At first blush, seeing the name Crayola Scoot, for some people, might conjure up images of a kid’s coloring game, or otherwise bring to mind many cringe-worthy licensed video games from a mostly bygone era. Don’t be fooled, however—Crayola Scoot is a worthy video game in its own right and should not be dismissed as simply a lame attempt to cash in on the biggest name in kid’s crayons. Rather, Crayola Scoot not only merges two of the best types of games from decades past in spectacular fashion, but it does so with simple-yet-deep controls and delivers ample challenge to those looking for something deeper.
As what can most simply be described as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater meets Splatoon, Crayola Scoot is essentially a game where, using your own custom-created character, you ride a scooter around themed skate parks and complete various task-based challenges. The similarities to the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise become quickly apparent, from the way you pull off tricks to the character and scooter customization options, and even to the combo, point-based challenges you’ll complete; the Splatoon influences, however, are equally felt right away, as colored ink—here, coined splat—spouts from your scooter anytime you complete a trick, and certain challenges and game modes center around splat coverage.
The main event players work toward in Crayola Scoot is winning the Color Cup in what boils down to climbing the in-game leaderboard by way of defeating other riders. Each time you level up, a new challenger will appear; if you accept their challenge, a H.O.R.S.E.-style competition—here, aptly named S.C.O.O.T.—will ensue. If you defeat the challenger, your rank will increase, and you do this until you get to the final challenger for the Cup.
While winning the Color Cup is the main goal of the game, the way you level up to get there is by completing the sixteen challenges in each of the three worlds, and challenges range from racking up the most points based on tricks to collecting the most crayons, and even covering the skate park in your color of splat within a set time limit. The latter, clearly a nod to Nintendo’s own Splatoon, is arguably the best of these challenges, but each presents its own unique twist that’s fun in its own way. Each challenge has three difficulty levels, and while Easy mode is a breeze once you’ve learned the basic mechanics of how to control your scooter and trick without wiping out, the Medium and Hard difficulty levels are unabashedly punishing and will take quite a bit of practice to master.
That said, the act of scooting and tricking is pure fun, whether practicing in the hub area or during any of the game’s challenges. Unlike pressing buttons to trick a la Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, tricking is entirely relegated to the left and right thumbsticks on both the Pro controller and split Joy-Cons. You can flick the right thumbstick upward to jump (or hold down the right thumbstick before flicking upward for bigger air) and, once you’re airborne, using different directional combinations with both thumbsticks can open up some pretty interesting combinations. While it is absolutely possible to wipe out by holding a trick out for too long, Crayola Scoot is far more forgiving than some if its inspirations. Oftentimes I would go to land on my head, but still successfully complete the trick, which would have amounted to a huge wipeout in one of the Tony Hawk games. Don’t take that to mean you can go nuts without consequence, but there is a certain amount of leeway the game gives you here. There also is opportunity to try out your moves consequence-free in the Trick Zone, and a handy reference sheet in the Trick Zone’s menu can show you all of the cool and, at times, absurd tricks to try on your next challenge run.
In terms of customization, there is quite a bit of room to make our character stand out. You can choose your character’s name, gender, and height, and there are a ton of options in terms of clothing as well. You can even customize your scooter with parts from defeating other riders which directly impact the stats of your scooter. Additionally, you can change your preferred splat color at any time, and this also dictates the color of your arms and hair, adding yet another layer of custom flair.
Visually, the game’s cel-shaded art style works well given its colorful nature, and it looks great in both docked and handheld modes. Though the game does appear to hit 60 frames per second at times, that rate isn’t consistent, as it usually sticks to around 30. It would have been nice to have the frame rate locked at a steady 30 to maintain stability, but the game still looks and feels great to play.
Crayola Scoot’s music feels a bit childish at times, though maybe that’s because I often felt myself yearning for the punk rock tunes of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, or even for Splatoon’s more techno-ambient soundtrack. It’s times like this where I wish Switch had Spotify integration, but that’s more a knock against the Switch than it is against the game.
Crayola Scoot also supports up to four-player local multiplayer, and you can choose between any of the various single-player challenges, or you can simply opt for a free play mode. While it would have been nice to have included an online multiplayer component, I can only imagine that relying on a peer-to-peer networking system would have potentially made the game’s inconsistent frame rate even worse. Single Joy-Con play is also supported, though the controls here vary slightly since you don’t have the second thumbstick for jumping, but this control scheme is effective all the same.
Crayola Scoot is a deceptively deep and innovative game that evokes the best of series like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Splatoon and wraps it all up in a single package that is an absolute blast to play. Though the frame rate can be a bit inconsistent at times and the lack of online multiplayer is somewhat of a letdown, Crayola Scoot is a great spiritual successor to the Tony Hawk games that stands to establish a series all its own.
Disclaimer: A review code for Crayola Scoot was provided by the game’s publisher.