Published on February 18th, 2014 | by Craig Forshey2
Crosstown Smash Review
“Hey! You got your beat ’em up in my rpg!”
“Well you got your rpg in my beat ’em up!”
That’s the conversation I imagine is going on in my head when playing the awesome new epic fighting game Crosstown Smash. This re-imagining of the classic fighting game formula from indie dev PANC Software cleverly takes the arcade sensibilities of Streets Of Rage and mashes it together with light rogue-like mechanics and a slapstick sense of humor to great success. Featuring a hilarious storyline, fun gameplay, and an authentically badass original soundtrack from chiptune artist Factor6, Crosstown Smash is the best indie beat ’em up so far this year.
As one of four local heroes in Crosstown Smash’s retro themed Darien City it’s up to players to clear the streets of crime while beating up any bad guy who tries to get in your way, all while on direct orders from the President! Err, I mean mayor. And while that may sound fairly straight forward things quickly spiral out of control as the heroes fight their way to the truth behind a conspiracy that threatens to swallow the entire pixelated content of Oshiana.
While its core gameplay is set firmly in beat ’em up territory, Crosstown Smash expands things quite a bit by incorporating a neat gesture based special move system that seems strange at first but soon begins to make sense and even feel intuitive. There are even elements of fighting game staples like the use of blocking and counters. Enemies tend to attack in packs, making use of their superior numbers to surround the player and retreating back in cowardice if they manage to escape one your thrashings conscious. Crosstown Smash offers two very different control schemes, a traditional virtual gamepad and a more touch screen oriented point and click affair, but I found myself sticking with the virtual gamepad as that was what felt most comfortable to me.
Throughout the course of the game players will gradually unlock better moves and power up various aspects of their character by finding a tonne of neat collectibles scattered throughout each fighting arena. There are so many to find that the game actually has an entire catalog of all the stuff waiting for your character to discover. Like the other elements in Crosstown Smash’s hodge podge of gaming styles this helps to keep players engaged much longer than your average beat ’em up.
I’ve had a blast playing Crosstown Smash though there were a few nagging issues like collision detection inaccuracies that hampered my experience. These were rather infrequent and are sure to be quickly ironed out in future updates. Some may be turned off by the point and click based control scheme which is enabled by default so I would recommend going into the options and setting the controls to the virtual gamepad mode.
All in all, Crosstown Smash is a terrific hybrid beat ’em up that aims to be the jack of all trades of indie brawlers. It’s interesting gameplay, nostalgic retro style, and amazing chiptune soundtrack make Crosstown Smash one of the best arcade inspired fighting games in recent memory.
Summary: Crosstown Smash is a fun retro beat 'em up that experiments with incorporating differing gameplay styles to great success. Definitely check this one out!