One of the greatest strengths of App Store games has always been intuitive and innovative control schemes. Virtual buttons, even when done well, tend to be frustrating. Especially in a genre like beat’em ups. The Game Bakers, developers of the Squids games, are well aware of this, and it shows in their latest title, Combo Crew.
Wanting to prove himself the best fighter in the whole world, a character called The Boss calls the three best fighters in the world to his tower fortress. There, as the three fighters, you have to climb the floors and fight your way out through absurd numbers of henchmen. All of the fighting is done with swipes and taps, holding swipes to charge attacks and break blocks, with two finger swipes activating combos, which can juggle and knock down foes. If you fill your combo meter, you can unleash a super combo, devastating the screen depending on how much you can swipe. Of course, if you get hit once at any point, your combo meter resets.
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Early enemy attacks are easy to read and counter, which you do by simply tapping. However, you can’t counter if you’re in the middle of a combo, which becomes problematic later in the game as enemies attack more suddenly. The key is to be patient, and wait for enemies to move before going into a quick combo and backing off. There is a certain rhythm to enemy attack patterns that you’ll eventually learn.
You start with two fighters, Gina and Parker. If you’re having trouble in the campaign, you can enter the Combo Crew endless mode, with rotating mission objectives. This is a great way to unlock new moves and save up enough to unlock the other two fighters, Dolph and Sammo. Coins that you earn in play can be used to buy perks and permanent upgrades, which will be essential to your progress in the campaign mode. Awesomely, there are no IAP at all, and the coins you use to buy boosts and perks have to be earned.
Aside from the swipe controls, this game would feel at home on any arcade cabinet. It’s simple, streamlined, and really fun, with a big emphasis on high scores. You can also play the game cooperatively with a friend, letting them rescue you in the endless score attack mode if you run out of health. The art is crisp, the animation is fluid, and the controls are almost always responsive. This is an iOS fighting game done right. It’s iOS universal, and for the current price of two dollars, I fully recommend it.