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(Don’t) Buckle Up
Crash Test Launcher is a fixed-point projectile launcher game that reminds us of the incredibly important practice of putting on your seatbelt, and indeed reminds us of the need for road safety precautions in general. Though I’ve already managed to make the game sound like an interactive road-safety public service announcement, I would like to show you that in fact it is an incredibly entertaining, distance-based, projectile-launch game that turns crashing a car into a precise art.
Regulations be Damned
Crash Test Launcher puts you behind the wheel of a car containing a crash test dummy that’s about to be put through its paces in a manner that pushes it way past regulatory requirements for a standard crash test dummy. Using your choice of left and right/’A’ and ‘D’ directional controls, you make the car accelerate towards the crash zone with as much speed as possible, using ‘Space’ or clicking the mouse for a bit of nitro-fuelled acceleration. Once you collide with the barrier, the dummy is launched into the air, after which you are able to move it a little with the directional controls, or put a little spring in his bounce by pressing the ‘nitro’ button just before you make contact with the floor. Both height and damage levels are recorded, but the most important aspect is the distance, which is the whole point of the game in the first place.
Gravity, Glass, Rockets, and Ryu
You passage through the air doesn’t go entirely uninterrupted, however. There are various helps and hindrances present on your journey, including the occasional glass wall to smash through, flying birds, walls of spikes, anti-gravity power-ups, trajectory-boosting explosive pads on the floor, men of intimidating size holding baseball bats, and also Ryu from Street Fighter just waiting to martial arts you into oblivion which incidentally helps with your distance. Sadly, we don’t see a hadouken in this instance.
Your airborne journey also gets a little assistance in the form of upgrades and power-ups that can be purchased with prize money (which increases based on factors like distance), with items like rockets, explosives, armour, grenades and better vehicles to increase the speed at which you crash the car in the first place.
The game offers some different modes of gameplay in addition to the main game, incorporating a little bit of mini-game action involving the accuracy-based ‘Pool Jumper’, destructive ‘Unbreakable’ and the messy ‘Glass Breaker’ game.
Max Game's Crash Test Launcher is a delightfully original take on the well-established genre of distance-based games on the market. Longevity and incentive to play is created by the mini-games and the ability to upgrade, making for a very well-produced, fantastically-developed game.