Super Crush KO (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 16.01.2020

Review for Super Crush KO on Nintendo Switch

Toronto-based, indie studio Vertex Pop, of Graceful Explosion Machine fame, has a thing for colourful, laid-back, and light-hearted games, which are simple, yet very well-made. Its latest creation is a fast-paced brawler/shooter where a young lady has to save her chubby cat from an alien kidnapper. Super Crush KO is definitely the team's best title yet, and it's pick-up-and-play nature makes the Nintendo Switch the best platform to enjoy it on.

This is basically a very jolly version of John Wick, but with a neo '80s gal rather than a broody hero, and a cat which kind of likes sugar that needs to be saved, instead of a puppy that's... not well. Told through brief comic book panel "cut-scenes," the story at hand knows that it's not important, and thus doesn't take itself seriously, filling the screen with needless text. In those few instances where it will rear its head, it won't take more than a few seconds from your time, and it will make you smile with its subtle, low-key comedy, which will make players love all three member of the tiny cast, despite this being a pure action title and nothing more than that.

Screenshot for Super Crush KO on Nintendo Switch

Action or not, presentation always matters in a video game, and Vertex Pop seems to know that. In other words, Super Crush KO looks great, with a palette filled with pastel colours painting a cityscape that makes you want to take an evening stroll outside, and an art style that gives some slight Steven Universe vibes - less striking than it, unfortunately. The music is probably a bit too relaxing for such an adrenaline-pumping experience, and this generally won't win any awards for its variety, but it's definitely a very pretty indie. Even better? The vibrantly coloured, minimalist world makes it easier to "read" the ensuing mayhem.

The adventure of... err, 'Girl,' begins easy enough, giving you the chance to learn the ropes by having you fight just a few, non-threatening droids, but soon enough you'll be swimming in metal critters that try to shoot, hit, or ram you, so it's important to be able to understand what's happening on screen. Thankfully, this able-bodied heroine is far from helpless. Starting with her basic, "press Y a couple of times" combo, she can also shoot a barrage of bullets from her high-tech rifle (don't ask where she got that), roll-attack foes, pommel them with a flashy dash move, avoid and destroy projectiles with a neat dodge, and... Kame Hame Ha everything in a straight line every now and then.

Screenshot for Super Crush KO on Nintendo Switch

The combat chess of Super Crush KO is very exciting, but it's not because of how the protagonist can seamlessly go from launching a robot it in the sky, to hitting it in mid-air, and then proceed with shooting the enemy on the other side of the screen, right before getting at punching distance. Battles are mostly great due to how your recourses are handled. The rifle empties after two or so seconds before refilling on its own after a few more, and your special moves need gems to work, so you need to keep on smashing down metal monsters to get them. This forces you to find a balance between being aggressive, but also careful with what you do and when.

Note that this will (initially) greatly disappoint those looking for a challenge. Most players will lose about two/three lives throughout the 20 available levels - those experienced with the genre won't even know there are lives, as this is actually too casual even for those who love games that go easy on them. This is also a pretty short trek. On second thought, no, this isn't short, but way too long for what's on offer. Occasionally a new, stronger foe will be introduced, but the experience remains largely the same. Even the city where this takes place, while nice to look at, barely changes at all. In fact, it doesn't - it just goes from an orange-tinted evening to a blue-ish night.

Screenshot for Super Crush KO on Nintendo Switch

Now, while it should definitely be more difficult, as well as varied, this was developed with score-chasing in mind. In other words, completing stages is fun. Repeating them to reach the highest possible score is addicting. This is where all the different mechanics and rules of the game "click," and you suddenly realise that this is challenging after all, just in a different way. You need to keep hitting droids to not let the rating go down, be sure to mix abilities and hit multiple foes at once, and, if you want to get an S+ rating, avoid getting a single hit - and all these while going at 100 Km per hour. It's like playing DOOM's cute, side-scrolling cousin!

Yes, higher scores only help you get closer to the leaderboard's top steps, so don't expect any additional, shiny rewards - and yes, while it's tons of fun, this doesn't excuse Super Crush KO for being so light in content… but then again, it's tons of fun! In theory, you are just trying to get a higher score in a bunch of samey levels. In practice you push yourself to get better, not just for bragging rights, but because it's all so darn enjoyable. Apart from how awesome controlling this cool super-heroine is, and while you can learn the "patterns" of each stage, the battlefield is quite dynamic, so it's not about memorization, but about thinking and acting on the spot. Long story short: it's hard to get bored.

Screenshot for Super Crush KO on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Fast-paced, brawler/shooter hybrid Super Crush KO isn’t very innovative. Or varied. Or demanding… and then you try to achieve the best possible score at each level, and the game suddenly shows its true colours. Getting better and better is where the challenge and replayability is at. Worry not about the fact that things remain the same from beginning to end, as fighting is too damn fun for this to grow stale. Plus, Vertex Pop’s indie gem has a beautiful, distinct, ultra-colourful wrapping.

Developer

Vertex Pop

Publisher

Vertex Pop

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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