A Struggle to play.
I’m not stranger to beat ‘em ups. I’ve played all kinds in my day, starting in the arcade all the way to the last generation of consoles. There’s something satisfying about beating the living crap out of dudes in a flurry of combos. Of course, this is all in correlation to how well it is executed. Unfortunately, the new beat ‘em up, Super Comboman, misses that mark ever so slightly while utilizing an old mechanic that brings the player down to a point where they get frustrated.
Players take control of Struggles, a large man with a huge appetite for combos. He loves training and figuring out new ways to throw down. When seeing his mortgage is due and not having any money to pay for it, he finds a job with a shady construction company. So now he goes around kicking the crap out of construction sites and the workers and smashing things with his talking fanny pack…I don’t know. It’s a video game.
Price I’d pay: $5
Length: 5-6 hours
In most beat ‘em up fashion, players move Struggles around and execute standard attacks along with a smash attack. He can also utilize special attacks a la Street Fighter (fire balls and fire uppercuts.) Most of these special attacks must be purchased at the combo store along with perks that can be equipped.
This fanny pack is weighing me down.
What really makes the game fall short is the fact that there’s a slight delay in the inputs. I would hit the attack button, and about a half a second later Struggles would attack. This makes the platforming even more of a “struggle.” He seems to run really fast, but when jumping in the air, come to a slow crawl. And when timing is very important in a game, this kind of thing can really bring the game down. Not to mention, the wall jumping is designed in a completely unfamiliar way. Players must push the opposite direction to do a wall jump, and after playing a million games that do it differently, it’s hard to untrain my brain.
The real problem I have with the game is the use of the old arbitrary lives system. Players have three lives. When they run out, they start the entire level over again. Yes, I know many games, particularly older ones, used this system and that’s fine, but in this day and age, especially when the game in question already uses a checkpoint system, having me start the entire level over again and rendering my last 15 minutes of game play absolutely useless, gets frustrating. It might not be so bad if the difficulty didn’t ramp up to insane levels a mere three levels in. Having to do the same stuff over and over again really makes me not want to play it.
Is there a sticker for toning down the difficulty?
Now, it’s not all bad. I do enjoy the art style, which has the entire game look almost like a sticker book, with all the characters having bold white outlines. The animations are well done as well mixed with the colorful ascetics. It is a nice looking game, and while the music gets repetitive, it does have a few decent tracks mixed in.
Super Comboman had the makings of a decent beat ‘em up, but due to some poor execution, large difficulty spikes, and a life system that forces players to replay the same level over and over again just because “I died one too many times” makes it a slight chore to play. For $15, there are other games in this same style that are better executed and are far less frustrating to play.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.