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Combo Crew Review
Review Score:

Combo Crew, an arcade brawler from The Game Bakers, is now available from the app store. Featuring unlockable characters and combo moves, upgradeable abilities, and gesture-based controls, Combo Crew is fast-paced fun.

Combo Crew Pros:

  • Clean Street Fighter type presentation and terrific brawler animations
  • Entertaining arcade soundtrack
  • Gesture-based controls are clever and easy to use, with tons of character-specific combos to interchange
  • Lots of boosters and perks to buy and apply
  • GameCenter integration for leaderboards and more than a dozen achievements

Combo Crew Cons:

  • Some responsiveness issues with controls, swiping gets repetitive
  • Co-op feature uses Facebook instead of GameCenter

Combo Crew offers both a level-based, single-player Campaign mode and an endless mode to test your survival mettle. There are 4 playable characters from which to choose, with only two (leaderboard-king Parker and martial artist Gina) available from the start. The other two can be unlocked via gamepads, a secondary currency earned by finishing levels with gold medals and completing the tons of available missions. Gameplay consists of dropping your chosen protagonist into a situation whereby he or she must dispatch enemies within the confines of a single screen. The end goal is to work your way through all levels in the Campaign to rise up through the tower in which the group is imprisoned by the evil Mr. Boss and defeat their captor. Endless mode tosses wave after wave of bad guys at you until your health bar runs dry. Instead of fighting with a joypad and attack button, the input method is purely gesture-based. Swipe toward an enemy for a single attack, or swipe and hold to charge a more powerful attack which can be effective against blocks. An enemy set to attack you will have an exclamation point appear nearby, at which point you can counter by tapping the screen. A two-finger swipe will unleash a combo attack for increased damage.

The direction of the two-finger swipe (up, down, left, or right) determines which type of combo move you perform, and there are a bunch of additional combos for each brawler that can be unlocked and swapped out as you progress. If you manage to keep the fight going, you’ll rack up huge combo multipliers that will drive up your score considerably. Combos and other attacks will fill a Super meter that allows for a sick series of beatdowns once filled. When a blue button appears on-screen, tap it to activate the Super Combo, then use line-drawing mechanics to target foes. All defeated enemies will earn you coins, which can be used to purchase one-time boosters or sustained perks which are permanently available for all heroes. You can also revive online friends who have succumbed to a vicious beating. It gives you the opportunity to help someone out as well as be helped out in an effort to climb the leaderboards. This co-op aspect is both asynchronous and cross-platform.

Graphically, Combo Crew has sort of a Street Fighter vibe. Though you do fight through different levels of the tower, the backdrops for blocks of levels will remain the same, which can get a little dull after a while. The animations are quite good, and we really enjoy launching combo moves to watch the various athletic kicks, jump, spins, and punches that ensue. Enemy types vary greatly, and there are even some pretty hefty bosses thrown in for good measure. The soundtrack is pretty good, offering a fun arcade feel to the experience. While we like the gesture-based controls, it kind of got a little boring after a while. Mixing up the directions of the swipes helps a bit, but in all, you are really just swiping across the screen repeatedly, with the occasional pause to levy a charged attack on a foe. There were also some responsiveness issues, where the character would seem to get stuck in a spot and couldn’t fight back against an enemy for a few seconds. There were also several times where a tap wouldn’t do anything to counter a baddie and a swipe-hold was treated as just a swipe. It felt like the controls could use just a little more fine-tuning.

Replay value is pretty good, as racking up high scores on the various campaign levels and extending your runs on the endless mode gives you reason to keep fighting. Additionally, unlocking new characters, applying permanent perks, and mixing and matching combo moves all serve to draw the player back in. GameCenter integration provides a pair of leaderboards and more than a dozen achievements to earn. A universal app for $1.99 (with no IAPs despite the presence of a two-currency system), Combo Crew is a solid 4-Dimple performer.

Combo Crew Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2013-05-24T09:59:52+00:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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