PC, Nintendo Switch
January 16, 2020
I’m not overly seasoned in brawlers. I’ve played a few (Scott Pilgrim vs The World, a bit of Bayonetta and even that 1991 The Simpsons arcade game) and I was never able to master them, but I always had fun. So when a pretty, pastel coloured indie by the name of Super Crush KO was presented to me, I knew I had to jump in.
In Super Crush KO you play as Karen. She’s a stylish, red haired protagonist reminiscent of Madeline in Celeste. Her precious cat by the name of Chubbz has been rudely abducted by an alien by the name of Ann. Karen dons a shiny neon bomber jacket and is on her way, pursuing the extra terrestrial threat. She has a bit ahead of her though – waves upon waves of ethereal mechs await.
Frankly, Super Crush KO is a very simple addition to the brawler genre. Thankfully, it’s exactly what I need. Karen will face through 20 levels in the game, running from rooftop to rooftop and fending off mechs in her way. While I’m a bit bummed the scenery didn’t vary too much, it was easily forgiven with its satisfying combat and pleasing to look at art style. It’s very basic, but it works.
Where the game lacks in depth it makes up for in approachability. You get all your moves and power ups quite early on. They come in the form of cute little treats such as pretzels and pizza slices that you consume. You get a gun, punching abilities, two dashes (one lethal and one that is used to evade), and a super powered energy blast to mow down big groups. With all of these together, it makes for some fun and fast movement and combat. You can uppercut enemies into the air to help juggle them and build up combos, though don’t expect Devil May Cry levels of depth. You’ll get swarmed by enemies, sure, but it’s quite forgiving and easy to fight through and get stylish combo ranks as long as you keep moving.
“There’s a super powered beam you can let off once filling a meter, and it’s very reminiscent of Steven Universe”
I think where Super Crush KO shines best is its art style. It’s got a gorgeous pastel art direction and just lots of little neat in-game touches. Notably the game pulls influences from cartoons. There’s a super powered beam you can let off once filling a meter, and it’s very reminiscent of Steven Universe.
I could go on forever about all of the cute little finishes found within the game. Your checkpoint system for the game is a vending machine that dispenses hearts, cutscenes are done using comic panels, and the character design is fantastic. While the tiling and textures of the game are really peak indie in their basic design, the popping pastels colours of the game really help.
There’s some interesting variation of enemies you’ll face. Smaller, dog-like mechs will attack you with both lunges and bites. Meanwhile, the more meaty and tough enemies will stomp and send out spikes from the ground or even send a hurricane of bullets your way. This made for frantic and ever-changing combat, and I was always on my toes. In some scenarios I’d barely scrape through encounters with my life, others I’d just totally nail chaining attacks between my foes, bouncing around the screen. Super Crush KO will never be the same game whenever you play.
You’ll likely burn through Super Crush KO quite quickly. It’s a few hours long and can easily be done in one sitting. This simultaneously works both in the game’s favour and to its fault. As the level’s scenery really doesn’t vary all that much it’s super easy for the game to pass you by in a blur. Differentiation in setting simply just isn’t there, which is a shame in that you can’t identify particular favourite levels. However, as there’s also only 20 levels, it leaves more refined sections for players to work through over and over. This practice and mastering can come in handy for the leaderboard system so that you can see how you stack up against other players in the world.
- Bursting with charm
- Approachable combat for the brawler genre
- Great character design
- Leaderboard system allows for replayability.
- Fairly basic
- Short in length with not many levels
- Scenery in game doesn't vary too much
In short, Super Crush KO is a powerful and addictive brawler that makes you feel like you’re in a music video. There’s plenty going on for it and the clear influences never end. You’ll love the art style that looks like it’s straight out of a Cartoon Network show, the simple but effective pop soundtrack, or maybe even the surprising and delightful queer story. So why not settle in, have a blast and go pursuing your feline friend?