Coffee Crisis Review

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Coffee Crisis Review

Coffee Crisis is an old school side-scrolling beat em up developed and produced by Mega Cat Studios.

Every now and then a hidden gem of a game appears. A game that hasn’t received the publicity it deserves. Hidden by the AAA games of the world publicising their games in every available media format. For me that game is Coffee Crisis. I hadn’t heard of Coffee Crisis before, but as a result of some research my excitement grew. I couldn’t be happier to be the one to play and review the game. For years I have yearned for a new Streets of Rage or Golden Axe game to come back. Coffee Crisis definitely quenches that thirst.

The Title Menu

Background

First released on the Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis for readers in the US) in 2017. Yes, Mega Cat Studios in fact started the life of Coffee Crisis on the Mega Drive/ Genesis. To have an actual physical Mega Drive cartridge of Coffee Crisis available to buy, complete with game box and manual, really brings to life the true nostalgia factor of this game. It has recently found a home on Windows PC and Xbox One.

The Sega Mega Drive/ Genesis physical copy of Coffee Crisis

It all started when the owner of Mega Cat Studios met Barista’s Nick and Ashley at a charity fundraiser in Pittsburgh. With the love of retro video games, the idea of an old school game was forged. Nick and Ashley from Black Forge Coffee House wrote the script and Mega Cat Studios created the game. The game takes many things from its Pittsburgh origins. The Coffee shop of course, but there are also a few levels set in locations in Pittsburgh. Also the soundtrack is provided by Pittsburgh’s own ‘Greywalker’, a Heavy Metal Band.

Story

Let me set the scene. Aliens are observing the world. They have become obsessed with the internet, WiFi, heavy metal music and retro games. They have decided to set up their own internet and are stealing the worlds WiFi. You play as one of two Barista’s, Nick and Ashley, from Black Forge Coffee House in Pittsburgh. They take it upon themselves to be the world’s heroes with the purpose of saving it from the already present threat. You will need to take down little greybeard aliens in Charles Xavier style wheelchairs, possessed Grannies with Zimmer frames and big hulking mayonnaise monsters. It sounds crazy and that’s because it is. It all adds to the charm of the game and really creates something quite individual.

The story is told humerously through images and text

Gameplay

If you have ever played and enjoyed a streets of rage game from the days of the Mega Drive, then you know what to expect from Coffee Crisis. It is a side-scrolling beat em up. You fight your way through rather quirky designed levels fighting little grey aliens and possessed humans. Coffee Crisis can be played solo or in Co-Op mode.

The Black Forge Coffee House, where you start your adventure

The controls are simple; Jump, attack, special attack and grab/pick up. Initially you are armed with just a bag of coffee beans or a metal coffee pot to smack down as many alien invaders as possible. However as you progress through the game you pick up weapons like street signs, baseball bats and guitars that fire projectiles when swung. There is also a range of power ups you can collect like invincibility and damage boosts. In addition this is all accompanied by an awesome heavy metal soundtrack which really goes well with the street brawling.

Weapons are found on top of/ or in cracks in the pavement

The game works on a health bar system accompanied with lives to use if you lose all your health. In the event you lose all your lives and you have to start the level again. There’s no checkpoints or save data. The game is old school in every degree. When you complete a level you will be provided with a level password. Make sure you keep note of these as when you start up the game again you will need to input this to start off the level you last played. Again, right in the nostalgia feels.

Difficulty

It is what you would expect from a retro game, hard (even on easy), especially a boss part of a level or towards the end of the game. There is a decent balance between difficulty and fun. Don’t get me wrong, make a mistake and it will cost you. Coffee Crisis is not here to hold your hand through the story. However that said this really doesn’t take away how fun the game is.

Get ready for plenty of boss fights!

Graphics

Graphically it is as you would expect, looking fresh from 1991. But as it began life as a Mega Drive game and with the game going for that retro nostalgia feel, what more could you ask for. For an older gamer you will feel right at home, back in the days of CRT TV’s and games on cartridge. For the younger generation, the game is so much fun, you probably won’t take any notice of the graphics. It is a retro classic created in the here and now and therefore should be respected as such.

Verdict

For a gamer spawned in the NES era, growing up on SNES and Mega Drive titles, Coffee Crisis was a trip down nostalgia lane. I was in retro heaven from start to finish. Coffee Crisis achieves something that is not easily done in today’s ever demanding AAA market and that is simplicity. A simple pick up and brawl kind of game reminiscent of the Streets of Rage titles. To call something simple can be negative, however not to Coffee Crisis. Or to any other retro inspired game that can capture the golden days of gaming.

In conclusion, yes it can be difficult, yes the lack of checkpoints and saved games can be infuriating, but this is where gaming started. To younger gamers this might not land in the way it should. For the older generation this is a must have title. Unfortunately my biggest criticism comes from the fact Coffee Crisis is not yet available to purchase in the UK. Even worse we have no idea if and when it will arrive on UK shores. Nevertheless I will be sure to let you know when it happens.

Coffee Crisis is available now for Xbox One in the US at the very low price of $10.99 on the Xbox live store.

A review copy for Xbox One was provided for the purposes of this review. Thank you!

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The Good

  • Nostalgia!
  • A lot of fun
  • Quirky Story

The Bad

  • Can be very difficult
  • No checkpoints
  • No Autosave
9

Written by: Aaron Taylor

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