The Game Bakers’ Squids series were an excellent take on the tactical RPG genre and showed how the mobile platform can put an interesting twist on genres we are familiar with. We had the opportunity to speak with them at PAX East 2013 about their new game Combo Crew and it looked like they were bringing their creative spin to the beat’em up genre. Combo Crew is all about building the highest combo possible and climbing Boss Tower.
Knowing well that the plot of a beat’em up is not the focus, The Game Bakers have instead focused on what actually matters, the combat. You can pick from two fighters to start, Parker and Gina, and you can unlock Dolph and Sammo with collected controllers, earned from receiving gold medals in King of the Tower or beating challenges in Combo Crew Mode. Those controllers are also how you unlock more combos for you fighters.
Combo Crew (iOS[Reviewed], Android)
Developer: The Game Bakers
Publisher: The Game Bakers
Released: May 23, 2013
While it is usually a concern for fighting games, each of the fighters do have their own distinctive feel while still playing roughly the same, though that comes more from the fact that your inputs will remain the same regardless. The different moves each character have can change the way you approach situations, giving you adequate reason to switch. The touch based controls are simplified enough to work well, yet at times they are almost too simple.
Every level in Combo Crew is roughly the same, even if the visuals change. You are in a room the size of the screen, you tap enemies to target them, swipe them to attack, swipe and hold to charge and swipe with two fingers to unleash a combo. Keeping with the current trends, if an enemy goes to attack you, an exclamation point will appear above their head and you can tap the screen to counter. You can have four combos equipped at once, activating each by doing the two finger swipe from one side of the screen.
For the most part, the controls in Combo Crew work excellently. While being restricted to four combos can be a hindrance at times, after every level you can go into the menus and switch them out and at a certain point it is more about assuring that you have a combo with a juggle, a stun, a launch and a guard break, which combos you choose are up to you. There is no breaking from a combo once you start, so it’s all about managing the time between attacks.
Unfortunately, especially if you are trying to complete a challenge, targeting enemies can be a bit of a pain. I had moments where my two finger swipe would target a different enemy instead of just launching the attack. Frustrating, but not enough so to keep me from coming back. For the levels in King of the Tower, which is the loose campaign, the enemy variety is fine, but if you keep going back to Combo Crew Mode, which is a gauntlet, the variety can be a bit lacking.
At the moment, Combo Crew seems to be an excellent game. The Game Bakers have promised more content down the line, which can alleviate some of the issues. What will make or break the game is adoption. Combo Crew Mode is fun enough, but when you get knocked out your friends can play the level to revive you, but if your friends aren’t playing one of the biggest features is eliminated. That being said, I had such a good time playing playing Combo Crew that I can see this taking off.