Developer: Spicy Gyro Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Age Rating: Pegi 7
Release Date: 25/10/2017
Price: £3.99, £4.99
A code was provided for review purposes.
A Blast From The Past?
Clash Force promises to be “a love letter to classic 8-bit run-and-gun action games and 80s cartoons!”. In reality, it is more of a postcard of influence than a love letter. The game definitely has 8-bit vibes but it’s no Contra or Metroid. It also doesn’t have the over the top action or dramatic tension found in all the best 80s cartoons. If Transformers or He-Man had been as flat as this game, we wouldn’t even remember them.
I’ll start by talking about how all characters were pretty much the same; yes, there were three different skins but that is all, no special ability for a certain character, no change to the weapons. It was rather disappointing especially for a game that was told to be loved for platformers. There were three characters to choose from, but only the skin, nothing else changed. Voom, was a green rhinoceros, Scorpido, the blue scorpion and finally Echid, the orange platypus. Although they were different characters, they all did the same moves, used the same guns, and nothing changed.
Bland on Bland For Clash Force
Enemies are supposed to have their own kind of personality but in Clash Force they all seem to do the same thing. They are all robots for one, nothing really changes, and they all seem to have the same attack so it’s very predictable. It would have been good to have a different kind of attack, power anything that did not feel copy and pasted. There is so much that could have made this more enjoyable by just putting in a bit more effort or planning.
The big bad of Clash Force is Crackman, yeah seriously, he’s called Crackman. The final encounter with this foe is titled Crack Attack. I would love to know the story behind this creative choice, it makes little logical sense to me and is woefully unexplored in the game. Who is Crackman? What’s his motivation? What led him to crack? Maybe he just needs rehab instead of being shot with lasers.
He reminded me of Sonic The Hedgehog’s main boss Doctor Eggman, but that was all we knew for the plot. Clash Force is sent to stop him, go through a load of boring enemies and bosses, and the ending was no help. Nothing about this game gave me a reason to want to recommend it to anyone or want to play it again.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Something that really bugged me while playing through this game was losing upgraded weapons after a single hit. In a main level it wasn’t such an issue, another upgrade would be along soon. But during the boss encounters I inevitably suffered a hit before figuring out my foe’s attack pattern, so I ended up completing every boss with the disappointingly basic starting weapon.
Clash Force is not a particularly challenging game. The platform elements are simple, the shooting is standard, and the enemies are predictable. What killed me while playing this game was infuriating unseen dangers, how can you avoid something you can’t see yet? I took to laying down a continuous line of fire to clear my path, an effective but boring solution.
Stage 18 of this game is called Missile Ride; it draws a lot from classic levels from games such as Contra III and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sadly, Missile Ride misses its mark and has little of the charm found in the levels it emulates. This is the worst level of the game for sure and had me close to waving a white flag and giving up on this title.
A really odd design choice that has been made in this game is including big margins either side of the screen that display static artwork of the three playable characters. These margins cut the screen down to roughly two thirds of its possible size. My main question is, why? This artwork adds very little to the game or minute to minute enjoyment, so what is the actual point? The artwork is also completely unrepresentable of the actual playable characters.
A Final Attack On Clash Force
I tried to look for positives to this game and I honestly feel like it needed more work. Nothing about this game was enjoyable for me; usually I like platformers but this was one I could not get into.
As a child of the 1980s and a lover of retro consoles and games, I feel that both the 8-bit generation and the 80s deserve a better love letter than Clash Force can pen. If you are going to pay tribute to such an iconic and memorable era, do it justice or the retro fans will tear you a new one.