XBLIG Review: Craftimals: Build to the Sun (or not, ya know, whatever)

Indie games are a lot of things; some of them aren’t even quite games in the sense that we know them.  Sometimes that have no definable objective outside of simple enjoyment, sometimes the objective they do have is vague and not really that much of an objective in the first place. Craftimals: Build to the Sun is one of those games.  There is an objective, to build to the sun as it were, but that seems like more of an after thought than a true objective. When Master Chief is told his objective is to destroy Halo, failing to do so will result in the death of every human being, nay-sentient creature in the galaxy. Failing to ‘build to the sun’ in Craftimals simply means you will unlock less hats for your cute cartoon animal to wear.

 httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YIVdNVgoGQ

We have reviewed games like this before, but Craftimals is different.  The results are ultimately a mixed bag of blocks, but much of Craftimals faults come from the gamer rather than the game itself. That is to say I was Craftimals biggest hurdle, but more on that later.

I've got a lovely bunch of cocoblocks...

The main gameplay of Craftimals consist of jumping around as one of several cartoon animals (that are also block shaped) and placing various colored blocks.  You can use these blocks to build a tower (towards the aforementioned sun) or use the blocks to simply “dick around” if you will and build whatever the hell you want.  As you build your tower to higher and higher checkpoints you unlock new hats for your character, new colors for your blocks and the ability to carry more blocks at a time.

Craftimals: Parachute to the Ground just didn't have the same ring to it

Oh, did I not mention that? You must obtain blocks from one of two piles on the ground, and then carry them to your desired block-placing destination.  Funny that I didn’t mention it, as it is by far the more tedious aspect of Craftimals; you think that would of come up sooner.  The blocks are pretty big, relatively speaking (compared to your animal character that is), and so it makes sense that they can only carry so many of them at a time. But “making sense” isn’t high on my list of priorities in a game where a cartoon block tiger wearing a top hat is building a tower to the sun.  The real result is that every minute or so you must drop back down to the bottom, get more blocks, spend a couple of minutes climbing back up your tower, take thirty seconds to place your new blocks, and then repeat.  The result is that only the most patient and OCD among us will likely stick it out long enough to see just what happens when you reach that giant ball of nuclear fission.  I am neither of those things and as such gave up long before I reached it.

This is what my game mostly looked like.

The other side of Craftimals is admittedly not the type of game that appeals to me normally.  Building (interesting) things in a game with blocks and me don’t play nicely together. By that I of course mean that I really suck at it. I am incapable of building an image with a bunch of blocks in a game like this. Just isn’t going to happen.  Those that enjoy such things will likely find some enjoyment in the act, and of course building upwards to unlock more block colors will also motivate you to do so.  As for me, I successfully managed to make a black monolith (which is to say, rectangle).  Bow before it and angrily smack the ground with bones in your hand.

Yes, rub the monolith... Don't make it awkward Dave, just rub it.

 

My game would never look like this.

Craftimals is an interesting little game though, a very cute interesting little game that certainly did provide me with some enjoyment before the tedious act of carrying up sacks of blocks began to wear in.  As such, Craftimals is more likely to appeal to kids or those who enjoy building crazy things in a video game using only squares. The co-op mode opens the possibility of playing the game with child, or child-like midget as well. This is most likely where Craftimals would shine best. Truth is, I wish the game had been worse as I had a great nickname lined up for it if it had been (Crapimals), but sadly, for me, I can’t use that and be genuine at the same time.  Craftimals may not be a great game for me, but the cute bright visuals, simple yet somewhat engaging gameplay and ability to get creative is sure to appeal to a very certain type of gamer. Unfortunately, I am just not that type of gamer.  If that sounds like something that you would enjoy, check it out.  If you are like me though and aren’t willing (or able) to spend hours making a masterpiece block by block, Craftimals likely won’t appeal to you.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: XBLIG
Time to completion: Not sure, didn’t quite build to the sun.
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: N/A – Copy furnished by Roppy Chop Studios
Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price: Can’t go lower.
Why you should buy it: Cartoon block tiger wearing a top hat, duh.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: You like your video games the same way you like your women; violent, dark and evil.

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About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.