Released (on Steam): 4 May, 2018
Genres: Action Games, Indie
Developer: Mega Cat Studios
Publisher: Zerouno Games
Steam Price: £7.19
Coffee Crisis is a neo-rogue brawler that puts you in the shoes of the only baristas on Earth with enough heavy metal in their veins to fend off an alien assault. Play solo or join up with a friend to fight across eight unique locations ranging from your Coffee House HQ to the far reaches of outer space. Go up against an army of wild alien enemies, and the humans they have brainwashed with a variety of weapons, special moves, suplexes, and coffee!
The Smurglian race has come to Earth and they're not leaving until they steal our three most prized commodities: heavy metal, free Wifi, and coffee. Crunch through fistfuls of alien meat as you stop their invasion, and enjoy random modifiers to the enemies and action on each playthrough. It's a totally unique cup of beat 'em up action every time you play!
With over 50 different screen effects, power-ups, and enemy tweaks Coffee Crisis is never the same game twice. Take the action to Twitch and allow your audience to choose your fate, or play solo and leave it up to chance.
Completion: Completed full playthrough once. Attempted various levels multiple times.
Playtime at Review: 2.7 hours
Total Playtime: 2.7 hours
Achievements at Review: 42/48 (88%)
My rating: 6.7/10
Silly and amusing story, characters, and dialogue that honours the classic games.
Random modifier pickups which can change different aspects of the game.
Different weapons to pickup in game, with different capabilities.
Aspects of the classic beat 'em ups with their own touches added.
Not likely to ever get 100% achievements.
Enemies swarm and have no delay/stun when attacked.
Coffee Crisis is side-scrolling, arcade style, beat ‘em up with a wacky story focussing on three of my favourite things; heavy metal, gaming, and of course, coffee! The game was a collaboration between Black Forge Coffee House, Mega Cat Studios, and Greywalker, which really explains the coffee, metal and wacky story. I took a look at Black Forge’s menu and they had some awesome looking stuff! I mean, drinks called Hellhound, Dragonaut, or Blood Eagle? Yes please! Anyway, you’re probably here to hear about the game. One of the cool things about the game is that was released on Sega Genesis/Megadrive in 2017. This, however, is a review of the Steam version, which released about a year after the Sega version and may differ somewhat.
As with most games, you begin on the initial menu. As with, well, not most games, it’s complemented with some awesome sounding metal! You can select to play as Nick or Ashley, or start a two player co-op game. As you’d expect, the options are available here too, which I highly recommend looking at. Chances are you’ll be changing the difficulty at some point, and potentially modifiers too. There’s then a password option for jumping straight to different levels, or even putting in some cheats. There’s a Shopify button too, which looks as if it should be a means to buy the Genesis and Megadrive versions, but nothing seems to load, so I'm guessing that's no longer in use. Then there’s the standard exit/quit button - no big shock there.
I only played single player, playing through every level for the first time with Nick. The first thing I came across was a notice that I’m playing with modifiers, saying that they appear at the different stages of the game (where the screen stops scrolling until you clear the enemies), and that they can either help you or basically make your life hell, but you have to find that out for yourself. Some of these are crazy and have a real big impact one your game! You then jump into story, and from the very start you can tell it’s going to be complete silliness throughout, as it should be too!
The first level is only a small one, against three enemies, but it’s enough to get a general idea and feel for the controls and what you have to do. As is common for retro beat ‘em ups, there’s a basic attack (can be charged up), a special/more powerful attack (costs health), and a grab and throw type attack, as well as jump attacks. There’s certain objects you can break along the way, and different weapons that can be picked up and used to bash some alien skulls. Then there’s the modifier pickups as mentioned before. Their different effects vary drastically. Invincibility, for example, makes life hell of a lot easier, especially when you get it against a boss. Others make it difficult, sometimes near impossible, to see what’s happening, and others were what I often blamed for my death. I mean, I have to blame something. It can’t just be that I suck… Okay, maybe it was a slight mix modifier and suckage! There’s even a modifier that triggers a coffee drinking mini-game at the end of a level! I imagine this being much more entertaining in co-op, but it’s an easy extra life nonetheless.
The first couple of levels weren’t too chaotic, and generally helped with getting used to the gameplay and enemies, but the difficulty quickly ramped up! I managed to play to stage five or six (out of 14) before the real struggles began. The main thing that makes it so difficult is there are often a buttload of enemies attacking you, some melee, some ranged, but where beat ‘em up games usually have some form of delay/stun when you hit them, these guys take the hits like absolute bosses. You could be beating the crap out of some guy and he’s just smacking you right back. Doesn’t feel a thing. To be fair, it’s a game where you fight aliens and those possessed by aliens, so why should they feel pain? Each enemy does seem to have a cooldown after each of their attacks though, which can be used to take them out if timed right, but that doesn’t tend to help against hordes of aliens and possessed folk. So it’s different to most beat ‘em ups in that sense. I can appreciate them trying to do something a little different though, and it definitely helps make the game brutally challenging!
The music fit perfectly with the chaos and insanity throughout the whole game and it sounded awesome! The story is heavily focussed on metal, so it only makes sense that the tunes throughout the game are metal. Safe to say you may enjoy it a little less if you’re not a fan, but you can always chill on the pause menu instead. Seriously, you should check out the pause menu music! Simply perfect!
Coffee Crisis pays real homage to the classics with it’s amusing story, characters, and dialogue. Unfortunately, I feel the swarms of enemies that feel no pain drain some of the potential fun from the gameplay. It’s certainly not a relaxing, casual experience, with it being challenging no matter which difficulty it’s set at, but for those who like to test themselves, or want a little nostalgia, it’s likely worth a try. While it has its flaws, I feel the positives outweighed the negatives.
Posted on 25-07-2020