Vertex Pop’s “Super Crush KO” is a single (initially at least) screen platform beat-em-up/brawler/bullet-hell game, slightly in the same mold of “ICEY”, although with a far simpler story.
Speaking of story, in “Super Crush KO ” your pet cat (Chubbz) accidentally stops an alien invasion, which, by coincidence is led by a feline-loving alien. As great as that may be, Chubbz ends-up being kidnapped by the said alien leader.
On a positive note though, Chubbz is then being pampered like there is no tomorrow, and in a fit of pique, you rush to rescue the Chubbz, and prove that you can look after Chubbz better than the alien leader can.
As for the game itself. Well, “Super Crush KO” is, on initial viewing, rather basic. However, as you progress through the game the simpleness of the premise is what makes the game pretty charming, even if it’s not totally brilliant (graphics use simple pastel colors and the controls are, for the most part, intuitive).
I mean, you can move, jump and up and down from platforms (as long as the former isn’t too high), and punch in all sorts of directions. Furthermore, as you progress through the levels, additional attacking moves are made available which are activated using a combination of controls (and are a bit fiddly to use). They can also only be performed if you have enough energy to do so.
It’s also worth pointing out that chaining attacks together will enable you to get a better grade at the end of each round, which gives you more points. Unfortunately enough though, chained attacks can’t be stopped, so you have to make sure you are (or will end up) in a safe position when you start them.
Other than that, there is also a laser gun available, which quickly drains power, but is replenished slowly over time, and is very useful for long attacks. Each stage has an online hi-score table, which you can use to see how well you are doing against other people.
And oh! There is also a super weapon which you can use, but, like the system that powers chained move, it can only be recharged by collecting stars.
As for monsters and whatnot to slay, the game’s enemies (which are all based on animals) come in quite a few varieties. For example, the basic ones just move (or fire) in set directions and are easy to destroy, to ones that are unstoppable when they launch their attack!
And as you progress further into the game, some of the enemies get bigger and start firing in multiple directions at once (you will also face a couple of boss fights as well!). These levels quickly descend into bullet-hell territory.
There are also other impediments to progress – disappearing platforms, exploding things, floor spikes, jump booster, and laser wall, of which the latter isn’t too much of a problem (you dash through it).
However, on one level it is positioned so that you can barely reach it, let alone move through it, something of which does make one wonder if there was a slight error in the level design there?…
And while at it, later levels in the game aren’t as much fun as earlier levels due to the amount of action going on. Nevertheless, all in all, “Super Crush KO” is a very fun, beautiful, charming, but extremely hard platformer that should bring many hours of joy (or torment, depending on how you see it/your skill level as a player) if you’re into action/brawler/bullet-hell platformers.
+ Graphics are simple, yet nicely coloured and animate very well.
+ The music is okay as are the sound effects.
+ The small comic style sections are amusing.
+ Tons of action.
+ Online leaderboards.
+ Cool chain and super attacks.
– Starts getting very hard once past the first stage. If you lose all your lives you have to start at the beginning of a stage.
– Some of the game’s level design is a bit iffy.
– Slowly builds into a bullet-hell platformer.
Sound and music: 3/5
Replay value: 3/5
Graphically a very charming platformer that soon becomes extremely hard once you come across multi-directional firing enemies. Probably more of a game for the hard-core platformer than a casual player.
Title: Super Crush KO
Developer: Vertex Pop
Genre: Scrolling 2D platforming beat-em-up
Release date: 2020-01-16
Spent time: + 2.5 hours
Average grade internationally: 69/100 via metacritic.com
PEGI age rating: 7+
Price: 13.37 Euros (via Steam)
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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Tags: Beat-em-up, Indie games, PC games, Retro games, Run and gun, Super Crush KO, Vertex Pop