Game: Super Crush K.O.
Genre: 2D Action
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam)
Developers|Publishers: Vertex Pop
Price: US $14.99| AU $21.50|CA € 19.94|£11.59 | €13.99
Age Rating: EU 7+| AU PG| US E 10+
Release Date: 16th January 2020
Review code used thanks to Plan of Attack
Karen’s enjoying a quiet day when her cat Chubbz is kidnapped by an alien! Donning her pastel jacket she punches and shoots her way through the city to save him.
Super Crush KO is a 2D action game, which is mostly brawling but you’re also equipped with a gun. You have a basic punch and some special attacks. Touching enemies won’t hurt you unless they are enraged. In which you must dodge or use a special attack to interrupt them. Those specials such as air launching or rolling, use purple energy. That, is acquired through defeating enemies, so you can’t combo them in the air perpetually.
The dodge is an important mechanic to not only avoid getting shot, but also for level hazards. Your gun has a limit to how long it can be shot, but is good for flying enemies or dealing the last hit. Another meter that builds up, shoots a large straight beam, and can be used a couple times a level. This beam is good for whittling down the bigger enemies. Boss fights are thankfully, part of separate levels but are actually the easiest part of this game.
Level progress is made by clearing waves of enemies out until the game unlocks the area for you to move forward. Though one time I did get shot by something outside of my visible range. There are minor platforming elements, and later on stage hazards will be in most areas. Sometimes it can get a little cramped, which is where the more difficult parts are.
The game has various enemy types, such as ones that roll, shoot, have projected attacks, shoot fire and so on. Throughout even the later levels new ones are introduced. While the level design itself can feel lacking, especially visually, later bounce pads, teleport spots and a couple more things are introduced. The levels are on the rooftops of the city, so some of the sections can feel quite same-y.
There is a ranking system for combat, similar to a few 3D action games. Taking a hit or taking too long to deal damage, loses it. At the end of a wave your letter score will save and convert into points. Once a level is beaten these points are adjusted for time, continues, hits taken and then you are given a score for the whole level. The number score can be submitted on the world leader-board, but you can also compare it to your friend’s. The levels have checkpoints, as when you die you have five continues though this will impact your score. Occasionally an enemy will drop a heart and hitting a checkpoint will give you one.
The graphics are the most disappointing part of this game to me. The pastel soft look is nice but doesn’t evolve. The enemies make good combat variation, but for alien robots they don’t have much of an appeal at all. Even though levels are grouped, the only difference in this is the colour palette, as the day gets darker. If there is any difference on the building tops I didn’t notice it. Cutscenes take place in either motion comics or visual novel style back and forth. With a bit of voice acting but not in spoken lines.
The soundtrack is rather pleasant and chill, but I couldn’t hear it much over the combat. Though if you’re replaying levels you might want to turn the other effects off (be warned this means you can’t hear shots being fired) to hear it. Listening to the light electronic instrumental tracks alone can make it feel like a different experience.
I’m not much of a handheld gamer but I played most of this in handheld. It seems to run the same either way. The only performance issue I saw was that combo-ing large groups of enemies together caused a momentary bit of slowdown. I did think there might have been a control issue, but that was merely me hitting the corners of platforms.
While this game may advertise as challenging, being someone who rarely plays 2D action games I was able to beat it with little difficulty. Even my adrenaline problem didn’t spike high enough to stop me from controlling it. So if you’re in it for the challenge, that comes through the scoring system. Levels take less than ten minutes each and I beat the whole game in three hours. I didn’t really feel the need to compete on the leader-boards, but if you like trying no damage runs this game will last longer for you.
Super Crush K.O is a fun game. The combat feels fluid and satisfying, though level design can sometimes be intentionally squished. While the enemy variety is good, their designs and that of the levels are bland. If you’re up for a short bout of fun 2D combat, this game’s a decent choice.
Final Verdict: I like it!