Super Crate Box
Collect the crates. Kill the monsters. Don’t die. Seems simple enough, right? Not if you are playing Super Crate Box.
This indie game by Vlambeer is a throwback to the golden days of arcades when 8-bit was king, but it also brings the complexity and solid game design we have come to expect.
In the game you start off with a simple dual pistol. That changes the second you collect a crate. Weapons are switched out randomly and you have no choice in the matter because no matter how much you may want to hold on to the bazooka, you need to pick up crates in order to unlock new weapons and levels. The result typically tends to be a shriek of joy when you pick up a minigun, and a mad dash to get rid of the dangerously deadly mines as soon as possible.
Inevitably, you start having so much fun killing monsters that you forget all about the crates. Of course you should by no means ignore the endless stream of monsters that walk gleefully to their deaths. If you let them jump into the fire pit, the monsters return red and faster than ever. Oh, and did I mention that one hit brings about instant death? Yup, that’s right. No health bar, no 1 ups, no second chances. If you die you have to start all over again. Fortunately, that doesn’t effect the number of weapons you can unlock, just the number of levels. So you may be stuck on a particular level for quite some time trying to get the specified number of crates in one run to move on.
Besides weapons and levels there are also fun characters like, the astronaut, robot, and chicken, to unlock as you attempt to rack up the ultimate crate count.
Super Crate Box also offers three levels of difficulty: normal, SFMT (more enemies spawn as crates are collected), and Ambush (enemies spawn anywhere and everywhere on the map. Good luck with that). All three settings are sure to keep players on their toes.
Overall Super Crate Box is a charming fast paced platformer that shows players no mercy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. While a bulk of the game’s success thus far is due to adding a layer of complexity to a typical platform game, it is the game’s retro aesthetics that ties the entire package together.
You can play Super Crate Box on multiple platforms including PC, iPad, Ouya, and Commodore 64. Personally, I recommend downloading the game through Steam. When playing on a tablet the controls don’t feel right, and those playing on Ouya have noted some issues with jumping. Both instances can lead to a frustrating experience robbing the game of all charm. Sometimes there’s nothing like the good old PC. Plus it’s free, and free is always nice.