There are few things more satisfying than charging up a punch, smashing your friend off screen in a brawler and then turning to face them on the sofa. Big Crown: Showdown is built on these very moments, creating instances where even the best of friends will end up shouting and groaning at each other as they fight to not only survive, but take out everyone else on the level.
Featuring four-player local and online multiplayer combat, Big Crown takes four Medieval knights across fifteen crazy levels, integrating simple one-button combat with 3D platforming. I played Big Crown at EGX Rezzed last Friday and while staying on track and making it to the end of the level may appear like a relatively straightforward task, its a lot harder than it looks! Each player has the ability to punch the others by simply tapping a button on the controller however, holding down this button for a bit longer enables you to charge your attack. Good timing will ensure that another unlucky player will go spiralling off the side of the track, removing one of their hearts and awarding you a point.
In the set of matches that I played, the first person that made it to twenty points won the game, with points being awarded for knocking other players off the level as well as a few bonus ones if you managed to make it to the purple portal at the end of each stage. Bearing this in mind, you can probably imagine how chaotic our games began, with everyone opting for all-out attack mode as each person frantically mashed on the attack button and raced for the end. Although Big Crown also equips each player with a shield that will deflect any attack, consequently plummeting players with ill-timed charged attacks to their death. As we found our feet, use of the shield became far more important, with some players storming across each platform to camp with the shield, while others baited people into charging an attack before deflecting it at the final second.
Big Crown: Showdown’s levels offer a decent amount of variety and although it’s clear that a Medieval theme is the focus here, there are plenty of other periods of history and cultures that pop up along the way. There are three biomes: Shivershire - a cold region entombed in a huge glacier, Kasseltoon - a town and castle floating in the sky, and Zoggysands - the desert region. With five levels in each biome and with every level fitted with unique hazards, we can expect to see some interesting features to shake up the gameplay, when it releases.
In the preview build I found myself sliding across fragile icy stepping stones, burnt and frozen by spouts that sprung up from the floor, and timing my jumps across fast-moving platforms. It’ll be interesting to see how crazy later hazards are in the final build of the game, but from what I’ve seen it seems like Hyper Luminal Games have got the platformer aspects of the game on point. In addition, mixing a brawler with 3D platforming adds to the frantic feel and forces you to stay alert. Learning the layout of each of the levels will certainly give players an advantage, which should make for some particularly exciting fights. By the end of our session, we had already witnessed a few instances where players had made it to the end of the level and were desperately jumping around trying to knock the other off while evading their attacks.
Big Crown: Showdown is scheduled to release on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later on this year, although the exact release date has not yet been confirmed. Hyper Luminal Games are also planning to release the game on the Nintendo Switch in Q1 2019.
Big Crown: Showdown was a great title to check out at EGX Rezzed and embodies all of things that I enjoy seeing at indie events. Created by a small independent games studio, this game opts for that silly kind of fun that will have players shouting in excitement and frustration. It’s a light-hearted little title with simple controls, making it accessible for a wide range of people, including children and families. I played the PC version of Big Crown and it ran very well so I have no complaints there, either. The game is not particularly intensive and its minimum requirements should be fine for most players. The only thing that slightly concerns me with this title is its depth and potential replayability. While I can see how the combat is slightly deeper than I initially thought with the inclusion of a charged attack and shield, I’m unsure whether this is enough to keep players interested for long periods of time. As a party game, this is shaping up to be a good pick, but I can’t see this holding players’ attention for longer sessions of play. Nonetheless, I look forward to checking in again when Big Crown releases later on this year.
Most Anticipated Feature
Unlocking the octopus hat and showing my friends whose boss!