How far would you go to save your cat? Climb a tree? Run into a burning building? Face down a robot apocalypse?
It’s a question at the very core of Vertex Pop’s latest game – Super Crush K.O. Their last game, Graceful Explosion Machine, was a runaway smash as one of the first third party indies on Nintendo Switch. It was a really well designed space shooter, finely balanced with an excellent score.
This time around, they’ve opted for a side-scrolling, 2D Bayonetta-style fighter, once again doubling down on the arcade action, only now you’re trying to stop AI from taking over the world. All while saving your cat, of course.
And it all works out really well. The game is very good at gradually introducing you to its various mechanics across its initial levels. Your character, Karen, packs a mean punch and the robot armies soon learn that as you smash through their nuts and bolts. Over time, though, you also learn she’s quite nifty with uppercuts, ground punches, phasing through enemies and environments. She’s also pretty handy with a gun.
Super Crush K.O wants you to mix up your offence as much as possible to produce the best possible ranking during each exchange. So that might me juggling an enemy in the air using different moves, or just pounding them as quickly as possible. You’ll soon find out that certain types of offense are better than others in defeating enemies, so flying robots definitely don’t respond well to bullets.
And nobody, absolutely no one, can handle a super massive beam coming out of your chest. Everyone’s getting roasted by that!
You can go all the way up to S Rank by diversifying your striking without taking damage. Rely on repetition or take too many shots, though, and your ranking will decrease. The aim of the game is to climb the leaderboards with the best possible score at the end of the level, and as expected everything is taken into account, like how much damage you take, if you die, what rankings you’ve had. You’re going to need to play smart, but stylish in order to get the best out of this.
I like that. There’s nothing massively complex about Super Crush K.O, it has a nice comic book art style, a witty sense of humour, some funky music tracks and a finely tuned combat system. There’s boss battles in here, though they’re not especially creative. The enemy types do change but not drastically.
What I liked most about Super Crush K.O was how easily I could just switch off, put on my headphones and dive in. I played a fair bit on my TV using the Pro Controller, but this game is never better than when you’re slamming through it in handheld mode.
Super Crush K.O is a portable game, through and through. It’s great for quick blasts, entertaining in a pinch, and a cool diversion from some of the heavy games we’ve been wading through, and are set to play in the coming months.
It’s full of charm, raised a smile or two, and managed to keep me playing, perhaps for longer than expected. I do think the game shows it hand quite early, though. Mid-way through the second level, you become overly familiar with what works and what doesn’t. You have a good idea of what types of enemies the game is going to throw at you, and the structure of the environments becomes overly familiar.
But there are some nice switches to the formula, like jump pads, phasing through walls, and power orbs which let you soar through the skies by diving into them. It all adds a neat, aesthetical touch that keeps the action fluid, is all rather satisfying and mostly keeps the action feeling fresh.
Super Crush K.O is definitely worth a look, especially for Nintendo Switch owners. It’s pretty, fun, fast, easy to pick up and challenging to master. And plus, why wouldn’t you want to save the cat? Even if the cat appears to be preferring life with the robots, that’s not the point. Only you get to clear up that icky, gross, disgusting hairball, right?
Super Crush K.O is available from today on PC and Switch
Played on Nintendo Switch
Code kindly provided by PR Agency