I take a look at Coffee Crisis by Mega Cat Studios to see if rockin’ tunes, aliens and over caffeinated baristas are all I need to fall in love with this retro inspired beat ‘em up!
Super Ultra Double Espresso Turbo EX
Caffeine, the life blood of many an adult! It keeps us alert, it keeps us at the ready and it gives us the energy to shred the air guitar while we listen to the heaviest of metal at inappropriate times! Oh and it gives us the fortitude we need to take on the alien invaders that will inevitably try to steal our coffee beans! That my friends is the type of straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.
Well, the talented and retro focused devs over at Mad Cat Studios thought there couldn’t have been a more perfect combination of concepts when they brought us their exquisitely rockin’ and overcaffeinated beat ‘em up, Coffee Crisis! And we thought it would be the perfect game to feature next on the Backlog Buck Club. Convenient! But does its nostalgia driven gameplay leave a bitter taste in our mouths like a spoon full of coffee ground sludge or will it punch us right in the pleasure sensors like a mocha frappuccino with a triple shot of espresso?
The Dollar of My Eye (Graphics and Music) - 20 / 25¢
If there is one thing I can say about Mad Cat Studios, it’s that they are the masters of replicating the look and feel of the retro games they’re trying to emulate! Probably because they were developed for the actual consoles themselves first, then ported and enhanced for digital distribution on modern consoles!
And keeping right on brand, Coffee Crisis was developed for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and then ported over to PC/Consoles in glorious digital form. Oh, to have the spare cash to drop on that fancy physical red Genesis cartridge!!
But I digress, in fact, after thinking about it, I would even go as far as to say that Mega Cat Studios has exceeded my expectations of what is possible on that console. With bright and expressive sprites, fluid animations, hilarious cutscenes and fantastically detailed backgrounds! That being said, when it comes to enemy variety, we’re left with something to be desired. I think there might have been 5 or 6 enemy sprites total and you’ll be fighting each and every one of them hundreds if not thousands of times a piece!
But really it’s Coffee Crisis’ soundtrack that makes it shine the brightest. It’s fast paced metal themes keep your blood pumping and accentuates the hectic action on screen! I’m not sure how the soundtrack holds up on the Genesis version, but the “remastered” tracks on the Switch are super fun and I’ll definitely be listening to them outside of the game!
Coin-tagious (Gameplay and Replayability) - 13 / 25¢
Being a beat ‘em up, the gameplay in Coffee Crisis comes with a level of expectation for complexity. That is, it’s about as complex as a two piece puzzle! Basically you’ll be walking from left to right, across a variety of stages beating up on aliens, the possessed elderly and some other combination of the two! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but after playing the game for an hour or so, the threads of tedium starts to bare! You can break the repetitiveness up a bit by executing your special moves, collecting power ups or by picking up random articles to use as weapons, but that can only carry you so far. The controls can also be a bit of a struggle when it comes to pulling off your attacks as well. They can feel a bit sluggish and unresponsive, and good luck trying to get out of the way of an enemies attack!
However, the real fun comes into play when teaming up with a co-op partner. For one, it definitely eases up on the difficulty a bit, especially when you’re being swarmed by all manner of aliens that want nothing more than to do you harm! That and it allows you to yell at one another as you steal kills, healing items, and power-ups! Oh and when worse comes to worse, you can console each other when you game over and have to start the stage from the beginning. Thank the gaming gods for the pass code system! Luckily though, Coffee Crisis is a zero effort, pick up and play experience, with arcade-like sensibilities. So, anytime you’re in the mood to tag team some ne’er do well aliens, it’ll be a cinch!
Give No Quarter (Is it worth the sale price?) - 22 / 25¢
Despite some of its minor flaws, Coffee Crisis was more than worth the sale price we paid for it! I mean for $1.99 we were able to pick up a game that we’ll definitely be revisiting in the future, if for no other reason than to listen to it’s amazing soundtrack. But you can be rest assured that it’s more than it’s music too. Coffee Crisis was a tidy little package that had a unique theme, fun gameplay and just the right amount of retro goodness.
Dollars and Sense (Is it worth the list price?) - 12 / 25¢
And even though I had a blast playing the game, I might hesitate a bit to pay full price for it. At $9.99 it’s not going to break the bank, but for a game that you’ll only occasionally play and could easily complete within an hour, you might want to wait until it’s on sale again. In my opinion it’s an instant buy at $5.00 or less!
Honestly, I more than appreciate the retro inspired novelty of the game. And I think if you have fond memories of playing classic beat ‘em ups either in the arcade or at home, then I think you’ll definitely enjoy Coffee Crisis!