Super Comboman
Gameplay 6
Graphics 6
Sound 6

Super Comboman contains some great ideas, but is let down by less than stellar gameplay. Games such as Guacamelee! and Aces Wild have already demonstrated how great titles in the platform brawling genre can be, but Super Comboman doesn’t quite live up to expectations. The controls are the biggest source of frustration and the steep difficulty curve also feels more like a punishment than a challenge.

Gameplay: Lots of potential, but let down by frustrating controls and a steep difficulty curve.
Graphics: The sticker style visuals is an interesting and unique choice.
Sound: Not bad, but a little repetitive

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Super Comboman

Developer: Interabang Entertainment | Publisher: Adult Swim Entertainment |Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Indie / Platform / Fighting |Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

A severely overdue mortgage payment prompts Struggles, the hero of Super Comboman, to apply for a job at a construction company. Quite why the construction company would pay someone to beat up their own workers is never really explained, but it does give Struggles the excuse he needs to emulate his favorite comic book hero, Super Comboman. Struggles might be slight overweight and a walking fashion crime, but he does know how to use his fists.

There are few things more disappointing than a game that fails to live up to its promise and unfortunately this is the case with Super Comboman. When I first laid eyes on the game I was very impressed with the visual direction, which featured sticker style characters instead of the usual retro pixel style that is so in vogue these days.

Struggles, sporting a pink shirt and fanny pack, is not your typical action hero, but fits in well with the cartoonish nature of the visuals. Enemies consist mostly of construction workers of all shapes and sizes and the levels are pretty colorful. All the characters and most of the objects on each level have a thick white border which fits in with the whole sticker theme, but not everyone will appreciate this style.

Visuals

I quite enjoyed the visual direction of the game, although it never influences the gameplay in the same manner as something like Stick it to The man, which employed a similar style. The animations are quite nice for the most part, but I did encounter a few instances where Struggles would be stuck in a certain pose and unable to move. Upon release the game was pretty bare bones when it came to graphical settings, but a recent patch added the ability to select your resolution as well as quality setting.

Gameplay

As much as I enjoyed the visuals, the gameplay was a bit of a letdown. This is mostly due to the controls which never feel responsive enough, even when played with a controller, and the steep learning curve. Struggles can jump and double jump as well as wall jump, but the latter is tricky to pull off. As you have probably guessed from the name though, most of your time in the game is spent beating up a procession of enemies using combo attacks.

Struggles can pull of a quick, light attack or bust out a smash attack which takes time to recharge. If you want to stay alive though you are going to have to learn how to block and parry effectively as enemies can make short work of you. To parry you have to tap the direction button towards your opponent just as they launch their attack which requires timing and usually ends badly for Struggles if you do it wrong. Hammering the attack buttons randomly won’t get you very far, so it is advisable to spend some time learning the controls. While I like the idea of being able to purchase special moves and perks using coins collected during levels, I found that using cheap hit and run tactics was often way more effectively than risking combos. The developers patched a few things such as enemy attack priorities, internal stun meters and enemy armor based on player feedback, but the controls still felt a bit iffy. Maybe with more practice it would feel more intuitive, but I fear most players will simply give up in frustration after a few hours.

For some reason the game uses a lives system, which means you only have three tries to complete a level or it is back to the start. The checkpoints were adjusted by a recent patch which improved things a bit, but it is still frustrating to lose your last life due to some cheap enemy attack or trap and then having to redo the entire level. What frustrated me even more was the game crashing to the desktop without warning quite a few times in the middle of a level and upon restarting I not only had to redo the level, but the previous one as well for some bizarre reason. These factors, along with the wearisome difficulty spikes in later levels really sapped my enjoyment of the game.

Audio

The audio is decent, but although fitting, some of the tunes quickly become repetitive. This is mostly due to the tunes being so short that they quickly loop as well has having to redo levels multiple times. Super Comboman also features an announcer that shouts out weird phrases based on how many hits you achieve in a combo, which gets old rather quickly. The game only has sixteen levels, but due to the lives system and difficulty spikes it takes a while to get through all of them. Collecting stickers hidden throughout the levels adds some replay value, but don’t expect any exploration as the game is very linear.

Conclusion

Although the game frustrated me immensely, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have fun at times. Pulling off huge combos is quite satisfying and smacking enemies into buttons or traps is a blast. I also really liked the characters and the setting of the game. The good news is that Interabang Entertainment really cares about their game and has already released two patches to address some of the bugs and issues. If the developers can polish things a bit more, and tighten up the controls, the game will certainly be worth a second look. As it stands though, this is probably only for hardcore fans of the genre that won’t mind the old school difficulty.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2 or higher
  • Processor: 1.80GHz Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 512MB of VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • Processor: 1.80GHz Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 512MB of VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space

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