Friday, 2 November 2018

To Become Dad reviews: Crayola Scoot for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4 and PC

Crayola Scoot is a new four-player game that's released today for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4 and PC, and we've been lucky enough to be one of the first families to review it. Pitched as a non-violent old school co-operative game, Scoot is Crayola’s first video game in 14 years and it creates the chance to get the whole family together on the sofa to beat the Scoot Legends in a rainbow of exciting events like Splatter Tag, Trick Run, and S.C.O.O.T.


Here's some of the cool things you can colourise and customise in Crayola Scoot:
  • Create and customize your own Crayola Scoot character and start your journey to becoming a scooter legend
  • Perform insane tricks and jumps to splash your colour and activate traps, boosts and shortcuts
  • Upgrade your scooter and your rider's style as you rise to fame and challenge for the championship
  • Keep it fresh with six team and solo events including Colour Frenzy, Crazy Crayons, Splatter Tag, S.C.O.O.T. and Trick Run
  • Challenge the outrageous Scoot Legends for the Crayola Colour Cup on 12 parks across three worlds
  • Leave your mark on each park by bringing mega-sized pieces of art to life on walls and on the ground. View your finished masterpieces at the conclusion of each level.
  • Splat your friends in four-player split-screen battles

With it being half term, Ste and Ethan have been spending some time getting to know the game and have put together the following review, sharing their thoughts and experience of playing this exciting new game...




I've been a gamer for many years, ever since my parents bought me an original Gameboy with Tetris way back in the day. So it was with great pride and satisfaction of a parenting job well done that Ethan seems to be really into his games as well. 

Some may scoff at the idea of a child so young playing games, but with plenty of studies to suggest playing games improves hand-eye coordination, mental acuity and helps a child develop their reading skills, I think it's great that Ethan has taken after me and my passion for playing. 

We started off small; a couple of minutes here, a level or two there. When he first tried Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch, he couldn't run in a straight line, was constantly looking at either the floor or the sky and he couldn't time jumps at all. In just a few short days, however, he was butt stomping and triple jumping like a pro and it wasn't long before he'd finished the whole game (and with very little daddy intervention). You couldn't believe how proud I was. 

Even if I don't believe that video games make you violent (in fact, I based my dissertation on it at uni), I've kept Ethan to playing fun, family friendly games such as Mario Kart, the various Lego games (Lego City Undercover and Lego Jurassic World his current favourites) and Stardew Valley. Anything fun and colourful is right up his street, so it was with great delight that he started playing 

Crayola Scoot, the newest game from Outright Games, available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. I own all three consoles (in fact, I've got the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, such is my obsession with gaming!), but we went with the Switch version of Crayola Scoot for the off-screen play and multiple controllers allowing us to play split screen (despite my left Joycon having the dreaded drift issue that plagued many early Switch consoles).

Outright Games make a lot of licensed products, having previously released games based on Ben 10, Adventure Time and Hotel Transylvania. They're not a publisher I'd heard of, but they pride themselves on being a "family business making family entertainment". 

The aim of the game is colour - as you might expect from a game licenced around crayons. You whizz your little character round on a scooter, painting the skate parks and tracks in your chosen colour. In some modes the aim is to get the most coverage, much like Splatoon. In others, it's about collecting the most crayons, or getting the highest score by doing tricks. It's simple, it's colourful and it's fun, according to my five year old. 

Now, I'll say right up front that Crayola Scoot is clearly not aimed at me, a seasoned gamer more at home with Red Dead Redemption 2 and World of Warcraft. Crayola Scoot seems to be a Frankenstein's monster of fairly obvious influence: part Tony Hawk's, part Jet Set Radio and, most of all, part Splatoon, a game we're big fans of in our house, where it's known as "Splat Splat". In fact, the Splatoon influence is so strong, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was one of those ripoff shovelware games that plagued the Wii at the height of its popularity, but thankfully it's a little deeper than that.



But given that this game is not aimed at me, I'll give you Ethan's verdict first and then my more detailed review after. 

Ethan:


What did you like most?
Getting new costumes and scooting around. 

Was there anything you didn't enjoy?
No, nothing. 

What score would you give it out of ten, where ten is really, really good, and one is really, really bad?
A shark scooter. 

(I then spent some time trying to explain the concept of an "out of ten" scoring system). 

So, what score would you give it?
Three. 

Three means pretty bad, did you think it was pretty bad?
No. 

So what number would you give it?
Seven. 

So there you have it. Clearly it's a winner with the child, but he's disappointed there doesn't appear to be a shark scooter. Can't win them all

Daddy's review:


Upon booting the game up, you're asked to create a character using a fairly rudimentary character creation menu. You can choose boy or girl, the colour of your hair and a few other bits before you're plonked into a tutorial which goes through the basics with you. 

Now, Ethan absolutely loves creating characters, changing costumes or otherwise customising his experience. I've spent thousands of in-game gold in World of Warcraft because Ethan suddenly decides, usually whilst I'm in the middle of  doing something else, that my character needs a new haircut or to change his armour style, and for him, the sole focus of Super Mario Odyssey isn't rescuing Princess Peach and defeating Bowser, it's getting enough coins to unlock a new hat or outfit. 

The rather perfunctory character creation in Crayola Scoot, therefore, left Ethan fairly disappointed. I explained that, much like Splatoon, there were in-game shops where he could spend coins awarded for completing events to buy new gear and parts for his scooter, but upon entering one, he was again a bit miffed to see how limited the selection was, with most new helmets or Scooter parts being barely distinguishable from each other. Characters elsewhere in the game are more interesting: a scooting dragon pirate, what looks like a zombie and a few other more whacky creations meant Ethan quickly ditched his own character in favour of playing one of them instead. 

Once we'd picked an outfit he liked and began the tutorial, we suddenly discovered the controls were a bit more fiddly than we'd have liked. You have to scoot by holding down ZR (presumably R2 on PS4 and RT on Xbox One). You move with left stick. You brake with A and boost with B. So far, so simple. 

But then, to jump, you need to either tap the right stick up to do a quick hop, or press it down and then flick it up to do a charged jump, which is quite difficult to do whilst you're holding ZR to move, B to boost and turning with the left stick. Add in tricks, which are performed with the left stick whilst airborne, and then advanced tricks which are performed with the right stick whilst doing something with the left stick, and things get very fiddly very quickly. 

Your scooter doesn't spend that long in the air; the courses are based on skate parks so are all shallow bowls and ramps rather than long stretches to build up speed, helped somewhat by the boost system which drains quickly but can be recharged more slowly over time or more quickly by scooting over your own paint on the floor. 

But even with this, holding ZR to accelerate, moving left stick to steer, holding down B to boost, prepping a big jumped by holding down the right stick all at once requires some finger gymnastics, compounded by flicking the right stick up as you hit the top of a ramp or bowl to get air, then spinning the left stick and doing some more complex motions with the right stick to score big points. 

It's super complicated for a game that is otherwise so simple and clearly aimed at children, and it wasn't long before Ethan was getting fed up of not being able to do what the game was asking of him (this was particularly egregious when it came to trying to grind, which requires you to hold down ZL to mount a rail, often having to jump first to get onto it, then boost to maintain momentum), which he couldn't seem to get to grips with to the point that he asked to play something else - not a great sign five minutes into a brand new game. 

I made him persevere, however, and got him past the tutorial to open up the game proper. In single player, the aim is to win the colour cup by competing in - and winning - a series of events against computer opponents. There is no online multiplayer, only local split screen, so longevity is limited unless you have a few people willing to put up with the fiddly controls. 

Crayola Scoot's graphics are serviceable and brightly coloured enough to catch the attention of a young'un. Ethan picked orange as chosen paint colour and had great fun zooming about, covering as much of the floor as he possibly could with his favourite colour. Once he'd figured out that he needed to activate a number of special areas around each stage to give better coverage, he had more purpose and was more targeted in his approach, helping improve his score. 



He had more difficulty in the trick games, where the aim is to score the most points by performing tricks. The trick system is based around a multiplier, so performing successful and successive tricks increases your multiplier and thus boosts your score. Due to the control issues mentioned above, Ethan struggled with this for a while and, by the time he started to get to grips with it, he'd become bored and wanted to go play Splatoon instead (a game he enjoys immensely).

Ah well. He is five and, given time, his skills and attention span will no doubt increase, so it will b e a game we return back to.

So, overall, Crayola Scoot was a mild success in our household. He's not asked to play it again, but that's because he's currently really into Lego Jurassic World (in fact, he only has a couple of levels left before he finishes the game). Perhaps once that's out of the way he'll give it another go. 

Verdict
Simple, fun but flawed, Crayola Scoot wears its influences loud and proud but fails to differentiate itself from the games is so clearly wants to be. Fiddly controls, limited customisation and low replayability mean that it hasn't become a firm favourite just yet, but Ethan did enjoy what he played of it and the idea behind it is entertaining and colourful. 

Score
Six splats out of ten 6/10 




* Game received for purposes of review - all opinions are our own.


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