Platform: Sega Genesis/Megadrive, PC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: Feb 24, 2017 (Sega), May 4, 2018 (PC), Nov 30, 2018 (Switch)
Developer: Mega Cat Studios
Do you remember being 8-12 and playing video games? Did you ever come up with your own? Was it ever as crazy as aliens stealing metal music and baristas being our sole line of protection? I am pretty sure the answer to that question is no. Thankfully Mega Cat Studios has put together a game of that so you do not have to, and it is pretty great!
So, the “Smurgliens” are a race of aliens whose planet apparently runs on coffee beans and heavy metal. They have come to just take it from us, as usually happens for some reason with aliens in media, and we have to rely on Nick and Ashley, metalhead baristas, to swing their coffee bags and keep the world safe. Traveling through the streets, to factories, alien planets, and back again, our heroes embark on an crazy journey to save planet Earth. I love all the geeky references they make as you move from place to place in the story, and there was even a second act I was not expecting once I finished the first.
So how is the game you ask? Let’s start with the soundtrack. It is absolutely amazing. Each track chosen fits perfectly, and while it can be a bit repetitive it works every time. The levels themselves are also very well designed. Mega Cat Studios adds plenty of vibrant color, even into dark backgrounds, and blends them in a way that does not intrude upon the scenery. There are also different view modes the game will suddenly change to which are cool, but can sometimes happen at the worst time.
As as far as gameplay, the interesting thing about Coffee Crisis is it was actually developed for the Sega Genesis! It is a side-scrolling brawler, just like Streets Of Rage. There are only a few commands, with punching being your main one. You can also charge attack, jump, grab enemies, spin, and pick up a few on the ground weapons if you find them lying around.
I do have one issue with your spin move, while it is a bit extra powerful, using it lowers your health. The trade off generally is not worth the move. The game is also pretty difficult, so having an extra move in your arsenal that did not penalize you would have been useful. I would highly suggest taking advantage of the two player option as I could see that increasing your odds of survival. I played the entire game solo and had it rough a few times.
One thing I would have really liked would have been a legend on the menu or title screen. There was so much with the controls and power ups I just did not understand. Some stuff is easy, like guessing when it says “35 HP” when you pick something up that it increased your health, but “CRT Vision”? I still have no clue what that was. Some modern practices can be added even with the restraints of old hardware.
So should you play Coffee Crisis? For $10 bucks it is a steal, so you absolutely should. The game fits perfectly on the Nintendo Switch, just like many indie titles do. If you want to tackle something that will give you a bit of nostalgia and also be weird as all get outs, do yourself a favor and pick up Coffee Crisis.