As the name implies, Craftimals: Build to the Sun has you taking control of adorable square animals to build your way to the sun. You have to see for yourself what happens when you do reach the sun, but that’s if you can make it that far. The environments are very minimal with a simple blue sky that progressively gets darker the higher you up you go with the occasional set of clouds. It has a static feel with no animation whatsoever. The music, although not obstructive is on a loop track, and after a 20-minute build section, I found myself muting the game.
On the ground are 2 barrels of infinite blocks. Starting off you can only carry a small set amount, before you have to travel back down and collect more blocks. Hitting checkpoints increases the amount you can carry as well as unlock new block colors and hats for your chubby block-building creature — and who doesn’t love hats? While you don’t have to build to the sun, you could just build pictures and basically do whatever you want as the game is more like a blank canvas than anything. Going higher simply unlocks more blocks, more hats and more colors.
It’s a 2D platformer/crafting game where the objective is to build steps to reach the sun while collecting new powers and hats along the way. There are no enemies, no time limits or anything; the sky is the limit, literally. The controls are simple as you are able to place blocks in a full 360 degrees as well as destroying any blocks you want. Jumping feels precise and not floaty for a platformer, while holding down the button will have your animal bouncing around like a lunatic. This does help when you have to climb over 300 blocks to the top, but one bad jump and you could be facing a much higher climb back up. You fall very slowly to the bottom due to the inclusion of a parachute, but it may be too small as it could take upwards of minutes to fall all the way back to the bottom.
The game has local co-op split-screen multiplayer. Originally there was an issue, but it was quickly patched and now co-op is the best way to the play the game. Playing with someone else means more blocks to work with at one time and is the best way to quickly build a path to the stars, or have simple fun by destroying blocks your friend is standing on to watch them fall.
Playing solo, it is best to play Craftimals for no more than a few minutes each day. Spending 20 minutes or more alone, climbing to the top, placing the blocks and dropping back down over and over gets…well…boring. Adding a second player remedies this, but even then after awhile things start to feel tiring. Spending 5 minutes to climb to the top only to have to drop all the way to the bottom is a complete time sunk. I’m at the point where I fall for over 30 seconds to each the bottom, it’s almost like a bad loading screen, but when played in tiny intervals, Craftimals does have some enjoyment with it’s open ended building and hats. Every game should have hats.Note: Craftimals: Build to the Sun was reviewed on Xbox 360. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.