I can relate to Karen, the protagonist of Super Crush KO. If a mean alien came and stole my cat, right out of my room, I’d go on a robot stomping rampage across the city too. Developed and published by Vertex Pop, this beat ‘em up, run n’ gun and platformer mix comes full of vibrant neon and pastel colors and alien robots a’plenty.
Inter-galactic Cat Thief!
The game’s plot is fairly simple, you play as Karen, wielding your fists and a stolen alien gun, rampaging across the city to save your kitty, the one and only Mr. Chubbz, from delinquent alien Ann. Karen is fun and energetic, Ann is bizarre and rude, and Mr. Chubbz is cute and squishy. It’s a nice trio of characters, even though the focus of the game is more on the gameplay than the plot or the characters, which stay pretty basic throughout. The ending, however, is sweet, if a bit unexpected from where you start the beginning of the game.
Gameplay in Super Crush KO is surprisingly tough. I was excited to play something bright and colorful and violent, but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was. There’s a tutorial level which lets you get acquainted with the gameplay and combos in an easy explained way, before moving on to the four main stages of the game. Each stage gradually adds a new twist to the mix, for example, in each level of stage one you learn a new combo. From then on, every level introduces a new type of enemy for you to fight, including ones with homing attacks, flying attack robots and mechanical alien armadillos.
There are different tactics to use against each enemy, which are easy to figure out as they’re introduced, but much more difficult to actually put into practice as you play through and fight scores of robots at once. Dodging a mechanical dog may be simple enough on its own, but when you’re in the middle of a pack of five and have attack spheres bearing down on you, it’s a different story. I’m usually not good at platformers, but this was pretty accessible even to me. Each level has different checkpoints throughout and you have 5 lives per level which lets you restart at the last checkpoint if you run out of hearts.
Each combo that you learn is food-themed, so there’s the Pretzel Twister Drill, the Uppercut (Pizza) Slice, Air Pop(corn) and Ground (Milk)Shake. Using different combos wisely, as well as dodging attacks and using your ultimate Super Beam KO will get you different style points for each level, which are then ranked at the end on a scale from D to S. The combos are all easy to execute and bringing up the pause menu in-game allows you to access the Tutorial where all the basics are laid out for you, any time that you want.
Class Ranked Art
The ranking for each level keeps track of your personal best, and if you like, you can access online leaderboards for competition. Unfortunately, as of the time of my playing this, the leaderboards appear to be down so that’s all the details I can give on that. As well as style, each level ranks you by time, lives used, hits taken and perfect combos executed. I still have no idea what the perfect combo is because apparently I’m mediocre at this game at best.
The art and animation is very cute, anime-esque and very evocative of the late 80s/early 90s, especially with the neon and pastel color scheme. In fact, I think I had a pink and blue jacket just like Karen’s when I was growing up, so maybe they raided a thriftstore for design ideas. The aliens, or rather, alien, is shockingly neon and garish, while the robots are all streamlined with dark blues, greens and purples. It’s a simple style but it fits the tone of the game, it’s fun and not super serious or super realistic. There are also short “cutscenes” which are motion comics pages that you get after every boss fight to advance the story, detailing Karen, Ann, and Mr. Chubbz’s interactions.
The greatest criticism I have of Super Crush KO, other than the overuse of pink in the color scheme, is the difficulty jump in the last boss fight. Everything else gradually ramps up, and I would even say the previous boss fights were easier than the levels they were stages of. However, the final fight combines previously introduced mechanics in an absolutely devastating way, which really threw me off.
Overall, Super Crush KO is a lot of fun. It’s easy to grasp mechanics and clear tutorials are a great introduction for anyone looking to get into a fast-paced, action platforming genre, while still providing enough challenge for veterans to have fun. Plus, with the online leaderboards, those who are looking to surpass themselves will find plenty of challenges from other players as well. Besides, bright colors, cool alien tech, saving a cute kitty? What’s not to love?
TechRaptor reviewed Super Crush KO on Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by the developers. The game is also available on PC.