25th Jan2019

Digital Shorts: ‘Coffee Crisis’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Coffee Crisis – a side-scrolling beat ’em-up with intriguing protagonists now available on the Nintendo Switch.


Coffee Crisis is an arcade-style beat ’em up that pays homage to the 90’s era of classic arcade and 16-bit brawlers. The Smurglian race has come to Earth and they’re not leaving until they steal our most prized commodities: our metal music, the best coffee, and all of the WiFi. Get in the shoes of the only baristas on Earth with enough heavy metal in their veins to fend off this alien assault.

Baristas saving the planet? In a side-scrolling beat ’em-up? Sounds like a lot of fun. Only it isn’t. Coffee Crisis is in fact anything but fun!

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE side-scrolling beat ’em-ups. Like REALLY love them (which is why I’ve got tons of the ACA Neo Geo/Arcade titles on my Switch, alongside the Capcom Beat ‘Em-Up collection) but this particular iteration reminded me why the genre doesn’t have as many fans as it should. Because when a game is this annoying no one’s going to want to play it.

For starters Coffee Crisis‘ combat is abominable. Fighting with a sack of coffee beans is a slow and cumbersome as it would be in real life – yes, there is the option to “power-up” your sack (snigger) and use other more powerful attacks, which also drain your power, but the basic melee attack – the CORE of what makes a side-scrolling beat ’em-up or breaks it – certainly does the latter here. And no amount of metal music or in-game appearances from YouTubers can save this game from crap combat!


What’s truly “interesting” (please note the sarcasm) about Coffee Crisis, beyond the out-there idea of a barista saving the world with sacks of coffee, is the fact the game features random modifiers that could make you an invincible killing machine or summon a swarm of raging possessed cowgirls… Yes, really! It also can REALLY screw with your game – how would you like to play the game as if you looking at a Virtual Boy screen? Or maybe play the game whilst it looks like a poorly drawn, badly colourd cross-hatched mess of a manga? Because both of those modifiers can happen… and do. It’s stupefyingly stupid rather than bold and innovative and, for me, was the icing on the proverbial cake on the myriad of problems I had with this game. Why include modifiers if there going to be this much of an annoyance?

I’ve really tried to like Coffee Crisis, I really have. Handheld mode, docked mode, multiplayer, single player. I’ve tried them all and each time the game has disappointed.


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