Combo Crew brings fast-paced brawling to the iOS platform, taking minor inspiration from classic beat 'em ups like Final Fight and Streets of Rage. The question is, however, whether this punch-throwing, rough-and-tumble fighting game is Godlike, or total scrub tier?
The formula is fairly simple: as one of several different characters, you'll battle your way through a bad guy-filled tower on your quest to prove that you're the best by making it to the top and beating the ultimate boss, Mr. Boss. Each level consists of several waves filled with different types of enemies for you to bash into nothingness. While there are several types of enemies, they don't really behave that differently from each other, so most end up feeling like palette-swapped punching bags. The different playable characters move and fight with different rhythms, which helps bring some variety to the gameplay.
Outside of each level there are plenty of upgrades and boosts to purchase, as well as new attacks to unlock. The purchases are fairly priced, and help give some long-term goals to everything. Each level comes with score-based medals (the completion of which earns extra currency). You’ll earn medals in each level based on your score, so you'll probably end up replaying things a few times to acquire every gold medal your grubby little fingers can carry. Plus, there are a number of missions to complete outside of the main game, so overall there's a ton of replayability here.
The actual fighting itself is solid. Enemies are dopey, but get aggressive just often enough to keep things exciting. Every once in a while you'll hit a perfect groove to where you're dashing between several different foes, keeping them all juggled, winded, or in various other states of misery, all while watching your combo multiplier go sky-high and your super meter fill to busting. There's no control stick/virtual buttons here, just swiping and tapping to control your character. The touch-based controls work fine, though they can occasionally be imprecise. But the game's pretty generous on timing, so that helps keep things from getting frustrating. Even when the controls are working perfectly (which is most of the time), it's hard to shake the feeling that each punch and kick would feel more satisfying if you were pressing buttons instead of gently tapping a screen.
Combo Crew's graphics are great. There's enough detail to give you a good idea of what everything is, but the cartoony style is what makes the game really pop. The sound effects and music work well, too. The many thwacks and thuds do their job, and the music is suitably pumped, gaining momentum with the flow of action without ever becoming grating, but also never becoming especially notable.
The iOS isn't a platform known for its brawlers, and Combo Crew looks to fill that void by kick-punching its way onto every iPad and iPhone it can. While console brawlers may be more satisfying, it's hard not to recommend Combo Crew for anyone with a hankering for martial arts action.
App Store Link: Combo Crew for iPhone & iPad | By The Game Bakers | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.0.2 | 51.0 MB | Rating 9+