Crunch Time!, An In-Depth Review

7.2 TCG RATING
Gameplay: 7/10
Sounds: 8/10
Graphics: 6/10

Interesting style of game play. | Very fast learning curve.

No ability to build your own deck. | No multiplayer mode.

Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

$1.99 on Android and $1.99 on PC (Steam).

September 9,2014

English

Crunch Time! is a turn-based strategy card game, where your goal is to finish developing your video game project before your opponent. It’s a unique take on the card based strategy genre with industry related humor and phrases.

But is it a good game? Read on to find out…

All-the-Developer-Cards

Your developer cards are the key to victory. They’ll help progress the completion of your video game project. Some are faster than others, much like their real life counterparts!

Gameplay

In Crunch Time!, you start the game with a video game project card that you need to finish before your opponent. You can also see their project so it’s easy to measure their progress against your’s.

You have five categories to complete; Design, Programming, Art, Sound and Testing. Each of these will be given a random value for completion. It’s then up to you, using the cards you’re dealt to complete them before the AI. You are given five cards at the start of the game with which to help progress these categories towards completion. These can range from the relevant job specific staff cards that take a number of turns to advance a category by one point, to cards that will slow the pace of your opponent’s development or quicken the pace of yours.

Advancing-Your-Progress-With-a-Party

Throwing your staff a party will often boost morale. The same happens in Crunch Time!, and will speed up the progress of your game development. It’s that Call of Duty, er, I mean, “Duty Call” that inspires them…

You can play as many of these cards per round as you like, as long as there is a valid target or interaction with another card or category. The only limit imposed is that your can only play one staff department card per turn (unless a card helps you to play more). Then at the start of each round you’ll refill your hand size to five.

I found that there is an element of randomness to the cards you’ll receive and this limits the amount of input you can have on your overall strategy. That doesn’t necessarily make this a bad feature though. Therefore often you will be holding onto a particular card for the right moment when it can be used most skillfully.

What’s great about all of the cards in Crunch Time! is their authenticity in representing real video game industry references. You’ll have staff whose names are synonymous with technical jargon or hardware, Bug cards that will cause massive problems to development, and even Developer Call cards that can either help completion of your video game or use it offensively to slow down your opponent’s progress. I found this to be a great design feature of the game and it made me smile at times when playing due to the tongue in cheek humor of the game.

Opponent-Completing-a-Category

Completing all of the development tasks will take time and skillful play of your developers. You’ll have to try to not get frozen out by your opponent.

Modes and Features

Unfortunately, Crunch Time! has only two modes. The first is a tutorial mode that is layered into the actual game that helps teach the fundamentals of the game. The second is the main game itself and as explained before, it’s simply a case of play your cards right and hope for the best.

There is no multiplayer mode within the game and neither is there any deckbuilding. This limits the shelf life of this game a lot, so be aware of that before committing to purchasing the game.

Opponent-Freezing-You

Getting frozen out of your development progress will cause massive disruptions to your play. There are cards than can counteract this, but you’ll need room in your hand to hopefully obtain them.

Strategy

Despite being a simple game at its core, Crunch Time! can surprise you with the amount of strategy required to win. I was taken back by this in my first game when I lost quite badly to the AI as I had adopted the wrong strategy throughout the game. I was playing all the cards I could every turn without really thinking about what was on the board for me to influence.

On the second play-through, I had learnt from that mistake and managed to win. What I found is that you’ll want to save your big cards, such as those that advance your cause or the cards that stop your opponent freezing your progress. This will mean you’ll gain a big advantage and that you’ll worry less about whether your opponent will interrupt your plays.

The one thing you cannot factor in is the randomness of the cards you’ll receive on the next draw. This can sometimes leave you without a specific department card and will do more than your opponent can to slow the progress. I had in one game finished all other departments and had even progressed far beyond their necessary requirement, but not yet got a single card for the Design category. This is something that could maybe be addressed by the developer, unless it’s deliberate so you’re opponent can catch up to make it a more challenging experience.

Setting-a-New-Record

Once the game is over, the winning video game is added to the scoreboard. This gives the game some replay value, as you’ll always want to beat that high score just one more time…

Final Thoughts

Crunch Time! is a fun game and I liked it’s simplicity. I loved the fact that I could easily pick it up and play without knowing too much about its mechanics. The first intro screen gave me enough information to jump right in with the action. It would be nice if you could change the deck a little and perhaps streamline the cards so as to eliminate some of the randomness, but if you take it for what it is as a limited experience, the game can be a fun, short distraction for a small price tag.

Perhaps with more popularity this game could see some expansion and with that the ability to build your own deck. I hope this to be the case as I really would like to keep playing this game in the future. If you like quick games that can be played over short trips or just for a little bit of fun from time to time, Cruch Time! is a great contender. Check it out!

For more screenshots, click here.

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Zac Phoenix
Author: Zac Phoenix View all posts by
Zac Phoenix graduated with First Class Honors in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics and has been playing strategy card games since childhood. He has a keen interest in the underlying mechanics and player interactions of trading card games, as well as tabletop game design in the digital space. He also designs card games in his spare time.

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