Vertex Pop describe their work as “feel-good action games”, and I can’t think of a more apt description. They’ve mastered high-energy, combo-centric arcade action and the endorphin rush that comes with that, while keeping frustration to a minimum, and coupled that with bright colours as whimsical designs. So it was with We Are Doomed and Graceful Explosion Machine; so it is with Super Crush KO.
Rather than the shoot-’em-up antics of Vertex Pop’s previous efforts, Super Crush KO is a platform brawler. You fight through the silhouetted backdrop of a dreamlike, near-future city against hordes of robots, with the goal of stringing together a never-ending chain of attacks until everything on the screen is dead.
A variety of special moves with different trajectories help you both to move around the levels and herd enemies together for some big, juicy combos, and an invincible dash is crucial for avoiding the (plentiful) attacks that your marks fight back with. Mastering the use of those different tools in tandem is key to success in Super Crush KO, and few things feel as good as perfectly punching your way through a whole level, without ever taking a hit or letting the combo count drop.
A palette of neon-pastel colours and playful music set the backdrop to this action—a stark departure from the gritty atmosphere typical of brawlers—helping to drive home that feel-good nature. A lighthearted story about a fierce young woman’s journey to rescue her cat Chubbz from an alien kidnapper ties together the whimsical theme, told in brief, comic-style cutscenes with some truly gorgeous artwork. It’s full of humour, thanks largely to the hero’s unflappable sass, and builds up to a surprisingly emotive conclusion.
For anyone who likes arcade-style action, chasing high scores, or just feeling good, Super Crush KO is a must-play.
Super Crush KO is available now on Nintendo Switch and Steam.