Review – Crayola Scoot
Prior to arriving at Los Angeles for E3 2018, I received an invitation from Outright Games to test two upcoming licensed titles. One of them was Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion and the other one was only known as “an upcoming Crayola game” at the time. Having grown up with a Crayola art app on my old Windows 95 PC, as well as tons of the brand’s crayons, I initially thought I was going to test a painting tool that would take advantage of the Switch’s touch screen (by the way Nintendo, start working on a new Mario Paint right now).
I was wrong. I was presented to an odd but very intriguing extreme sports game called Crayola Scoot. I didn’t have a lot of time to test the game, but it was enough to get me interested for the final product. Now that I have finally played the full game, I can safely say that while simple and flawed in quite a handful of aspects, I definitely wasn’t expecting to like Crayola Scoot as much as I did.
Crayola Scoot is what happens when you get the extreme sports gameplay from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, replace skateboards with scooters, add in the cel-shaded visuals and musical ‘tude from Jet Set Radio, plus the color and territorial usage of paint from Splatoon and throw everything inside a blender. The result is quite possibly the best Tony Hawk-esque game since the first Skate game, most likely.
Crayola Scoot‘s visuals are not oozing with detail, but they are extremely colorful as a game based off a crayon company should be and retain a very solid framerate. I’m glad the game didn’t crash with the amount of paint scattered throughout the entire map. The soundtrack is one of this game’s best features, as it features a cool assortment of funky tunes that wouldn’t feel out of place in either Jet Set Radio game or another game with an equally excellent soundtrack released this year, Trailblazers. Weirdly enough, that game also had Splatoon as one of its main sources of inspiration. Huh…
The gameplay here is a blast and it can vary from mode to mode, even though some core concepts stay the same. Whenever you perform a trick, you spread ink around the park. Not only is this ink helpful to make you gain territory in some modes, but it also acts as a means to resupply your scooter’s boost meter as well as maintain your combo streak whenever you’re inside your “area”. Since there’s no way to perform manuals in this game, running through your splash of paint acts as a substitute of sorts.
Not only is there a turf war mode reminiscent of Splatoon, but you can also compete for points just like in classic Tony Hawk games, as well as an open racing mode in which players compete to catch crayons as quickly as possible. There is also a version of H-O-R-S-E called aptly named “S-C-O-O-T”, as well as the possibility to play tag with other players. All of those modes feature splitscreen multiplayer support. Crayola Scoot doesn’t feature online support of any kind, however, and that’s a bummer.
While the game tries to provide a Tony Hawk-ish feel, meaning that it tries to offer a simpler and more arcade-friendly extreme sports progression system, with two-minute long contests and less realistic physics, it does feature the same ollie and trick system from the Skate games. That means that you jump and perform tricks with the right analog stick. For those unaware of the Skate series, those games featured a more complex trick system, focusing less on million-point combos and more on realistic gameplay. It’s weird that there are three different buttons for the same turbo boost functionality in your scooter, but no alternative way to jump or even a command customization option.
It doesn’t help that the joycon’s button layout isn’t the most comfortable for a game that uses the right analog stick at all times, even though it’s excellent on a Pro Controller. Including a less newcomer-friendly gameplay system in a game that’s clearly aimed for a younger demographic. This was an odd choice to say the least, even though you can get used to the system after a while. The fact that there are some really challenging sections against “scooter legends” of sorts makes the game actually best catered towards Tony Hawk and Skate veterans than newcomers. That’s what I wasn’t expecting. I grew up with those games and would have never expected Crayola Scoot to actually recreate the their controls and feel to such a respectable degree as it did.
Who would have ever thought that the best virtual extreme sports experience in years would come from a licensed Crayola game? I’m not trying to criticize Crayola Scoot by the way. It’s actually a lot more fun than its elevator pitch and licensed game pedigree might suggest. It’s got some major flaws such as its really confusing control scheme, but its innovative mechanics and overall charm are more than enough to please extreme sports gaming fans that are still furious over the fact that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 sinfully exists.
Runs at a steady framerate and it’s extremely colorful, not to mention charming. It’s not graphically complex, but it gets the job done.
A very confusing control scheme at first, with some weird button placements and combinations. Once you take a while to get used to them, you’ll realize the gameplay is actually quite fluid and responsive.
The voice samples aren’t anything special, but the soundtrack is a lot more entertaining than I would have ever expected, retaining a little Jet Set Radio vibe.
Fun Factor: 8.0
It might not have the depth of older extreme sports games, but Crayola Scoot‘s simple gameplay and arcadey vibe are a lot more entertaining than it seems.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Reviewed on Switch.
Crayola Scoot is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.
A copy of Switch was provided by the publisher.