Super Crush KO, by Vertex Pop, is one of those games that looks and feels fantastic. It’s a 2D brawler, in which a kidnapped kitty sends you into battle against a bunch of alien nasties, and it’s delivered in dreamy cocktail pinks and purples, flat colours referencing the glory days of Flash gaming, perhaps, while the controls are wonderfully responsive and the battle arenas are nice and snug.
Play it on Switch, as I’ve been doing this week, and it’s the perfect enlivener to a dark commute, riding the bus before the sun is up, trying to work our whether the mist is going to turn into drizzle.
No drizzle in the Super Crush KO world. Everything is pink and purple and ready for an air-juggle. The combat elements are nice and simple: melee, ranged, dodge, twister-drill etc. Enemies turn up in puzzley little combinations as you move from one screen to the next, and while there are environmental challenges and bosses, the real challenge comes from the fact that you can see your grade on the screen all the way through a battle, so I’m constantly fighting to turn a D into a B or an A even as I tackle wave after wave of baddies.
Away from the brawling itself, this is one of those magical games where the background does so much. Like Bonanza Bros or a bunch of other 16-Bit classics my eye is drawn every now and then to the dreamy skyscrapers rising in the distance, the candied sky, the sense of quiet orderly life going on around all this knockabout fighting. I’m still early on in Super Crush KO and I gather the whole thing is pretty short, but for now it’s perfect January gaming – a window of colour when the morning world around me is so dark and chill.