Super Crate Box is a 2D run and gun arcade platformer. If that is tough to digest, the game is played in a single screen. The point is to get crates. Once you get a crate, a new one spawns. Inside each crate is a random weapon that you’ve unlocked. Why do you get crates? To unlock new weapons, characters and levels to play on. There are only three levels, but I’m happy with that. The first level feels so good to play on that you almost don’t need the other two.
Enemies drop from a hole in the ceiling of the level. Standard left and right moving enemies, when they get to the edge they fall off to the next one. There are bigger versions of the standard enemies that take twice as much damage. Finally, there are hovering skull enemies that bounce around. Its a nice simple variety that still adds challenge. Since the enemies work their way to the bottom, there is a fire pit. If the enemies reach the fire pits, they come back red, angry and twice the speed! In a way it feels like the original Mario Bros. arcade game. One screen levels, and enemies that get angry, doubling their speed.
The major difference is the guns. Each gun has unlimited ammo and feels fun to use, with their own pro and con. Dual pistols will shoot left and right simultaneously, but do 1 bit of damage. The revolver shoots one bullet at a time, but does double damage. The machine gun shoots straight forward very quickly, but pushes you back. The flamethrower will effectively light platforms and enemies on fire, but if you stand in the fire, you can’t jump. The katana has short range, but does a lot of damage and sends big enemies the other way. The shotgun has short range, but sends out a big blast of randomized bullets. The bazooka fires rockets that are slow to reload, but they do a lot of damage in a radius. Grenade launchers do the same thing, but they reload faster and arc when you shoot them. Mines take a while to arm themselves and can only drop straight down, but do the same big radius damage as rockets and grenades. Lasers take a long time to fire once you pull the trigger, but go through everything. The disc gun bounces off the first wall it hits and goes through enemies, but it will also kill you.
You can only carry one weapon, so when you get a crate, its a different weapon. Some weapons are better than others, so there is a dynamic of not getting a crate to use a good weapon to kill a screen full of enemies vs just getting the next crate.
You will unlock new characters, but they all play the same. They just different. The game will give you a random character when you play. One hit will kill you, but that’s the balance. Guns vs swarms of enemies. With every death, the game will tell you what you’ve unlocked, how many more crates you need and send you right back in as if nothing happened. The whole thing takes a second or less. If the game gets too easy for you on normal mode, there is a hard mode.
The game keeps track of your high score in crates, but there are no points awarded. Hopefully there will be a more complete sequel with support for co-op and points, but that is in no way a complaint for this great FREE arcade game. In all, its a fun free game. If it came out in the 80s, Super Crate Box would have made millions of dollars in quarters. Not just that, but this free little game is enough to make me want to play other games from the developer.