Burnout Crash Review

For those less familiar, Burnout is a fairly long-running series (about two console generations so far, now in its 11th year) of driving games by developers Criterion and publisher Electronic Arts. Unlike most driving and racing games, however, the goal of Burnout is a bit different. Rather than simply speeding towards the finish line, you also want to wreck as many cars as you can.

The height of this was in what is arguably the most popular entry in the series to date, Burnout 3: Takedown. One of the main attractions of this title (though it was originally introduced in the second game) was a popular mode which has had less emphasis placed on it in later titles: Crash Mode. In this mode, your goal was to drive the vehicle of your choice into a busy intersection, causing a huge multicar pileup and then detonating your car for bonus points, all in the name of causing as much damage as possible.

Burn, baby, burn.

Suffice it to say, destruction like this can prove very cathartic when you get home after a long day at work. Only now, thanks to Burnout Crash for the iPhone, you don’t even have to wait that long. You can let out your aggression anywhere, in a safe virtual environment where no one really gets hurt.

As the title indicates, Burnout Crash focuses on the Crash Mode, and is a port of the PlayStation Network/Xbox LIVE Arcade game of the same name. However, while the game was pretty good there, it’s on the iPhone where it really feels at home. Unlike the main Burnout series, Crash uses a top-down perspective that isn’t as close to the action, but serves to make it feel at home among other iPhone titles with a fixation on mass-destruction. In fact, it almost feels like a version of Angry Birds where the birds, slingshots, and pigs are replaced by an exploding car barreling into a busy intersection. Generally speaking, you’re not out to get anyone in particular, but to cause as much destruction (measured in dollars) as possible.

Up in smoke.

There are three different modes per stage, each with their own types of goals you can perform in order to get stars. These include causing damage equal to different amounts of cash, eliminating certain cars, and triggering events– one of our favorites is preventing people from leaving the intersection before a tornado hits, which happens to add tons of money to your score. And unlike the previous Burnouts, there is a bit more craziness and humor involved, as well as a very arcade-style feel to it all. Cartoonish honks and sound effects play among amusing music and radio updates, such as a tune singing, “Here comes Dr. Beat,” while an ambulance drives through. Another bit of fun comes from wrecking the pizza delivery truck, which opens up a roulette-style mini-game placed atop a pizza pie, with each slice offering a different event.

As we said before, the console version of the game wasn’t bad, but it really does feel more at home here. Rather than driving the car into the intersection, you just have to use your finger to steer, and for as long as that portion lasts, it works quite well. You also seem to be granted a greater degree of movement here after the crash than you were in the console version, using your finger to basically flick or swipe the car along bit by bit to where you want it to go, helping to build your meter so you can detonate the car yet again. The only real downside is trying to identify certain target cars on the smaller iPhone display, which can make completing some goals a bit more difficult.

Burnout Crash is basically the arcade-style equivalent of taking a box full of Hot Wheels, firecrackers, and a city street playset and putting them all together without the fear of breaking anything. It really is a blast to play, with lots to see and do, as well as plenty of vehicles and intersections to unlock. Even if the console version didn’t win you over, it might be worth your while to give it another look as an iPhone title.

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