crackpot Show is a fantastic new entry into the roguelike shoot’em scene, providing action-packed gameplay with a ton of depth, especially in the perks, weapons, and attribute mechanics. The art style is both fun and brutal, making it rather fun without being off-putting. In any case, if you love Hades and the other roguelike titles out there, The Crackpet Show deserves a place in your gaming library.