Sawbuck Gamer

Crashed Lander

Propane Propeller

In Crashed Lander, it’s not the fall that kills you.

By Matt Kodner • March 19, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

Bas Lansdorp, a Dutch engineer, has been trying for the last decade to establish a manned colony on Mars. The main restriction thus far has been the astronomical price, not necessarily the technology. His solution? Create a reality TV show around the colony to secure additional financing. And yet, with all that fancy Hollywood money, it would still be a one-way trip, condemning his stars to a red burial. Coming home is too expensive. But that’s where Crashed Lander comes in with its own economical solution: propane and propane accessories.

Paying homage to both the 1999 Dreamcast gem Crazy Taxi and the stumbling-Olympian simulator QWOP, Crashed Lander puts you in control of a bare-bones spacecraft propelled by four tanks of propane. Hank Hill would surely be proud. To complete each level, you guide your vessel through treacherous narrow passages from one landing pad to the next. While the controls are fickle—each propane tank is triggered with a separate key—there’s also a forgiving autopilot mode.

The real challenge sets in during your descent to the landing pad. Come down with too much oomph, and your tanks will explode—it doesn’t take much to have too much oomph. There’s a considerable workmanship visible in the three levels available in the browser version. (The free downloadable version includes a fourth level that is downright nasty.) The locations feel remarkably desolate, and there are just enough futuristic sound effects and visual doodads to make the venture appealingly sci-fi. Now here’s to hoping Lansdorp takes the game’s advice and brings his men and women home, as long as they don’t blow up on arrival.

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6 Responses to “Propane Propeller”

  1. Oxperiment says:

    Woof, is that tough. QWOP-tastic, but tough. No idea how you made it through 4 levels, Matt.

    • Matt Kodner says:

      lots and lots of autopilot

      • Oxperiment says:

        That would explain it.

        Imagine if we turned on autopilot for other, similar games. Combine that with a multiplayer functionality and QWOP would be an even funnier place to be. Half the character models on the starting line, trying to get a hamstring to cooperate with a thigh and slowly pitching forwards or backwards,  the other half of the models lapping them as they easily gallop around the track. It would be almost like letting the average person compete in the Olympics, against Olympians.

        Hats off to the first QWOP-thelete to make it a lap without “doping” on autopilot.

  2. memaxar says:

    I’m not really seeing the comparison to Crazy Taxi. The website for the game references Space Taxi for C64. Did you get a bit mixed up when writing the review?

    • Treymoney says:

      Yeah, it’s definitely more Space Taxi than Crazy Taxi, as it is nothing like Crazy Taxi.  I loved Space Taxi as a child.  Best C64 game!

  3. Eco1970 says:

    Couldn’t get it to work. ‘How to Fly’, and nothing did anything.