Vertex Pop is a studio that specializes in “feel good action games.” What that basically translates into are game that look, feel, and sound as pleasant as they are to play. Graceful Explosion Machine, the studio’s last game, is a prime example of this. What that game did for side-scrolling shooters, Super Crush KO looks to do for beat-’em-ups. And based on the demo I got to play, I’d say it’s looking like it’ll do that effortlessly.
The premise goes that aliens have begun to invade Earth, essentially threatening life as we know it. But more importantly, they stole your cat. They stole your cat! So it’s off to punch, kick, and shoot a bunch of aliens to get your cat back and maybe save the world in the process.
The demo ran through a few levels of a pastel-colored city, wherein I was running across rooftops while fighting through waves of aliens. At first I only had a basic punch combo, but soon enough I got a nice set of abilities I could use. Much like Graceful Explosion Machine, Super Crush KO encourages you to make good use of your entire skill set and makes it easy to do so. Your basic combo can chain into any other attack seamlessly, which in turn can also chain back into a combo. For instance, you can start by using a few punches then launch your target into the air, follow them up and hit them a few more times, then divekick ’em to finish them off and maybe even hit your next target to keep up the assault. You can also pull out a gun and fire back at any aliens shooting at you or possibly use it as combo filler.
As you defeat enemies, crystals pop out that, if collected, build a meter which allows you to pull off more powerful attacks, such as a big laser you can fire from your hands. It also controls when you can pull out the gun. The meter builds quickly, so you’re encouraged to use it when you can rather than sit on it for too long, as it greatly helps with crowd control.
For as easy as it is to pick up and play, as the demo progressed, I definitely felt the need to be careful. Just running toward the nearest foe and pummeling them may have worked early on, but it soon put me in a bad spot as each wave introduced more varied adversaries. The last couple fights of the demo in particular got especially chaotic. It emphasized the need for using my abilities to get around and close the distance as much as just using them to deal damage, as it never took long for me to get overwhelmed when the aliens got a hit in.
I almost wish the demo had been longer since it wrapped up just as I was really getting into a good rhythm. As someone who very much enjoyed Graceful Explosion Machine, I’m looking forward to seeing how the full version of Super Crush KO shapes up when it’s out sometime next year.