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Button-mashing brawlers make for a great time when you've got real buttons to mash, but they don't always translate so well to iOS touch screens. Rather than attempt to shoehorn all of the intense fighting action into a traditional arcade-style control scheme, indie studio The Game Bakers concocted a fresh touch-centric battle system for its quirky new face-pummeling fighter. Combo Crew's fast-paced fisticuffs and streamlined combo system hinges on simple swipe controls that are far more satisfying to wield than you'd expect from an iOS beat-em-up.
Thrashing baddies while scaling a massive tower one floor at a time – all in a quest to defeat the nefarious and humorously named Mr. Boss – proves an appropriately straightforward mission in Combo Crew's campaign mode. Choosing from a handful of freaky fighters, you dive into the fray with fists and feet swinging as you brutalize cartoonish goons in enclosed arenas. It's a fun romp that's bolstered by tons of unlockables, an endless challenge mode, and the option to summon buddies into your game to help knock some heads. But ultimately, it's the accessible fighting itself that'll hook you.
Basic attacks are pulled off by simply slashing your finger across foes on the screen, while swiping with two fingers (in one of four directions) delivers a combo maneuver. The direction of your swipe determines which combos you're delivering, but you can't block incoming attacks mid-combo, making timing your moves an important consideration. Without a means to manually move around, getting around the screen relies solely on which foe you're targeting. This can lead to some moments of initial confusion while you sort everything out, but it doesn't take long to get into a butt-kicking groove. Swapping unlocked combos adds variety to each match, as does playing with different characters, and the fluid combat feels punchy and exciting.
The bottom line. An intuitive control scheme and loads of cartoonish charm make Combo Crew's brawling action a real treat for your fingertips.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.1 or later
Intuitive touch-centric combat control scheme. Loads of unlockables. Great cartoonish vibe.
Countering enemy attacks effectively takes plenty of practice.