There’s no question Super Crate Box is a silly game. You basically run around one of three levels collecting crates and killing monsters to stay alive. It’s like a side view FPS with no fancy graphics and no point. The funny thing is that it is also one of the most addictive games I’ve played in quite a while, and that says a lot since I’ve spent almost every day for the past week playing Treasures of Montezuma 3. There’s something about the simplicity of the game combined with the retro pixel graphics that to me makes it a whole lot more interesting than the previously released Muffin Knight, a game clearly inspired by this one. All I know is I’m glad to be part of the crate collecting revolution.
So part of me feels like I should just leave the first paragraph and call it quits. After all, that’s about all there is to the game. You play this little guy running around the screen, shooting any monsters that show up and running into every crate in order to collect the weapon that is inside. To start the game you get 1 character, 1 background and a couple of weapon choices. As you collect crates you’ll start unlocking new characters, better (sometimes) armaments and two additional locations. Initially you’ll be unlocking things like crazy, but after a while the requirements to unlock the next item become a bit more challenging.
Different characters don’t seem to offer any nuances in gameplay. Locations do because each one brings a new monster type, and though the rooms are only one screen – or maybe because of that – the configurations can make a big different in playing style. What really throws you for a loop, however, are the guns. This is truly a game where each weapons makes a huge difference in how you approach the enemy. Some serve you well at long range, while others require the personal touch. Some need a bit of reload time, and a few are good at cleaning house with one shot. Then there are a couple of weapons like the Disc gun that can take you out just as soon as the enemy. The thing is, you automatically switch guns when you pick up a crate, so you have to deal with what you’re given. This can make the game both frustrating and quite dynamic.
What you have to keep in mind is that the game really is all about the crates. Killing monsters is just a means to get to those crates. You can sit and shoot at monsters all day with your favorite weapon, but you won’t get a better score that way. This is what makes the game so addictive as well. An individual play through is generally pretty quick, and when you’re done you look at the number of crates you collected and think “I know I can do better”. 50 rounds later, you might just make that statement come true.
The graphics are great. Everything is retro pixel goodness, while at the same time providing a crazy amount of details in some cases. For instance, if you use the shotgun you’ll actually see a shell fly out. Your character also tosses his weapon (when appropriate) as he picks up a new one. In the background of the moon temple level there’s even a statue that slowly moves up as you collect crates. The sound effects are just as cool, at least where the guns are concerned. Each weapon has a unique sound, and even if you miss the message saying what you picked up and are too caught up in the action to notice the graphic change, you’ll recognize your armament the first time you fire. The music is pure chip-tune magic, and each level has its own theme, which is a great bonus.
This game is universal, and about the only thing I’d like to see is the ability to migrate your status between devices so you don’t have to unlock everything multiple times (not that it hasn’t been fun doing that). Otherwise, there’s really nothing to complain about here. The game is simple, it’s frustrating and it’s addictive all at the same time. Super Crate Box looks great, it sounds wonderful, and it’s almost making me crave a NES. Ah, the good old days.
|Title:||Super Crate Box||Developer:||Vlambeer|
|Reviewed Ver:||Min OS Req:||3.1|