Platforming shoot-em-up with destructible levels and lots of weapons!
When I first saw Super Square Chaos, my expectations were fairly low. There's a lot of action/shooting platformers to choose from, and the majority of them are very similar. I was pleasantly surprised to find some interesting twists in this title.
SSC is a wave-based shooter where the object of the game is to collect the required amount of crystals for each level. To do that, you have to destroy the enemy squares that appear from the portals situated on the edges of the map. You have a basic pistol type of weapon with unlimited ammo, but chests appear during the game with random weapons inside. There's a handful of different weapon types from dual pistols to rocket launchers, each with different rates of fire, ammunition counts, range, damage and other effects. Between the level design and weapon types, this title felt like a mash-up of the original Mario Bros./Donkey Kong games and classic shooters like Contra - and there's nothing wrong with that!
You also have access to grenades, which (along with some weapons like rocket launchers) can be used to temporarily destroy parts of the map. You can use this to your advantage as the enemy squares have a predictable movement pattern, allowing savvy players to somewhat manipulate where the enemies go. This feature combined with the different weapon types keeps the game interesting and allows you to play strategically or just run-and-gun, switching between styles quickly if you can find the right weapon.
The difficulty curve progresses smoothly through the levels as different types of enemy squares are slowly introduced, including ones that explode when they die and others with their own grenades! The basic blue enemies also seem to get faster each level, making things just a bit tougher as you go. The last level of each world contains a boss fight with a large square that gets progressively harder to defeat, as it gains the ability to jump and use its own attacks later on. You technically have unlimited lives, but you have to restart the current level if you get hit at all. This is a pretty fair trade off, as it lets you get through the game much faster than the classics I mentioned earlier.
I should also note that the controls for this game felt very responsive, even using a keymapper (antimicro) to play with a controller. As I've said time and again, action and platform games depend on fluid controls, and SSC unquestionably nailed it.
In all, Super Square Chaos exceeded my expectations with its blend of weapons and destructible levels. If you're looking to blast some bad guys with a variety of attacks for a little while, give this game a try!