App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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I was fairly excited about Combo Crew when I first started it up. I mean it’s not often that I get to play an iOS action game that’s been designed specifically for the platform instead of cramming in a few virtual controls. Little by little I began to learn the ins and outs of the combat system, and I was really having fun. Then I noticed just how often some important actions didn’t seem to register properly. It’s still fun, just not quite as much fun.
Players control one of two characters (Gina or Parker), with two more (Dolph and Sammo) available as unlockables, as they ascend a tower full of enemies and take on the big boss at the top. In many ways it’s reminiscent of classic arcade quarter munchers like Double Dragon or Streets of Rage, only instead of moving along a linear path the characters go from arena-like level to arena-like level. Only players have no direct control over their character’s movement. Rather, they target enemies to attack and let the fighters handle the rest. Swiping over an enemy, swiping and holding, swiping with two fingers in different directions, and tapping the screen all have various effects such as counter attacks and massive air-juggling combos. Of course those are just the starter combos. Plenty more can be unlocked through King of the Tower (i.e. story mode) progression and completing specific tasks in the wave-based Combo Crew Mode.
Pulling off absolutely insane combos and racking up strings of 200+ hits is easy thanks to Combo Crew’s rather ingenious swipe controls. And because they’re practically automatic it gives players the opportunity to plan their next attacks in advance while keeping an eye out for enemy retaliation. It’s almost like a puzzle in a weird way. I also have to admit I rather like the way the screen goes dark and the action slows down when finishing off the last enemy. It makes the fast and furious combos look even cooler.
While the swipe controls in Combo Crew work pretty well, the tap controls don’t always want to cooperate. Tapping is essential for countering an enemy attack (indicated by a “!” over their heads), but at least half the time my taps registered as swipes and started a new combo. And since it’s not possible to interrupt a combo to block/counter I was a sitting duck.
I wouldn’t mind accidentally attacking when I meant to counter if I could counter mid-combo, and I wouldn’t mind being unable to counter mid-combo if my counters weren’t misinterpreted so often. Although as irritating as it can be to get my character to do what I want at all times I can’t deny that I’ve still been having lots of fun with Combo Crew, and that’s before taking all the unlockable combos and character customizations into account.