Crayola Scoot – Xbox One Review
Slather, rinse, repeat
Some of the best things in life are weird combos. For instance, I bet the dude who first pitched salted caramel got laughed out of the meeting. Who’s laughing now? (not me – I’ve lost most of my teeth to salted caramel). So when I got wind of Crayola Scoot and it’s crazy, genre mashing pitch, I was intrigued. The game combines action sports – in this case, scooting (which to my untrained eye is indistinguishable from skateboarding) and, well, is Splatoon a genre? So, does it have a splash of colour, or does this one fade out?
In some ways, Crayola Scoot is a lot of fun. As you’d expect from a Crayola themed title, it’s a maelstrom of colour, rich, vibrant eye popping colour aided by 4K visuals and Xbox One X enhancements. It looks great; the kind of title people will stop and admire.
Gameplay is designed around three worlds, all with their own themed skate parks and quirks. It’s no Tony Hawk – more a simplified version of Skate in which flicks of the right stick will produce tricks. Tricks lead to the games gimmick (and this is where the comparison to Nintendo’s underrated gem Splatoon comes in). You’ll spray distinctly coloured paint as you pull off tricks, the bigger the trick, the bigger the splash. Much of the gameplay centres round this mechanic as you compete to paint the town red (or whatever your colour of choice is). Much like Skate, every moment you spend not doing tricks is a moment wasted, especially in those competitive moments against AI or friends.
Controls are pretty good. Grinding is confined to a press of the Y button, and is pretty easy to pull off. It reminded me of Jet Set Radio in that regard – once you’re grinding, you’re all set, no balance required. Grinding is a great way to navigate the parks and locate the various control points which spew paint (or goo, whatever) and allow you to gain a foothold. Tricks are performed with various flicks of the right stick. Handy hints appear on loading screens with guides, but I was able to meet most challenges by randomly twisting the stick.
Gaining a foothold is important in most of the games modes. Some will demand you race, some will make you hunt crayons scattered throughout a park, some will have you tricking like made to generate more paint than your opponents. The control points become hotly contested in this mode – control all of them and you’ll create a ‘wonder’ which basically daubs the whole arena in your colour. It looks great, and is actually quite rewarding to pull off. Progress through enough of these challenges, and you’ll encounter the games bosses in a game of Scoot. These boss encounters are basically trick contests; one of you sets a trick score, the other has to beat it. Fail, and get the first letter – spell out Scoot (having lost five challenges) and you lose.
All three worlds are unlocked pretty early in the game, each with 48 challenges to complete. Sadly, they aren’t unique challenges and the game modes do get a bit repetitive. Plenty of upgrades are available, some cosmetic, some impacting on gameplay. The latter are quite well thought out; most will boost one stat while compromising another, forcing you to put some though into your play style. These upgrades add to the longevity, as do the one to three star ratings available on each level. They don’t completely shake up the repetitive nature of the game, but they help. A little.
Perhaps as a result of this being a devoutly family friendly title, multiplayer is restricted to local only, no online MP. I haven’t been able to test out multiplayer at all, but the various battles against the AI suggest that local MP could be a lot of fun. Still, the exclusion of Xbox Live is a shame and could have added some life to the game long after the single player campaign had lost its sparkle.
Ultimately, Crayola Scoot is all its own thing. Sure, it’s a tad derivative, but the influences of Splatoon and Skate combine to make something unique and enjoyable. The lack of variety in the game modes and absence of online multiplayer are obvious flaws. That said, it’s an easy game to recommend, but maybe not at the launch price of £34.99. Pick this one up on sale and you might scratch that action sports itch which this generation of titles has neglected.
Many thanks to Outright Games for the review code.