Released: Feb 24, 2017
- Sega Genesis
On May 4, 2018, the Indie company Mega Cat Studios released its game Coffee Crisis for PC and Linux on Steam. Originally Coffee Crisis was a Homebrew game that Mega Cat Studios released in 2017 for Sega Genesis and the Sega Mega Drive System. I have recently played through and beaten it and I will now discuss details about the game as well as any dislikes I may have about it. Coffee Crisis is a 16-bit pixel-style Beat ‘em up/Arcade game with a Death Metal theme and a retro feel similar to classic games such as Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, or Double Dragon. The game idea started when Mega Cat Studio's owner met Black Forge Coffee House owners Nick and Ashley at a Children's Hospital fundraiser in Pittsburgh and includes soundtracks from the Pittsburgh metal band Greywalker as well as some scenes and locations from the city appearing in the game.
In Coffee Crisis the game's story is that the Earth is getting invaded by a race of Aliens called the Smurglians. The Smurglians have been watching Earth for many years and have come to the conclusion that the best it has to offer is Death Metal music, Coffee, and Wi-Fi internet and wish to steal these for themselves. The fate of Earth is left to the two owners of the Black Forge Coffee House, Nick Miller, and Ashley Corts. Nick wields a sack of coffee beans and Ashley a coffee pot, and together they must put an end to the Alien invasion. After picking either Nick or Ashley, the game starts you off in the Black Forge Coffee House that is being overrun by the Smurglians and some humans they have brainwashed.
You must clear each stage by defeating all the enemies on the screen and then moving on to the next screen and so on until you finally make your way to the end of the stage where you step through a portal to the next stage. On each stage, you will find many types of enemies which include mind-controlled old ladies with walkers as weapons, old geezers that attack you with walking canes, thugs and criminals, cowgirls with lassos, small one-eyed aliens, classic grey aliens that shoot projectiles from their hands, as well as many different types of bosses per stage. To heal you must pick up coffee pots, coffee cups, and coffee beans, which can be found in crates, phone booths, off enemies, and many other types of objects. Along the way, you can find many different weapons to use against your enemies which include baseball bats, swords, road signs, and even an alien arm that can shoot projectiles at your enemies. You start the game with three lives and once you die it is game over, but you can find more lives throughout the game. Sometimes you can find extra lives on the ground, they can drop from enemies, appear from breakable items, or if you find a mini-game token on a stage you can play a coffee drinking mini-game after you complete the stage for a chance at earning extra lives.
This game includes mutators that can affect the game randomly on each screen and can affect either the enemy, the player or the screen itself. Some player mutators can give you different types of powerups such as invincibility or increased damage and an enemy modifier might help out the enemies for a few seconds by making them stronger or increasing and decreasing how many enemies spawn. Visual mutators can make the screen completely red, turn the screen into a black and white pencil mode, or a colorful wireframe mode and can make the game harder to play for a few seconds. Every time you play the game you can have a different experience because these mutators are random. Coffee Crisis also has social media integration features for the computer versions of the game. If you link to Twitch, viewers can vote for mutators that appear in the game and completely change your gameplay. This can add to the difficulty of the game and makes it more complicated than it already is as well as giving the game more replay value.
The first thing you might notice as you play this game is the difficulty. It is harder than your average game these days and you will probably die a lot until you finally figure out the mechanics of the game. This is due to its retro aspect of the game, as games were a lot harder back then. Some gamers might find this game too hard for them, but others will probably enjoy the challenge. The game has four difficulties which include Easy, Medium, Death, and Metal. After beating the game you unlock the harder difficulties and the ability to toggle Modifiers and Special FX on and off. You can also unlock some cheats such as infinite lives, level skip, or one-hit kills on enemies. This game offers a single-player and a two-player local co-op option. It is always fun to play with a friend!
The controls for Coffee Crisis are quite smooth and easy to learn. You can play with either a gamepad or a keyboard. Both work well and compliment the game nicely, but I chose to use an Xbox 360 controller and would recommend the same for your first playthrough. The D-Pad lets your character move up, down, left, or right. The A button lets you jump, you attack with X, B lets you use your health draining special spin attack, and the Y button lets you grab enemies which you can then pummel with X or throw them with the press of back on the D-Pad and X.
Coffee Crisis is a great game to play for many reasons. While the graphics may not be the best compared to the newer games out there, the 16-bit retro look is definitely a nod to games from the past and offers gameplay that retro gamers love. The difficulty of the game may not be for all, but it adds a challenge and sense of accomplishment when you do finally beat that boss or stage you were struggling on and the option to unlock even more difficulties just adds to this satisfying challenge that many games lack these days. The mutators add a unique aspect to the game that gives this game tons of replay value. Whether you like classic arcade-style Beat ‘em up games or just love a challenge, I urge you to pick this game up! For a mere price tag of $5.99, you won't be disappointed, Coffee Crisis is worth every penny!