I like to consider myself a party game aficionado. Pre-Nintendo Switch, I would bring a laptop and four XBOX controllers to people’s houses to play Stick Fight or Overcooked. Now in the age of Covid, those days are less frequent but my partner and I still like to check out the occasional party game. Enter: Caravan Chaos, an online/couch co-op game created by Daniel Wiendl and Michael Schwaiger that started off as a student project and looks to bring a truly chaotic pick up and play experience for all involved.
Caravan Chaos starts with a simple premise. You control a car with a trailer attached (the titular caravan) that can whip a sharp turn and release the trailer, sending it flying across the arena, where you’ll be competing against 3 other such vehicles in a variety of game modes. It’s satisfying but in a small arena with 3 other cars, the action can get wild. The perspective is top down to give a full view of the playing field at all times. Cars feel slippery in a slick, barely controllable way but the physics give the caravans some weight to them. Speed is a necessity, because if you go slow and attempt to toss your trailer, its distance and trajectory will be less effective, so it behooves you to wind up your shots. Trailers return at the push of a button in most modes so you can fire at will.
The game modes vary from last man standing, to Hot Potato, Soccer and High Voltage. Last Man Standing is a basic battle arena with life bars to display damage. This mode can be a blast and is probably easiest for new players to pick up, but at the end when it comes down to 1v1, the action slows down to a snail’s pace. Hot potato keeps the pace quicker with an exploding caravan that needs to be passed…or else. Soccer tries to emulate Rocket League with the added functionality of a throwable caravan from a top down perspective. Lastly, the High Voltage mode is similar to Last Man Standing but with extra damaging caravans that are electrified, with a small catch–you’ll need to manually reattach your caravans after they are thrown. This adds an additional risk to throwing your trailer, making sure every shot counts.
Along with the different modes, each car is customizable with crazy colors and styles. Driving around the arena in a weiner mobile or a giant rubber duck is both hilarious and fun. Other than that, Caravan Chaos doesn’t do much else with its gameplay. It’s an easy to pick up game that has such a slight learning curve that anyone can play it. This is a blessing and a curse because that makes it forgettable. There isn’t a lot to master so playing it for 10-20 minutes with friends is great but afterwards, it hardly resonates. There can obviously be more added to it as far as cosmetics, modes and battle pass options, but as of right now it does a great job with very little.
Caravan Chaos is a quality party game but the fun factor eventually peters out in longer sessions, making it at risk of being lost in the shuffle. Perhaps over time they can expand into deeper customization and mode sets but as it stands now it’s a quick hit party game that’s easily accessible but ultimately loses its luster quickly. I would recommend this as a warm up at parties but not as the star of the show.
Caravan Chaos is available now on Steam.
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