To live the simple life. To wake up in your underwear, surrounded by treasure. To get up and look in the mirror and remind yourself that you’re a Amazonian goddess.. To walk through a bar full of grizzly men who quickly turn their back at the sight of you, as you pick up the day’s bounty… Combo Queen is a game about the simple things – running, killing, collecting — and looking good while doing it.
Combo Queen is a game from Tap My Game, Inc that first started it’s life on Kickstarter, It’s advertised as an Action RPG hybrid, but it’s probably more accurately described as an endless runner hack-and-slash. The gameplay consist of the Combo Queen running down an endless stretch of land, gutting enemies as they appear. What sets Combo Queen apart, however, is its rhythm based gameplay. The player must tap in rhythm in order to attack and must time their taps to defend. If you’ve got rhythm, you’ll be blazing through these enemies at high speed but if you’re as rhythm-less as I am, you may get destroyed right out the gate I never took fault with the game, though, because when I tripped up and died prematurely it was entirely my fault. That being said, I did have some problems with the seemingly tiny window of opportunity you have to tap the screen and attack. Miss that window, and you’ll be on the wrong end of a sword. I was dying frequently, often times frustratingly, trying to match the rhythm required and this would end up disrupting the breakneck pace of the game. Your mileage may vary, but I feel as if I had more trouble than I should have with timing.
In addition to the unique gameplay, Combo Queen sports an awesome pixel-art visual style. Smooth animations and a catchy chip tune soundtrack make the game a treat for both the eyes and ears. Unfortunately, while the Combo Queen herself and the world around her are aesthetically pleasing and interesting, there’s nothing in the way of story here, which is a shame because there seems to be plenty of character in the world of Combo Queen to pull from. The titular character seems to have plenty of personality, and yet we only catch glimpses of it throughout.
The game does feature light RPG elements in the way of levels. How well you take down enemies gives you points and gems which you can use to level up Combo Queen and buy new equipment, thus learning new attacks and becoming stronger. You can also unlock different outfits, but they’re simple cosmetic upgrades and don’t change how the game is played.
Combo Queen is gives you everything it has to offer up front. While it’s fun for brisk play sessions, extended play is less than thrilling. The game’s RPG elements are light and there’s really not much depth to the game besides tapping away at bad guys. Perhaps some branching paths, more unlockables, or a fleshed-out story mode could alleviate these woes, but as is, the game is too simple. And while simplicity works extremely well on the mobile platform, in this case, the unexplored potential of the games many assets can leave the player feeling disappointed once they realize there’s not much more to see. Still, for $1.99, there’s plenty to enjoy here, and the game holds a certain charm that is often missing in bite-sized games like these. Its only flaw is its simplicity.
Combo Queen is a gorgeous endless runner hybrid with a unique twist, but there’s just not much depth past the surface.