Crash Team Rumble – 4 v 4 Arena Battle with a Spin

Crash Team Rumble Cover

Earlier this month during Summer Game Fest, we had the opportunity to check out Crash Team Rumble. Although we did not have a scheduled appointment, the Toys for Bob staff welcomed us and invited us to check out the game. At first, I was skeptical about checking out an arena-based battler, since lately, I have grown increasingly frustrated with team games and have strayed away from them.

Jumping into any team game to play a few matches is fine, but without communication from teammates, it can become exhausting. With the Summer Game Fest demo, we had the opportunity to communicate with one another and work as a team. This left me with a positive view of the game and made me want to play more of it. Because of this, I jumped and spun at the chance of reviewing Crash Team Rumble. So how was playing the game outside of the conference setting? Let’s look at the good and bad parts in our Crash Team Rumble review.

Crash Team Rumble
Developer: Toys for Bob
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (Reviewed)
Release Date: June 20th, 2023
Players: 1 to 8
Price: $29.99 USD



Let’s start out with the negative gameplay aspects and get them out of the way. When you first boot up the game, it greets you with a tutorial on how to play. The tutorial basically holds your hand so you can learn the core mechanics. On the one hand, this is nice for the developers to do. On the other hand, the tutorial did not appear to be skippable and we were forced to complete all the tasks before we could be free. Now, once you complete the tutorial you are free to do whatever you want, but this is where the negative aspects come in. What the tutorial doesn’t teach you are character roles and special abilities.

At the moment, the game only features two match types, competitive and private matches. Since a ton of players are just jumping in, the match lobbies can be unbalanced. The reasons why a ton of match lobbies have been unbalanced are 1. The Deluxe Edition gives players 25 levels on the battle pass which affects their in-game level. 2. Most new players will jump into a lobby to try out new characters or randomly A.F.K. Thankfully, in those scenarios, matches go by rather faster, but losing isn’t fun for those who are trying.

The third and most aggravating aspect falls along the lines of teamwork. If you are playing solo, there are limited ways to communicate with your team. You can highlight objectives and ask for help. During our time playing the game, only one other person was using a mic and they were blasting music the whole time. Additionally, since the lobby pool is rather small at the time, you will most likely face off against the same people repeatedly; sometimes these lobbies will change, but if there is a group playing together, it can lead to a frustrating time. 

Crash Team Racing

Positives/Minor Grievances

As we previously discussed, Crash Team Rumble features a tutorial mode that will teach players the game. Now despite complaining about not being able to skip the tutorial, the tutorial gives a decent understanding of the game’s core mechanics. Out of all of the tutorials I’ve ever played, this was one of the more in-depth ones and helps prepare others for competitive matchups. In fact, I wish more players would complete the tutorials rather than run around like lost animals.

Crash Team Rumble features nine maps and eight base characters. When players first start the game, only one blocker, scorer, and booster are available to choose from. As you complete challenges for the position, you have the ability to unlock new characters. At the moment, the game’s roster does not feel deep enough, at least in the scorer role. For Booster and Blocker, each character feels like they have their own unique abilities; Scorers on the other hand feel like they borrow from one anothers kit in some variation or another.

When you are building your 4 v 4 teams, lobbies are typically not balanced, and some people will pick a character because they want to rather than fill a position. Thankfully, the ability to score or block with each character is helpful. Only the booster has a truly unique ability being able to grab more relic keys; they could then choose to use those keys either on common or epic relic stations (shrines).

Anyone could contribute to these stations but only the one who deposited the final key needed would get the ability from the station. These stations can swing the tide of battle and can be a good contention point. Another thing that can swing the tide of battle is the gem boosters; these boosters grant you additionalWumpa fruit when depositing. Prior to each match, players get to choose what skills they want to equip. Players have seven skills to choose between, but only two are unlocked at first. Like the characters, skills must be unlocked by completing in-game challenges.

Takeaways from Crash

By having players complete challenges to unlock skills and characters, keeps players more engaged. The only problem with this is once everything has been unlocked, players seem less inclined to try hard and choose to do their own thing. In fact, we noticed multiple afking in lobbies once they had unlocked every character and skill. At the moment, it is rather difficult for players to report these afkers since they don’t appear in the recent players’ category for a few matches.

In the matches when you have a team that coordinates the team comp, matches feel a lot smoother. Sadly, when everyone plays their own thing, this is where matches feel one-sided; thankfully in those situations, the matches typically end quickly. Most matches last at most seven minutes with the shorter matches only taking up three minutes of your time. At the moment, the game’s player pool is fairly small so there are times when there is difficulty finding a match.

Crash Team Rumble (CTR) can be a fun game to play when you have a team to play with but like other multiplayer games, playing solo can lead to easy burnout. The character pool at launch is decent, but without support and additions, the game will easily burn out. CTR‘s battle pass gives something for players to grind for but doesn’t feel sufficient enough to keep them engaged with them being primarily cosmetics.

The core gameplay is there with a variety of maps, different characters, and different stations. The ultimate deciding factors if the game will succeed are developer support and community acceptance. The developers will need to release new content in a frequent manner. In regards to community acceptance, the game’s survivability depends on the fans. The core gameplay is solid and has a good bit of content to start with but the game can become old fast. The game looks and feels like a Crash Bandicoot game.

Crash Team Rumble Deployment

If you enjoy multiplayer battle arenas and are a fan of Crash Bandicoot, then Crash Team Rumble is a game you will most likely enjoy; if you like an occasional multiplayer match-up, CTR can be a fun game to play but there are a variety of other options. Achievement hunters should pick up Crash Team Rumble because the achievements are fairly easy to earn and you can have fun doing so.

Crash Team Rumble was reviewed on an Xbox Series X using a copy provided by Activision. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Crash Team Rumble was released on June 20th, 2023 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

, ,

The Verdict: 7.5

The Good

  • Good variety of cosmetics to unlock
  • Good amount of characters and maps at launch
  • Controls are easy to understand and use with
  • Tutorial gives a good explanation of how the game works
  • Unbalanced matches can end quickly

The Bad

  • Tutorial can not be skipped originally
  • Once characters and skills are unlocked there is nothing to try for outside of cosmetics.
  • Matchmaking can be unbalanced if groups are formed
  • Only competitive matches at the time.
  • No Split screen options


Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.

Where'd our comments go? Subscribe to become a member to get commenting access and true free speech!