Super Comboman Review: C-c-c-combo Breaker!

July 20th, 2014 -

I’ve played my fair share of brawlers over the years, starting out with stuff like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Battletoads, followed by the likes of Final Fight and Streets of Rage. The modern day brawlers in my mind would be along the lines of DMC and God of War. Sure, they have puzzles, but I feel that’s how the genre sort of evolved. Do I have an issue going back to 2D brawlers? Not at all. I love booting up the NES or Genesis to play the classics, and there have been plenty of new 2D entries since then (Castle Crashers is a favorite). However, Super Comboman is the most recent entry into the genre, and with that sticker art style, I had to give it a go.

1

The game starts off showing you the hero of our story: Struggles. He is doing what he does best: struggling with life. He’s a nerd that needs to pay the bills but doesn’t have the money (maybe because of all the things he doesn’t need but owns anyway – I can relate). Coincidentally, he sees a flyer for a job that will pay him an undisclosed amount, and it involves performing combos of destruction, which it just so happens he is capable of because he reads a comic… that’s sound enough reasoning for me. If I am able to play as a anthropomorphic toad, or a kangaroo that I save from constant beatings, I can sure as hell play a nerdy, combo busting dude that needs to pay the bills.

So as you can probably guess from the trailer or images, there is some platforming (wall jumps included) in addition to the head bashing within the levels. Their is also environmental interaction within the levels, such as breaking through walls or hitting large buttons to progress – buttons may or may not require you to hit an enemy into them. Starting out you have two attacks, a regular attack that will perform a combo with multiple uses, and a slam attack that refills a meter shortly after use. And what would a fighting game be without parrying? Simply pressing forward as the enemy is about to attack will allow you to hit them while avoiding their attack. There is also a block option, for those times you just want to avoid a serious but inevitable beating. As you progress you can upgrade Struggles with stat boosts and new combos from the store. Be it a Hadouken or just a dive kick, the game adds more depth to the fighting aspect as you go, and that’s always appreciated. The enemies also boost difficulty – aside from just being attack sponges or doing more damage per hit, they will actually parry you. This of course requires you to change your tactics if you have a set way of blowing through the levels.

8

The aesthetic of the game is very charming. Sadly it doesn’t use it to its advantage all that much – where Paper Mario or Ōkami made it into an experience, this is more just to do it. It’s like if Kirby’s Epic Yarn was in the style that it is, but played like other Kirby games and didn’t do anything with the yarn aspect of it. The game doesn’t suffer from not utilizing its art style in a unique way, but it would definitely help push the uniqueness/innovation of the game. It feels like a missed opportunity, but definitely not something to hold against the developers. On the plus side of it, the game feels very cartoony and definitely fits in with the Adult Swim Games lineup. The opening cut-scene immediately made me think of Steven Universe, and it was quite a while into the game that I realized there wasn’t actually voice acting. I had to go back and see if the earlier portions had voices, or if I really had voices for each of the characters immediately upon seeing them. Turns out I’m just a crazy, though I prefer games that don’t use dialogue for exactly that reason: it allows me to give the character a voice, and to that extent, a personality. I know most people prefer voice acting, and I love it in certain instances (Yakuza has some of the best voice acting in games, and it definitely enhances the experience), but for the most part I like playing a game like a book. It gives you more of an opportunity to connect with the characters, particularly in RPGs. And now, back to your regularly scheduled review…

Super Comboman takes elements of brawler titles from the past and adds things such as platforming, collectibles, and a shop to upgrade your character. The controls are simple to use (I played with a keyboard, and unfortunately the game just assumes you’re playing with a gamepad, but the keys are comfortable enough) though they do have a slight lag, and the art style pops and is fun to look at, but unless you love brawlers, I can’t say this game will do a whole lot for you. Fun in spurts? Definitely. But it’s not something I’d spend $15 on with all the other available brawlers out there. I’d say grab it on sale for $10 or less.

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RENT

Pros

  • Upgrading Combos
  • Cute Art Style

Cons

  • Repetitive Level Design

Super Comboman was created by Interabang Entertainment and published by Adult Swim Games, and it’s available on Steam for $15. The game was funded by Kickstarter on November 14, 2012 and launched on Steam July 11, 2014.

 
 
 
Here at FFoP we use a rating method that you may be unfamiliar with, so allow us to clarify. When we review a game, we see what sort of BRA fits. Buy, Rent, or Acquire is the rating we give out – we’ve boiled it down for simplicity. A Buy is worth the full retail value; a Rent is something you may want to try before you buy, or grab at a discount; an Acquire is something you can play, but we’d suggest borrowing it from someone, grabbing it in a game bundle, or some other means. If you want further clarification, please feel free to get in touch.

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