Super Crate Box Review
What do you get when you take the uncompromising difficulty and fast-twitch insanity of a game like Ikaruga and combine it with the old school platforming of Donkey Kong? That would be Dutch developer Vlambeer’s turbo-charged extravaganza, Super Crate Box!
Originally released as an independent PC game, the title was ported over to iOS by British developer Halfbot, who did an admirable job of translating the demanding play controls to the touch-screen. Even though the best way to play this game is still with some kind of traditional game controller, the play control is more than functional, after you get used to a few of the quirks. It's a little awkward to have your thumbs in the way at first, but very rarely will you die because of it. The iPad's larger screen helps to spread out the action and things feel a bit more comfortable.
The core of the game is rooted in the golden age of platforming, albeit with a healthy dose of amphetamines. The flow of enemies is constant and you have nothing but your wits and an arsenal of random weapons to keep you alive. The goal is to collect as many crates as you can before you either fall into a firey pit or are run over by one of three different monsters.
Every time you collect a crate, you get a new and random weapon. So just as you’re getting used to laying waste with the rocket launcher, you will be stuck with the dual pistols or, even worse, the dreaded disc gun. Don’t sleep on the mines though. They may not seem like much at first, but you can lay waste.
The gameplay is a mix between gathering crates and killing bad guys. You have to have the right balance of both. If all you do is kill, kill, kill... you won’t progress anywhere. But if you decide to just go for the crates, you will soon be overrun with bad guys. If an enemy manages to pass through the entire screen unscathed, it won’t be long before it reappears in an angrier, faster form.
I want to make something clear though - this game is not for everybody. The iOS platform may be for casual gamers in general, but Super Crate Box is every bit a hardcore game. If you want to unlock all the weapons, levels, game modes, and character skins, you have to bear down on this and get ready for some pain. But once you get used to it, the frenetic gameplay will start to smooth out and you will start to see 10 steps ahead and feel like you’re in The Matrix. Until one of those sneaky ghosts gets ya.