Beat ’em Up games have been a mainstay video game genre ever since the golden days of the arcade. Teenagers would come from all over to put in their allowance money to play arcade fighting games such as Tekken and Street Fighter. Ever since the formula for these fighting games have remained pretty much constant; button mashing. Either on an arcade machine, on a controller for a console or on your keyboard. It is long overdue for a change up in this formula and Combo Crew by The Game Bakers takes on this endeavor to make a refreshingly new approach to the tired old style of beat ’em up games.
The Boss Vs. The Crew
As a clever “plot” device, Combo Crew provides a simple and straightforward storyline and goal if you will; defeating Mr. Boss. This Mr. Boss is just a generic boss if you will as the name suggests who presides on top of a large tower. Here within lies the overreaching goal for Combo Crew. You need to fight your way one floor at a time (over 40 floors) defeating Mr. Boss’ henchmen, mini bosses and eventually Mr. Boss himself. This also allows for kind of two modes of play in Combo Crew. You have the normal story mode where you go from themed floor to floor defeating enemies and you progress by earning at least a bronze medal in the floor’s fight as well as an endless mode called Combo Crew mode. It is worth noting that in the endless mode of Combo Crew there are missions you can complete for extra points and in game currency as well to unlock new combo moves and better yet there are hundreds of these missions. At this point you may be wondering who you are in this fictional fighting game. Well, in Combo Crew you play as one of four characters although you start out with only two unlocked. Theses Crew heroes include Dolf, the best action movie hero ever, Gina, a practitioner of hair-jitsu, Parker, the best arcade fighter and Sammo…kind of like a blob character. Each of these characters has their own combo move sets and can unlock tons more.
The main “meat” of Combo Crew if I had to pick its starting foundation would be the interesting new direction The Game Bakers took for the controls. Gone are the days of button mashing A and B and all other sorts of buttons. In these days where every device including refrigerators are touch screens it only makes sense for the controls to be completely touch screen swipe based. It sounds a little funny at first and I just reading about it I didn’t think it would work all that well but Combo Crew proved me wrong. Basically to fight and punch or attack someone you just swipe the screen at them. This highlights that character and you will attack. However, the game is called Combo Crew so the real damage is done in stringing combos along. To do combos you swipe with two fingers either up, down, left or right wherein each direction has a different combo move rooted to it (these can be changed for much better combos as you continue to play and unlock better combos). To block or parry an attack is just as simple as all you need to do is tap the screen when an enemy has a red exclamation point above their heads. The last move you can do is to break up an enemy’s block by swiping and holding, this will start a charge up attack to break a block and send your opponent flying to the opposite side of the arena.
Again this may seem very complicated in text but in practice it works surprisingly seamlessly for the most part. Practice is perfect is probably the best saying to say for the control system in Combo Crew as once you get the hang of it it seems perfect but it’ll take a few fights. I will also say that blocking and parrying is a little tricky especially since the game is so focused on stringing combos as you will be in the midst of a move and an enemy will attack you and you have no way to break off that move and block, instead you just have to take the hit and end your combo. In general combos do get rather repetitive. It seems for the most part I only swipe left or right and rarely up or down so in reality I mainly just use two move sets over and over again which I suppose is an unfortunate homage to arcade beat ’em up games of old. Of course later on levels get pretty hectic so you won’t realize you’re doing the same hurricane kick over and over.
Call Your Friends
Another interesting aspect of Combo Crew is that it has a neat Facebook friend integration. Now I know when you read Facebook integration people think about how Farmville and other Zygna type games have you annoy your friends to progress in game. Combo Crew is much different and the friend interaction is totally optional. But basically in the endless mode if you happen to lose you can send help to your friends and if they beat it then you continue. Likewise you can do the same to your friends. I think this is a much better way of integrating friends or even I suppose a type of multiplayer as it is not forced and allows help to one another.
No Need For Quarters
No need for quarters but I do suppose a one time payment of $1.99. With that being said you may be wondering if the price is worth the game. To that I say if you like beat ’em up games or fighting games in general then you will love Combo Crew. It is a fresh take on a relatively old genre and you will have a blast even with the few shortcomings. Even if you aren’t a traditional fan I would say that Combo Crew would still hold your interest and ease you into enjoying the genre and will provide hours of entertainment.