With the Christmas season finally here it’s time to do what we all love best – open presents, eat loads of food, and beat our friends and family in local multiplayer games. Those who are particularly excited for that last option are in luck too, with developer Hyper Luminal Games bringing their hectic multiplayer title Big Crown: Showdown to PC and consoles just in time for some festive showdowns. Hey, it’s better to battle on a TV screen than over the dinner table for that last Yorkshire pudding, right?
Big Crown: Showdown follows a fairly simple concept, with up to four players tasked with running across levels, avoiding hazards and traps, and trying to punch each other all over the place. You’re racing against an ever-moving camera though, and if you get out of range for too long you lose a life. For every life you have remaining at the end of a game you get a point, and the first player to hit a specified target wins.
Besides the deadly moving camera and the myriad of hazards found on each level, it’s also up to the player to make their opponents lose lives. One way to do this is the aforementioned punching, with one quick hit able to knock someone off the map or into a trap if you’re accurate. Be warned though: players can block your punches and if they time it right, you’ll get a hit in return. There’s nothing worse than menacingly plotting someone’s demise with a punch, only to have them block your attack and instead send you off the map as you lose your last life – believe me, I’d know. Then there are the traps which players can activate to trick other players too, which are equally brutal. There are just plenty of ways to cause chaos for everyone else, but hey, got to win at any cost, right?
It’s all pretty simple in design, though you are able to customise the rules if you prefer with things like how many points you need to win or the amount of lives you have shifting things up a bit. You can also do things like change the speed of the camera, which actually makes a bigger difference to the experience than you might think – especially after you’ve been used to it going a specific speed for so long. Whilst customisable though, there’s not a whole lot of different ways to play Big Crown: Showdown. A lot of multiplayer-focused titles pride themselves on the variety they offer, but it’s certainly played safe here with just the one game mode on offer.
There’s not a whole lot of customisation to your character’s appearance either, with just different hats to be unlocked as you play the game. Across each level are chests you can access to earn extra cash that can be spent to unlock these new hats to wear. However, once you unlock a hat everyone can use it, which was something which took away the allure of getting the chests for me. I mean, they’re placed in levels in a way that you often have to risk your life or battle with others to get to, but when everyone gets the benefit of the reward what’s the point of going for it? I’d love to gloat about my new fancy hat to my opponents, but when we can all wear the same thing it doesn’t have the same smug vibe to it.
Whilst lacking in variety in some ways, at least there are plenty of maps to battle across that are set over three different environments (Medieval, Egyptian and Norse). They all feel unique in-game and are well designed from both a gameplay and aesthetic standpoint, so they’re definitely fun locations for you to race across your friends with. That being said, it didn’t take long to see some of the levels more than a few times, though that may be owed to the fact that my friends and I put so many hours into the game…
One thing Big Crown: Showdown deserves a lot of praise for is its accessibility. I’ve managed to play it with both non-gaming friends and even some of my younger family, and they were all able to pick up on the mechanics quickly and even got a few wins of their own in. A lot of that is thanks to its simplicity and the fact it never gets too tactical (outside of everyone ganging up on the leader), so it’s certainly a great title to bring out and have fun with as an alternative to Monopoly this Christmas time. Oh, and if you’re playing alone (poor you!) there’s also an online multiplayer option, so you can smash strangers up from all over the world into your traps instead. Perfect.
Developer: Hyper Luminal Games
Publisher: Sold Out
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC