Review: Super Punch Patrol (Switch)
Developer: Hörberg Productions
Publisher: Hörberg Productions
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Side-scrolling brawlers are often the best way to enjoy good, lean fun with friends. Great examples include the recently released Streets of Rage 4 and the just-announced Scott Pilgrim vs The World Complete Edition. Big games can come from the simplest of places, and that is the case of Super Punch Patrol. Form the maker of Gunman Clive and Mechstermination Force, Bertil Hörberg, comes Super Punch Patrol, a simple, challenging, but nonetheless immensely enjoyable side-scrolling brawler that is more reminiscent of the early days of 16-bit gaming.
Super Punch Patrol has you on the frontlines of taking back your city from a large group of enemy henchmen. Players choose one of three characters, then set across the city, cleaning up the streets. Players can select one of three different characters, and choose an outfit for them, which are unlocked by repeatedly playing the game. From then on out, players are set across the streets to clean up crime
Super Punch Patrol is as simple as side-scrolling brawlers get. There are no overarching stories or anything you need to know beforehand. All that you need to know is that the city has been taken over by criminals, and all you have are your high kicks and thick knuckles to take care of the job. Players have the traditional punches and kicks to their movements, but there are some attacks that are distinct for Super Punch Patrol. A grapple attack not only allows players to give an enemy a shoe-shine to the abdomen but also the ability to flip enemies. Double-tapping in a direction with the left joy-con stick enables the character to run, and deliver a more powerful attack. Finally, Super Punch Patrol has a sweeping attack that does use a portion of health but does allow for players to get out of the difficult situation.
Simple can be good, and for Super Punch Patrol, simple is great! Punching, fighting, and defeating enemies in Super Punch Patrol is enthralling, yet old- fashioned. As someone that did play and review Streets of Rage 4, I found myself greatly intrigued by the more classic and retro style of Super Punch Patrol. Super Punch Patrol challenges the players on skill, timing, and being decisive. There are only a handful of lives and continues, meaning that if players reach zero, they undoubtedly lose the game, and must start over from the beginning. This kind of style of play makes Super Punch Patrol significantly more challenging than other brawlers, but it also does provide a long-sought and a forgotten staple in video games, and that is a genuine sense of arcade-focused challenge.
Even playing Super Punch Patrol on the easiest difficulty is quite the challenge. Enemies come at the player left and right, determined to grind the player into dust. Occasionally, close-range weapons, such as knives and crowbars, give players an edge, but even these weapons provide only a moment of respite before a gang of dangerous thugs reign down on players. To successfully complete, Super Punch Patrol, playing with another player is essential. This may be seen as a gripe, and I do wish there were checkpoints, but it is a respected decision as it does genuinely feels like a game attempting to emulate the past. Super Punch Patrol also feature deviations to the expected gameplay, including a vehicular level and various enemy types.
Super Punch Patrol sports the trademark visual style of Bertil Hörberg, as established in his previous work Gunman Clive. The entire game is presented as a hand-drawn sketch, which is somewhat reminiscent of the music video for A-ha's Take On Me. There is a simple color palette of blues and reds, with reds being hazards and enemies. The constant animation of the levels brings life to the levels and makes the game aesthetically pleasing, like a sketch that was made during a college class. The soundtrack also works well to keep the combat upbeat.
Super Punch Patrol is available for the whopping price of $5. This makes Super Punch Patrol an excellent pick for players looking for a brawler on the go. Though, it is worth noting that as a budget title, Super Punch Patrol does not come with various features, such as online multiplayer or multiple game modes. Super Punch Patrol features its arcade mode, multiple difficulty modes, three characters to choose from, and costumes to unlock. Those looking for something meatier may be disappointed, though the point of Super Punch Patrol is to play the game, master its challenges, and repeat until the game is successfully beaten.
Super Punch Patrol is a special little brawler for its way to remain straightforward but still refreshing and enjoyable. Its focus on gameplay makes for an entertaining game, and its visual style makes Super Punch Patrol unique amongst other games like it. While it may not have the biggest depth of content, it's the little things that count, and Super Punch Patrol has it where it counts. Plus, for five dollars, you cannot go wrong with Super Punch Patrol. Grab a friend and clean up the streets.
Super Punch Patrol was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch through the eShop thanks to a key generously supplied to Stack up by Bertil Hörberg