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Super Crate Box Review
Review Score:

Super Crate Box, an exciting platformer from Vlambeer, is now available from the app store. A spot-on port of the game that inspired Muffin Knight, Super Crate Box features a retro pixel look, a plethora of weapons, and outstanding touch controls to create a challenging yet thrilling experience.

Super Crate Box Pros:

  • Minimalistic pixel art style is clean and appealing
  • Catchy soundtrack
  • Spot-on controls
  • Frantic gameplay and high difficulty offer exciting challenge
  • GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements

Super Crate Box Cons:

  • Some crate placements are difficult to find
  • Not as many bells and whistles as competition

Like Muffin Knight, Super Crate Box includes 3 environments where you must lead your character on a quest to collect as many crates as possible before coming into contact with one of the varied enemy types that spawn from the screen top and wend its way toward a fire pit below, only to be respawned as a faster, redder version of itself. Your only defenses are jumping out of the way and a plethora of weaponry, with a new item randomly bestowed upon you each time you capture a crate. Weapons can be as weak as the dual pistols and katana, or as powerful as rocket launchers and lasers. Whereas Muffin Knight caused your character to change (which ultimately dictated your “weapon” selection), Super Crate Box keeps your outward appearance intact. This lack of clear weapon identification results in a quick line of text appearing after you snag a box to inform you of the obtained weapon, which isn’t always visually evident due to the graphic style. A certain number of crates are required to include additional weapons into the mix, while a specific number collected within a single life can unlock additional characters and modes. The enemies are limited to three types. There are two land-based baddies of differing size, as well as an airborne baddie that’s a bit more difficult to target or anticipate its movements. Our one warning: be prepared to die….. a lot….. and snag way fewer crates than you think you can. And yet, you’ll keep coming back for more…. and more…. and more.

Graphically, Super Crate Box’s barebones pixel art style and single-screen limitation are quite different from Muffin Knight’s colorful, detailed, and scrollable environments, yet we find both to work well with this style of game. There were definitely times where the boxes in Muffin Knight would blend into the backdrop or be difficult to find due to being off-screen. Super Crate Box largely eliminates these issues, though we did have some trouble identifying box locations, most notably when they were at the screen bottom behind our fingers which were covering the controls. Thankfully, a small plume of smoke appears briefly when a new crate appears, helping to identify its location. The controls themselves are spot-on, with left/right arrows on the left side and jump/fire buttons on the right. The only other item on-screen is the crate counter at the screen top. When you die, the Game Over screen indicates how far you were from matching your high score (unless you bested it), as well as how many crates you need for the next unlockable. A tap of the screen instantly starts the next attempt, with no loading necessary. The soundtrack is arcade-like and catchy, fitting the style perfectly.

Replay value is outstanding, despite its steep difficulty curve and lack of bells and whistles found in Muffin Knight (way more levels, leveling up, abilities like double-jumping and pit respawn, multiplayer). We played until our eyes burned from staring at the screen and frantically following our character as he made his way around each level. GameCenter integration provides global leaderboards for each environment and difficulty mode combination, as well as more than two dozen achievements to earn. An aggregate crate counter also indicates how many crates all players have collected thus far, which is a cool feature. The Statistics area maintains a bunch of interesting info, too. A universal app on launch sale for $0.99, Super Crate Box is a fantastic 4.5-Dimple stud.

Super Crate Box Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2012-01-06T01:28:33+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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