Coffee Crisis… the title alone is enough to bring up memories of those mornings we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives.
You know the ones I’m talking about, you’re heading off to work before even the sun has had time to rise, the cold air slapping you in the face and you’re not yet feeling the love for the day as that early morning coffee, that was a bit stronger than you expected, hasn’t quite worked any magic just yet.
Fortunately, the latest title to join the Nintendo Switch library isn’t one that’s going to force us to relive those torturous mornings or have us waiting on the effects of coffee to kick-in before we begin to find enjoyment in our day.
Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure why the developers behind Coffee Crisis have focused on coffee so much in the title, as the actual premise of the game is centred around something far more worrying – the invading Smurgliens. Ity is these guys who are an alien race who have invaded Earth in order to steal our Heavy Metal Music, and of course our coffee, as these are quite clearly the most important thing known to man.
The gameplay is just as unexpected as the plotline too with the game playing as a side-scrolling beat-em-up akin to that of the many 90’s arcade hits. It brings back nostalgic memories for sure but the issue I have with retro-infused beat-em-ups in 2019 is that they often fail to provide the same levels of excitement – or even the- depth that is seen in many games today. Coffee Crisis is indeed a game that is rather shallow in comparison to usual standards.
The main controls give players few options with either a power attack – should you find enough time to power it up without getting attacked – or simple attack buttons that allow players to kick or swing a bag of coffee beans at groups of enemies trying to attack from every direction, whilst a jump is also included for good measure.
That being said, if you’re one of the many hundreds and thousands of people that enjoyed the classic brawlers from back in the day, then Coffee Crisis is indeed a title you’ll want to look into. From the typical brawling noises, to the over the top intrusive but scene-setting heavy metal soundtrack that accompanies gameplay, and even the typically narrated story – if you can call it that – everything here is what you’d expect to find for a game in the era of those that inspired Coffee Crisis.
That said though, those who have become fond of the newer generation of gaming, ones with in-depth stories, branching narratives and eye watering visuals, Coffee Crisis probably won’t provide much excitement.
Not only are the controls too simplistic to be getting truly engaged with, but the game’s story isn’t exactly a work of Shakespeare. Sure, you’ve got some cutesy aliens wanting some of Earth’s finest inventions, and you have two protagonists – Nick and Ashley – throwing their lives on the line to save the day, but besides that there is very little more to be getting stuck into. It doesn’t take long before we’re simply rinsing and repeating the same gameplay actions until you’ve bashed your way through enough enemies to get to the end.
Something else that is sure to split the opinion of players is the difficulty. You see, Coffee Crisis isn’t exactly the simplest game on the market and even on the ‘easy’ setting, having enemies bound in on you from all angels, can be challenging, especially when they start dealing damage. Of course, it’s not always a bad thing for a game to be rather challenging and personally, these are something I relish, but for many, the easy option will certainly feels a lot more like a ‘normal’ or borderline ‘hard’. Should you be gunning for a brutal no holds barred challenge however, then the ‘Death Metal’ mode should have you sorted. For me, this proved too challenging and should you hope to succeed here, you’ll need to have a competent co-op buddy to come along for the ride; this is a difficulty that was born and bread for co-op playthroughs.
Finally, we have one last thing that needs a mention, and that of course is the visuals. Much like the rest of the game, the visuals paint the picture of a perfect 1990’s throwback, with 2.5D environments filled with bright and noticeable colours and your typical pixelated characters making up both the protagonists and the enemies throughout. All-in-all, the visuals mixed with the audio really encapsulate the experience and bring back those long-lost memories.
Overall and if you like retro infused, brawling beat-em-ups, then Coffee Crisis is the perfect game for you, however, if you’re of the opinion that ageing games should stay in the past, then this is one you’re likely going to want to steer clear of. Either way, the developers at least deserve appreciation for creating such a classic brawling experience, and whilst your tastes will dictate whether it’s the game for you, Coffee Crisis definitely has what it takes to match the class of other popular beat-em-ups.
Release date: January 2019
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review)
Massive thanks to: Mega Cat Studios