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Combo Crew for iOS

Combo Crew for iOS

Platform: iPhone/iPod
Category: Action Games

Combo Crew is a new beat 'em up by the Game Bakers, creators of SQUIDS. I loved their previous games (you can read my reviews here and here), so I was excited to learn that they were tackling my favorite genre. Unlike most similar games, Combo Crew doesn't make you worry about moving - just brawling. I'll explain more about this later. While you can purchase unlockables with in-game currency, it's all earned in the game without in-app purchases, which is great. It's fun with a great look and sound and even has asynchronous multiplayer. What's not to love?


The game has a cartoon look with characters that stand out nicely from the background. While there isn't a huge variety in designs, everything looks fantastic. The screen dims as you charge your attack and lights up with other attacks that keeps the action looking exciting. I played on an iPhone 4 and didn't notice any slowdown.


The music is fantastic in Combo Crew. Because your character is constantly attacking, you'll hear the same "whoosh" noise over and over as fists fly, but it didn't bother me. I particularly enjoyed the voice of the commentator.


Combo Crew pits you against waves of enemies in a single room. Swiping an enemy attacks that enemy, and tapping an enemy selects it. At the top are two meters - your life and power. As you hit enemies, your power bar grows. If you swipe across an enemy and hold, you'll charge your attack. Simply let go to unleash it. This can knock enemies back, which is pretty useful.

By swiping with two fingers, you'll perform a combo on the enemy for bigger points. When an enemy is about to hit you, you'll see a red explanation mark. You can tap to counter it, but the counter will execute when your current combo is finished. If you don't counter in time, you'll be hit and lose both life and power. You'll want to use combos often but keep from leaving yourself open to attacks. When your power bar fills enough, you can tap a button to unleash an incredibly powerful move.

There are two modes in Combo Crew: King of the Tower is the main single-player, progression mode. It consists of a variety of levels that get progressively harder. There are three point goals in each level - think bronze, silver, and gold. If you reach the highest goal, you'll receive a controller, an in-game currency. Gold is another currency that you can obtain, but it's much easier to earn. In fact, almost everything gives you gold.

The second mode is Combo Crew Mode. This is a "high score mode" in which you try to earn as many points as possible. You go through level after level, completing as many as you can. The multiplayer aspect comes between levels in Combo Crew Mode. If you lose a level, you can ask a friend to rescue you. They're tasked with beating the level you just lost. If they win, their score is converted into your life. If they have more than enough to raise you to full, the remaining is added to your score. If you didn't lose a level, you can still ask for help between levels just to regain health. Here's the trick: you can only ask each friend to help once per game. There's definitely some strategy here. If you have a friend that's not very good, you should ask for their help early since they'll have to succeed at the same level to benefit you. The more friends you have that play Combo Crew, the better your experience will be!

You can buy additional characters and combos with controllers. Each character can only have four combos at a time, but you can swap which are equipped. You can buy boosters with gold; these are single-use items that can be equipped for Combo Crew Mode. In addition, perks can be purchased with gold as well. These are permanent upgrades. For example, the Bronze Fries increases the size of your life gauge. As I mentioned earlier, these currencies are all earned in Combo Crew.


While beat 'em ups or brawlers have long been one of my favorite genres, I've never seen one like Combo Crew. The multiplayer system is interesting, and the controls are very unique. Because the game really benefits from the player having many friends that play the game, some of the enjoyability (or at least the ability to gain a high score) will hinge on the how popular the game gets. However, I think Combo Crew should pack a lot of fun even if you don't know anyone that plays. The Game Bakers have a perfect record with three fantastic games now. I'll be watching them closely in the future. Combo Crew is only $1.99 on the iTunes App Store (also on Google Play), which is a great price especially considering that it isn't asking you for more money for in-app purchases. And for SQUIDS and SQUIDS Wild West fans, you might recognize one of the unlockable characters!

This review was based off an early press build provided for review purposes. I am MrDevee on Apple's Game Center and @TheUser on Twitter. If you purchase the game and are looking for someone to rescue you, let me know!


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