Colossus Down led me to a false sense of security. On surface value, with the games vibrant and cartoonish visuals, I naturally assumed it was a game orientated at a younger audience. But, I was wrong, really wrong. I was truly hoodwinked, just like that time my friend said we were only popping out for a few pints and it turned into a pub crawl that lasted until 2am…
Colossus Down is the newest game developed by Mango Protocol and continues the antics of the two previous games MechaNika and AgathaKnife set in the Psychotics Universe. Unlike the prior two instalments that were point-and-click adventures, this time around it’s a side-scrolling beat ‘em up with puzzles and platformer elements stirred together. You can even take a buddy along to cause mayhem in local co-op mode.
The plot is absolutely absurd and bonkers, which is right up my alley. It follows seven-year-old eccentric mad genius, Nika Allen, who has become apathetic tp the world and the way it has mistreated her. In retaliation, Nika uses her infinite amount of wisdom to build a gigantic chain-saw wielding mecha named MechaNika to destroy everything she deems not cool. Luckily for her, she can always rely on a good old shot of cognac in her cocoa to help her get through the day. Clearly, I have been doing cocoa wrong all these years….
If you decide to tackle the game in two-player mode, Agatha will aid Nika whilst also pursuing her own agenda of having a beef with Vegetarianism. Agatha can morph into The Great Bleeding Pig which wields an enormous cleaver that would be right at home in any butcher’s shop (please nobody tell Agatha I’m a vegetarian, I’m scared of what might happen…). I preferred playing Colossus Down with a co-op companion as it included extra dialogue and cut scenes that enhanced the narrative. Warning in advance, there is no voice-acting, so you’ll have to read all the witty dialogue yourself.
Colossus Down tries to wrestle with controversial topics through the eyes of a (less than innocent) child with satire and dark undercurrents throughout. It felt very reminiscent of late-night TV shows you’d expect to see on adult swim. For some, this method of storytelling could perhaps be hit-or-miss. Fortunately, I found the humour nothing but hilarious and was in good company throughout, but it is worth mentioning.
In the gameplay department, the nitty-gritty of the action lays in the side-scrolling beat ‘em ups segments. You’ll use your Gundam inspired mecha to batter-down hordes of foolish adversaries that stand in your way. The controls are easy to get along with and satisfying to use. You’ll start with basic attacks such as using a monstrous chainsaw arm, a huge cannon and using physical blocks when necessary.
Later down the road, you can collect scraps obtained by breaking objects within the environments, which can help you unlock special attacks. These special attacks deal a vast amount of damage to your opponents and require minimum input to pull off some rather cool looking moves. On top of this, executing slick combos will give you the upper hand as they deal additional damage to your foes, which can add a tactical level to your combat if you can resist the temptation of button bashing. After crushing your adversaries, you can move ahead to the next part of the level.
Eventually, you will encounter puzzles and brain-teasers. Presumably, these portions of the game were added to help set a change of tempo. Sadly, more times than not, it would disrupt the flow of gameplay rather than enhance the experience. Don’t get me wrong, some of the puzzles were fun, and others were just plain odd. One that particularly stood out was a maths puzzle. I understand Nika’s a mad genius, but why is there raw maths in my beat ‘em up game? Personally, I often gravitate to beat ‘em ups to switch-off, not to put my thinking hat on.
For veteran players, a permadeath mode is available to choose after the game’s first few levels. If you die, that is it, game over. If you choose to play on the regular mode, you will have infinite regenerations, no matter how many times you die. But, be forewarned, you won’t be able to obtain all the special attacks regardless of the number of scraps you collect. This offers a nice trade-off between selecting either mode.
Some of the places you visit in Nika’s vengeance spree range from her old school, a futuristic-cyber city, and a corrupted military-base. These locations distinctively pop out with its unique cartoon visuals that are pleasing to the eye. Colossus Down is bursting with tons of popular culture references, including other video games and even anime. I wasn’t expecting to find nods to Akira and Ergo Proxy, which was certainly a nice treat.
This game took me by surprise. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise. It takes place in a bizarre world following likeable characters, even if they are a bit kooky, to say the least. Without a doubt, the highlight was the two-player mode, where the full experience of both storyline and battling come into their own and shine through. Even if there were many miss-placed puzzles and mini-games which would often disrupt the action. This adventure is certainly not for the faint of heart, and the humour itself would not be to everyone’s cup of cocoa. If the satirical humour doesn’t put you off, then it might be worth considering having a brew of this intoxicating fusion of side-scrolling beat ‘em up action with a side-shot of puzzles.
Colossus Down PS5, PS4 Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
Colossus Down is the latest instalment in the Psychotics Universe. It lures you in with its charming and cartoonish visuals. Whereas, in reality, the game is bursting from the brim with dark humour and has many witty pop culture references throughout.
- Wacky and likeable characters
- Cartoonish visuals
- Easy controls
- Pop-culture references
- Annoying puzzles that stop the flow of gameplay
- Could be hit-or-miss humour.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS5.