By Guy Rainey / March 5th, 2015
|Release Date||July 11, 2014|
|Genre||Beat ’em up|
Even after playing several hours of Super Comboman, I still have very little idea of what I’ve played. I remember enjoying myself, but I don’t really remember anything spectacular about the game. I remember that it’s a side-scrolling beat ’em up game, and it stars an obtuse man named Struggles. But that doesn’t tell you if it’s worth your time and money, so let’s see if I can remember more.
The story is… odd. Struggles is raising his little brother, Biscuit, but he doesn’t have a job, so he’s falling behind on the mortgage. Then, he hears about a construction gig, and sets out to get some quick cash… by beating up all the other employees and demolishing all their work. But, to be fair, they did attack him first… which makes even less sense. And, for some reason, they were expecting him? Even though he’d never heard of the job until that day? Didn’t see that one coming.
But story isn’t why you play beat ’em up games. You play them to beat people up. So, how does that work? Well, you have two attack buttons; the standard attack that can be used repeatedly and a smash attack that has to recharge after each use. You can modify both the standard and smash attacks by tilting the control stick up, down, forwards or backwards, similar to Smash Bros. Obviously, each successive attack will increase your combo, and, as your combos rise, you’ll get special bonuses. As you play through the game, you’ll get badges that give you bonuses. You select where to equip them, and they’ll activate when a certain combo is achieved. This system rewards getting better at the game and gives you some influence over your character.
Where the game falls short is the platforming. Now, basic jumping and double jumping work fine, but, when the game asks you to wall-jump, it’s really frustrating. Rather than moving in the direction of the wall (making you feel like you’re clinging to it) and pushing away after you jump, you’re supposed to move the stick away from the wall before you jump. It makes simple wall jumping very frustrating, when it doesn’t have to be. It’s not a huge deal, really. Tricky platforming isn’t given a lot of attention, but, every time it does come up, prepare to be annoyed at the very least. Fortunately, Super Comboman’s combat is so satisfying that it makes up for the game’s lack of platforming sense. Jumping is a useful skill in combat, since it lets you juggle enemies for greater variety.
The game is a bit mixed in the presentation. On the one hand, the graphics are really pleasing. The sprites are pleasantly detailed and animated, and they exude a very charming sticker book appeal. The music is certainly not bad. It ranges from passable to nice. On the other hand, the game chugs sometimes. I’m far above the system requirements, but, even when I run the game without anything running in the background, the game will slow down when there’s a lot of action on the screen, like in the shot above. For some reason, the way the rain falls causes the game to skip a lot of frames, making the action really choppy. I wouldn’t mind so much, except that, in this room, you’ll need to use your platforming skills to reach objects so that you can move them to a new location. And when the game isn’t running well, the platforming becomes really difficult.
So, all in all, is Super Comboman a good game? Well… the parts that I like are really enjoyable. The action is fast-paced, and, while it can be tough on button mashers, there’s enough leeway that most people should be able to have fun with it regardless. The story may be silly, but it’s supposed to be, and the lead character is charming in a bumbling kind of way. The platforming is problematic, but it doesn’t detract from the fun of the combat. It just acts as a roadblock. And this game should run on most modern computers, even if there is a bit of slowdown here and there. But I still can’t give it a whole-hearted recommendation. I spent about four hours playing it, and, while there is a ranking system, I never had any trouble getting gold ranks, so there’s not really any real replay value here. If you can get this for $5 or less, go for it. It’s a lot of fun for a few hours. At $10, it’s asking a bit much.
Review copy was provided by the publisher
Interabang EntertainmentPCReviewSuper Comboman