Street Fighter IV aside, there aren’t many decent beat ‘em ups on the App Store or Google Play, largely because the genre typically demands intricate control systems, and virtual D-pads – or worse still, analogue sticks – suck.
In developing Combo Crew, The Game Bakers refused to compromise, working with the touchscreen rather than grating against it. As such, there are no virtual buttons whatsoever. True story.
Interestingly, the control system in Combo Crew is focused entirely around swipes, with one and two-fingered gestures.
Specifically, a single swipe will move your Combo Crew fighter towards a particular opponent, and you can hold your finger down for charged attacks; maybe the baddie is blocking, or maybe you just want to send him flying.
Two-fingered gestures, meanwhile, activate your combos, and you can assign four for each fighter (up, down, left and right), with plenty of new combos available to buy.
Finally, charge the Super Combo gauge to the top, and you’re tasked with frantically swiping in order to deal lightning-fast fury.
Oh, and not forgetting the option to counter/block. When an opponent is about to attack, an exclamation mark appears above his head, and a quick tap of the screen will fend him off. If you get hit at any time, incidentally, your combo counter goes back to zero.
Yep, that’s the Combo Crew control system. Reminded me a little of Batman: Arkham City.
As for Combo Crew’s story, there’s some sort of boss at the top of a tower, and reaching him requires brawling through seven sets of five levels. That’s King of the Tower mode.
There’s also Combo Crew mode, essentially an endless battle with plenty of missions to complete. This particular mode also has asynchronous multiplayer, whereby you can essentially send a level to a friend to complete for you. Neat.
And that’s Combo Crew in a nutshell; swipe controls, two game modes, four fighters (two unlockable), and something like 80+ combos.
Where Combo Crew fell down somewhat, for me, was when I realised I could pretty much, er, cheat. Kinda.
See, after each attack, you can tap the screen to initiate a block/counter. If no one’s attacking, you can simply carry on comboing (unlike Batman: Arkham City, where a failed block cancels the combo).
As such, I found a single effective combo from Parker and spent my time constantly swiping down with two fingers, tapping the screen, swiping down with two fingers, tapping the screen, swiping down with two fingers, tapping the screen…
Loophole aside, I mostly enjoyed Combo Crew. It’s pretty good.
- Two game modes
- Loads of combos
- Nice cartoon-style presentation
- Real samey
- The ability to sorta cheat
- Synchronous multiplayer might've been fun
Summary: Combo Crew is an interesting take on the beat ‘em up, with effective swipe-based controls, and plenty of combos to explore. Definitely worth a look.
Developer: The Game Bakers
Price: £1.49 @ App Store
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.