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Super Crate Box Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on January 9, 2012


Super Crate Box
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Sharp instantaneous controls; no one but yourself to blame.
  • Simplistic adrenaline pumping action platforming.
  • Handful of unlockable content and characters.
  • Harder modes to unlock for more of a challenge.

CONS

  • Doesn't feel entirely at home on the iPhone; split-second responses not always possible with touch buttons.
  • Fingers can cover a good portion of the lower screen; offset by crates 'exploding' in to existence, but still problematic.

VERDICT

Short of physical controls, Super Crate Box is a near perfect adaption of the 2010 smash-hit; fast, frantic and fun - the three f's all action fans should be able to appreciate.


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Too often gamers bring down the mighty wrath of the collective community down upon a game for being a 'clone'. While sometimes justified (especially if artistic theft is involved), more often than not gamers are simply witnessing the natural progression of any new idea to mass production and eventual refinement in to a genre. Super Crate Box by Vlambeer and Halfbot is arguably the progenitor of its particular flavor and style of arcade action-platforming, but with competitors already mimicking the formula, is it still the best?

In a very basic and real sense, there's just no copying what makes Super Crate Box so fun and addictive. Despite oodles of enemies pouring their way down the platforms towards a firey pit, players must focus their attention on collecting crates to earn points and having their weapon randomly switched in the process. Depending on your luck and skill a round can last from a few points to several dozen or even more if you've mastered the mechanics.

It's clear that much of the development time went in to its deceptively simple controls, with the response times on these buttons being near instantaneous. Oddly though the precise level of these controls (including the game's collision detection) can be off-putting for those used to playing platformers. There's no light level of physics to simulate inertia, nor is there any cool down between jumps allowing the player to 'bounce' if they land faster than normal (such as jumping while between platforms). For many, this is what makes SCB so competitive and challenging - there's literally no one to blame for yourself for errors - with that said, it can feel incredibly awkward to play until you've racked up a lot of game time.

Adding to this is the broad and randomized selection of weapons on offer ranging from pistols to laser rifles - each one operating in unique ways with damage to match. Being stuck with mines when a crate is at the top of the level can be a nightmare, but that's part of the risk and fun of playing the game. It can take a while to feel comfortable with everything on offer, however the Dual Pistols seem to have lost something in the translation to touch controls as their weak bullets and lack of auto-fire make them frustrating to use in almost all situations.

Longevity and replay value is further bolstered by unlockables in the form of new characters to randomly spawn as; new weapons; new game modes (essentially higher difficulty levels); and most interestingly of all the developer has promised updates based on the number of crates unlocked - we'll have to see how that plays out in the future. Unfortunately, most of this content can be unlocked in the first hour and all but the most hardcore of audiences will be left seeking out highscores they may never topple.

With all of this in mind Super Crate Box still the king of its kind if only because there's just no way to match the original's fast-paced, energetic gameplay. If you're motivated by high scores or just want a mindless action distraction, Super Crate Box is a fantastic way to spend your spare time.

Screenshots

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