CreatorCrate from developer Jori Ryan and publisher CreatorCrate Games is a remarkably low priced indie title available on Steam that attempts to do a lot of things. Does it do these things well though? That is entirely up for debate because of multiple factors.
In CreatorCrate, players will take on the role of the Creator Crate. This is a fast, grabby hands robot that can, well, become a crate. It’s definitely creative, that’s for sure. The story of CreatorCrate is as barebones as it gets. Players will take on the role of the Creator Crate and try to escape a massive, circular space station while wreaking havoc. Players can choose their path to take in the space station since there are a range of options available. The narrative doesn’t really get much deeper than escaping, though you can read text from humans that try to destroy you as you progress through the space station.
Gameplay in CreatorCrate involves moving your robot around and platforming through the space station. Players will be able to use their claw-grip hand to grab onto objects and use these objects too. You can fire weapons or pick up and throw objects. Alternatively, players can also use their grabby hand to grab onto an object or piece of matter and absorb it. The CreatorCrate then stores this as energy which can be used to create an object later that is mapped to 3 buttons. This means that you can collect enough matter energy and store it up for use later in solving a puzzle or defeating an enemy. Ran out of ammo for a weapon? Simply absorb the weapon and map it to a specific button, then re-materialise it later and it will have ammo again. Need something heavy to depress a pressure sensitive switch? Simple materialise a vending machine and the problem is solved.
All of the above sounds great but where CreatorCrate stumbles is in its execution. For some baffling reason, the physics in the game is truly out of whack. Players will struggle with trying to grab objects and throw them using either mouse and keyboard or a controller. Both sets of controls are a nightmare to get to grips with if you’re trying to throw an object. This could be mitigated with a simpler option to just press a button to fire an object instead of trying to swing the arm around and launch it with forward momentum using the mouse or right analog stick on a controller.
This same level of jank also applies to yourself as the Creator Crate since you can use the arm to grab onto light fixtures or other objects and propel yourself forward or backward. It’s hit and miss and can be frustrating in action. This frustration also applies to the absorption mechanic since you may accidentally overwrite the type of matter that you absorbed with a different type when trying to simply grab onto something if you press the wrong button. You can lock your matter blueprints though but this isn’t explained in the tutorial.
Graphically, Creator Crate has a rather visually pleasing aesthetic and while the game is clearly very distinctly indie, it looks like a lot of effort was put into the space station environments and objects. Coupling these environments with the Creator Crate’s ability to materialise new objects and solve puzzles using the environment and you have a solid recipe for success.
The soundtrack used in CreatorCrate can become slightly grating though with a dubstep and electro beat playing in the background that may not be to everyone’s tastes. Sound effects in the game are fine though and the game’s chaotic explosions feature quite a lot along with the weapon sounds.
CreatorCrate also has this high speed, high stakes feel to it. Players can move at a really fast pace and when using the crate’s hand to grab onto things and propel themselves forward, the game’s camera tracks you with that same level of speed. It’s great because it helps speed up the action especially if you just died and respawned at a checkpoint further away.
Dying and respawning does change up the level layout somewhat which helps keep things fresh in Creator Crate. Progressing through CreatorCrate, players will face off against tougher foes and have some really enjoyable platforming to get through. It’s great that this can be done at high speeds which isn’t something you typically see in platformers unless it’s an on-rails segment. A typical run through CreatorCrate will take you around 4-6 hours but be prepared to die repeatedly during this. Things in this game really do get chaotic.
Overall, for a one-person developed game, CreatorCrate does a lot of really good things and has some fun mechanics. The concept is great and the game is clearly well structured. If the physics and controls can be tightened and simplified to make using the grab hand easier, CreatorCrate will excel as a solid indie platformer. We recommend giving it a try if you’re a fan of platformer titles though do be warned, you should definitely play the tutorial first and take note of the extremely wild physics involved with using the grab arm.
A review code for CreatorCrate was provided to Gameblur by the publisher
- Large Space Station
- Good ideas and concept
- Cartoony visuals
- Repetitive nature of the game