PAX West 2019: Vertex Pop Stylizes The Fighter Genre With Super Crush KO

Posted on September 6, 2019 by Nick Moreno

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“Zip up your favourite neon jacket and combo your way through swarms of deadly robots to save your kidnapped kitten and, while you’re at it, save humanity from an AI apocalypse.” This is the description that reads below Vortex Pop’s upcoming title, Super Krush KO: the developer behind Graceful Explosion Machine has broken away from its top-down shooter formula to create a platform fighter hybrid which is quite an adventurous move for a studio to do as the its catalogue is seeded in another genre.

However, this transition is easier than it might seem according to Robby Duguay. Speaking to the game’s Sound Designer while at PAX West this past weekend, he shares that the foundation for the game is pretty similar to the developer’s previous work. “GEM [Graceful Explosion Machine] with legs,” Duguay tells me. Using the same engine as prior titles, the project is said to only differ with the addition of gravity which mainly changed up what how the game reacts since the same gameplay elements are still present in Super Krush KO.


So with a new layer of interactivity now that collisions are a requirement when implementing gravity, Vortex Pop has crafted its own fighting system which players can use to their own imagination to create fluid and connective combos that anyone can pick up with no struggle. Playing the demo on the show floor, the game at first seemed to be intimidating with the varying move set you are provided with, but by the end I managed to leave with an A ranking for the level.

In the game, you fight your way through armies of outer space robots who have abducted your cat and using your love for Chubbz to rescue him from the antagonizing galactic droids. Asking for the reason why the robots decided to take Chubbz, Duguay explains that there is no real motive for the enemy aside from being evil.

“We needed a reason to punch robots in the face,” Duguay adds on as he laughs.

The standard control scheme offers the basic gameplay layout: jump, punch, dash, and shoot. But the upgrades that you unlock when progressing through the game’s story is what really spices up the formula. Introduction of the food-associated Twister Drill, Uppercut Slice, Air Pop, Ground Shake, and devastating Beam KO is where the game truly flexes its muscles. Though the amount might not look like a lot to play with, it is encouraged that players juggle these abilities and use them in as many different formulas you can conceive to better your combo as well as overall score.

Duguay has shared already that the game has been in development for roughly two since the game’s prototyping in 2017 and full production kicking off in 2018, so the project has of course receive several different builds that update as the game attends more events. He explains that the playable level has been the only featured layout since the first demo, but a bevy of additions and adjustments continued to be injected into the title as time went on.

Revealing that things like check points, better UI, and more enemies are some of the few things that have been altered since the first build. Interesting though, Duguay also revealed that the team reviews the scores players make to modify the overall project if it seems to be too easy or too hard for those demoing the game for the perfect amount of balancing. On the topic of the game’s fine-tuning, the Sound Designer did clarify that fans who would have tested the game at a previous event, let’s say PAX West 2018 for example, those who played this year’s demo noticed the game has made some noticeable changes.

Again to refresh on the game’s combat system, watching event attendees play the game looked easy enough for anyone who has the controller in their hand. And it is just that as I have already said with my first time playing to rank with an ‘A’, which really impresses me that such a formula can be made to look the product as well.

Super Krush KO has an early 2020 slated release date for PC and Nintendo Switch. If the brawler caught your eye, go add the game to your Steam wishlist by going here.

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