Car safety should be the number one concern for any vehicle owner in the country, but what if the reverse was true and being as reckless as possible was the way forward? This is the kind of world that Ragdoll Physics game – Crash Test Launcher has us playing in; a world in which the aim is to drive as quickly as possible into the barrier up ahead in order to make your test dummy fly as far as possible. Distance-based games are rarely this innovative and detailed their approach to the genre, so Crash Test Launcher is extremely worthy of your attention for a few minutes to see what the fuss is all about.
The aim is simple: you must accelerate your vehicle as fast as possible towards the dead end that lies ahead. As you collide with the stop point, you will be sent flying into the air and your distance will be recorded, with larger distances being rewarded with more money at the end of each round. There are various objects littered underneath that will make you bounce much further than you would in a real crash such as birds in the air or Ryu (a character from Street Fighter that for some reason is there in abundance) who smashes you back up into the air to continue your bounce for another few seconds. You can click the mouse just before you land to apply more bounce to your movement as well. The round ends when you come to a complete halt by losing momentum or smashing into objects such as spikes.
Very much like another Ragdoll game we know very well – Ragdoll Achievement 2 that you can play at ragdollplanet.com, with CTL you have the opportunity to spend your money on upgrades to make your journeys more successful and lengthy every time. You can purchase items such as faster cars to make your initial ejection from the car more forceful, jet packs to temporarily allow you to prolong your journey, ejection tools that make you springier on your exit of the car, and even objects that reduce the loss of momentum when you hit objects. These upgrades ensure that you are able to achieve greater distances every time and in turn allow you to earn more and more money per round.
There are a total of four different sections of the environment to travel through, with each upgrade being essential in reaching larger distances ever time. Controlling the action is so easy it almost isn’t even a consideration for judging the game’s worth. The left and right directional keys let you move your car before your launch, and once the dummy is in the air you can make him move about a little and change his orientation by using the same keys. As you collect/purchase upgrades, they are assigned to the number keys so that you can use them quickly without having to navigate to a menu. The graphics in Crash Test Launcher aren’t exactly its selling point, but they are presented solidly enough to make the game enjoyable, and the colours/illustrations actually quite stylish for such simple game, with the contrast between the monochrome and the colourful aspects of the game are particularly pleasing to the eye. Also, if you get bored of the main game, there are mini-games that you can also get stuck into so the game has considerable replay value beyond the main gameplay mode. Aside from a few spelling errors and the fact that there really isn’t an end to the game as such (you can continue to play after you have all upgrades but there aren’t any rolling credits or anything), the game is an extremely fun title of the launch game genre from MaxGames and deserves to be recognised as such.