Are you up to the task of capturing evil criminals that shoot bullets, rockets, and even cactuses in your face? If you are, then this is the game for you. If you like dying a lot and failing this is the place to be. You have to learn from your mistakes.
If you know the game dead cells and like it, you will love this game! (If you don’t know dead cells you can always read my review on dead cells!) This game takes place on many levels with different enemies and music in each zone.
Get ready for dead cells once again but this time with guns, lots of guns. The harder you struggle the more this game likes you. There are eight playable characters and they are insanely hard to unlock.
Each character has his own skills and passive bonuses, each run you can make a different build. Runs can last up to 40 minutes or you will die in five seconds. I have unlocked six of the playable characters and I am practicing to fight the end game boss on elite to try and unlock the last two. We will delve deeper into characters and builds in the gameplay section of this review. Just as in dead cells when you have defeated the endgame boss you can play a second loop of the game. I have not yet started the second loop since this game is really big. If you can play a long time with dead cells, this game will absorb your time. I have managed to complete the game for 71%, you can see all the enemies and guns that you have found at least once in a handy logbook.
What did I think of the Struggle of Combat before playing?
The developer contacted me on one of the places where I have inquiries placed looking for developers that want their game reviewed.
The game looked very pretty with hand-drawn graphics and I heard a cactus screaming. The cactus sold me, I let the developer know that I was interested in playing and reviewing the Struggle of Combat.
The gameplay looked good but I did not know what to expect. The trailer showed many enemies where being shot to death.
I installed the game and booted it up and fought a cactus who threw his cactus balls at me. Yep, this game was going to be an adventure.
The game starts each run with a little intro of how the criminals are being broken out of jail. You will need to traverse many different lands to find the criminals that have escaped. Cactus sheriff and captain hook are enjoying their free time but there many other criminals. You will also need to find out who is behind the jailbreak.
When you have re-captured all the criminals you will find an alien who is behind the jailbreak, after defeating the alien you have the feeling it is not over yet.
There are many different characters that you can choose from but you will have to unlock the characters first. You will start with only the policeman unlocked. It is really hard to unlock all the characters. Each character has their own starting equipment and their own skills. I will now list all the characters and their respective skills. All characters can use two weapons. You will only have 100 health points but you can upgrade this with a hamburger which is a utility upgrade (upgrades will be discussed more in the other gameplay element section). You can heal your character by eating the fruits, apple, banana, or watermelon.
If you want to unlock all weapons you will need to defeat the endgame boss with each character at least once. You can select this special weapon from the beginning with the character that has unlocked it or just leave it.
Any weapons that you have unlocked will be added to the loot pool.
The police are the starting character, it is great to train your skills with this character. You will find extra coffee that will heal your wounds.
The bosses will also have a 100% chance to drop a fruit piece to heal you. The policeman has a flash grenade that you can throw to stun the enemies.
This character always starts with a machinegun but if you defeat the end game boss you can choose the minigun in the beginning.
When you use the melee attack you can see that the policeman uses a baton.
The sheriff is in town, the sheriff has 15% more range when he attacks with his whip. The sheriff always starts with a revolver.
You can also use the whip to pull enemies closer and then smash them, this character would be ideal for a melee build.
Enemies that have been lassoed will receive 50% more melee damage.
When you defeat the endgame boss with the sheriff you will unlock the rifle.
Time to blow something up! The miner can throw bombs that will destroy enemy packs with ease! The miner will always start with a grenade launcher
You take 50% less damage from explosions off course! Miners usually have those weird hats equipped with that little light but this time the hat actually does something!
You will be able to see better in the dark, 50% better to be exact. When you defeat the endgame boss with this character you will unlock the flamethrower.
This is a perfect character if you like explosives. The miner attacks with a pickaxe. This character is also useful when you have trouble seeing in the dark.
Do you like to pick off your enemies one by one from far away, maybe even before they notice you? Then the hunter is perfect for you. The hunter will always start with a crossbow.
The hunter has a 15% damage increase when shooting if you stand still. When the enemy does decide to attack you, you can use a wolf trap and block his path. Then you can of course shoot an arrow in his face.
The wolf trap is perfect because it also increases the damage that enemies take, for 50% to be exact. When you defeat the endgame boss you will unlock the bow, what could this monstrous bow do your enemies?
The hunter uses a knife when using a melee attack.
Have you always wanted to be a loot hunter? Then the pirate might be perfect for you. You will have a 10% more chance to find special weapons that are already upgraded.
The pirate always starts with a shotgun. If your shotgun can’t reach the enemies you can always send your trusty parrot to do the job for you. If you think a shotgun is not enough, you can defeat the end game boss and unlock a cannon.
The pirate attacks with a knife.
What is that hiding in the darkness next to the dung fly? It is a ninja! As a ninja, you are 10% faster, probably because you do not wear shoes. You will always start with a shuriken.
The ninja has a grappling hook that you can use to propel yourself forward in fast speed, I have not yet mastered this skill and manage to get launched into enemies every time.
If you do not think that a shuriken is enough you can always defeat the endgame boss to unlock the darts. The ninja uses a katana to attack.
The soldier is the perfect tank but of course, that is because the soldier is very hard to unlock. You will always begin with a rocket launcher. If you ever wanted to launch yourself in the air for some unknown reason this is your character!
You will have rocket boots that will make you fly, sort of. You will also start with 20 more health points than other characters. If you manage to defeat the endgame boss you will unlock the bomber, what could this possibly do?
The soldier will attack with a shovel.
Beep Boop, I am not a robot! just look like one! The robot will always begin with a laser. Time to eradicate some of those pesky humans! The robot can be used for many role purposes.
The special skill is to create a barrier that will reflect incoming damage but only up to thirty health points. If you manage to defy your maker and destroy him you will unlock the railgun.
The cyborg attacks with a lightsaber.
Other gameplay elements
The characters are the most important but they are not what make your build, all characters can equip any weapon. There are secret weapons that you can unlock at every level. The levels are divided into categories but the further you progress the stronger the enemies get. You can change your build by equipping different weapons, do you like slow shooting weapons with higher damage or faster shooting weapons with lower damage? You can also use rockets or grenades but beware you can also hurt yourself. After defeating a boss, you will be able to purchase an upgrade with gold. The upgrades are the core of your build. Choosing melee-oriented upgrades will result in smashing a lot of enemies. All characters can use melee attacks but some of them might be a better pick than others. You can also choose utility upgrades like the fruit bat or mosquito. The fruit bat will bring any drop from the enemy to you, he will also make the fruit heal you more. If you use the mosquito any damage up to 30% of the damage you have taken will be restored by the mosquito. The mosquito will fly towards your enemy and suck their blood! There are also weapon upgrades that are for the weapon you have equipped at the moment. These upgrades can destroy enemies very quickly but your upgraded weapon has limited ammo. When your upgraded ammo runs out you will start shooting normal ammo. When you enter a new level some of the upgraded ammo will be restored.
A few variants of the upgrades are, homing. triple, shocking, and many more!
You can also use upgrades that help in attacking or upgrades that increase your defense. You can upgrade with a homing missile that will shoot missiles at the enemies. Take it slowly and just let the missiles do their work. The defensive upgrades are very useful if you like to rush into situations. The helmet will give you a temporary shield that absorbs damage and is restored after taking damage within a few seconds. The best defensive option is the shock armor, when you have the shock armor equipped all enemies that touch you will be stunned and take massive damage. If there are more enemies in the vicinity, they will also be shocked, this gives you an opportunity to reposition your character. You will also have upgrades that are for people that love the risk but want huge rewards, these upgrades give you more stats depending on how much health points are missing. When you have the suspicious mushroom your attack speed will increase when losing health points, this can make you a slashing maniac! The wolf paws will increase your speed, do you like to live on the edge? There are many more upgrades for you to try out! A good thing to keep in mind is that not all upgrades are available at every shop. You get to pick from three upgrades, this means if the item you want is not in the selection you will either need to try another build or try to survive until the next shop. If you manage to survive until the next shop there is a huge chance that you will be able to purchase two upgrades.
You will find many weapons on the road to recapturing those nasty criminals. The weapons will get stronger as you get further into the world but a good thing to keep in mind is that not all weapons share equal strength. When you find two level 10 machine guns, they can both have different stats. Under your health points, there is a green arrow, when you click this arrow you will see what the current stats are of your weapon are. Your weapon will also not go past level 10 in the first loop. To unlock the secret weapons, you will need to complete the arenas. The arenas are very small and you don’t have much room to maneuver. You will be bombarded from all sides by many enemies that want to kill you. If you miraculously manage to survive the enemies, you will still have to fight two bosses at once. If you also manage to survive that you will be granted the secret weapon, it is important to note that in the following runs you can only find the secret weapon in the world where you cleared the arena. I got the cactus launcher from the desert arena, I will only find the cactus launcher in the desert.
You might be wondering, why is this game called the struggle of combat? The difficulty of this game is off the charts! It is insanely difficult! Even I had a tough time with this game. If this was not enough you can also modify your game.
You can make it more struggling or less struggling. If you want to unlock all the characters you will face a lot of struggle. To unlock more struggle modifiers, you will need to complete certain achievements within the game. If you manage to clear the desert and the cave without getting hit you will get a new modifier to make the game even more difficult. You can upgrade the damage of enemies, decrease your health, or even make it so that reinforcements will show up. I highly advise you to not use the modifier for the reinforcement unless you want to die or are really curious about how fast you can die. To unlock all characters, you will need to have at least a 42% struggle. This game will do everything in its power to kill you in the nastiest way possible. Getting killed by a cactus might seem horrible to you but what about a dung fly killing you? To try and stop the game from killing you, it might be a good idea to learn to parry the attacks of enemies. Yes indeed, enemies shoot bullets but you can also parry those!
When a bullet is flying towards you, you will need to use the melee attack to stop the bullet in its path to killing you. If you have the baseball bat upgrade your parry will be upgraded to an attack. The attack that you have parried will be returned to the sender. It is very cool when you parry a rocket-propelled grenade and it returns to a helicopter that then blows up.
This game has even more in store for you. After defeating any boss three times there is a chance that you will find a key from that boss. When starting a new run, you will see these keys hanging above the cell that the boss belongs to.
You can use these keys to unlock shortcuts to a shop, in the process you will be skipping one or more worlds. You will still gain the gold from the levels but first, you will need to survive the world after the one that you skipped but simply acquiring the key is not good enough. You will need to enable the key and then start a run. You will now need to defeat that boss again with this key enabled and then open the chest in the shop that comes after the boss fight. If you have for example selected the key from captain hook, you will need to be fast in collecting items. A hook will come from the sky and try to steal your items! You will need to survive this curse all the way up till the chest is open. In the chest, you will find a metro pass. When you start a run, you can enter the metro and choose your destination.
Sound and Graphics
I really like the hand-drawn art in this game, I have only found one minor graphical glitch but it was a funny one. All the things in Struggle of Combat are hand-drawn.
Even the bananas! This must have been a major time consumption element of game development. I think it would be lovely to draw a cactus though. You do need to like the graphic style because it is not everybody’s taste.
Great extra detail is that if you have captured a criminal you will also see him in the prison cell. You can even interact with them and they will say something funny. Every level is randomly generated and looks amazing.
It really feels as if you are in the level and not just walking on a bar of emptiness.
The sound is also really great, for every world there is a different soundtrack and different sound effects. The best sound effect is that of the dung fly that sounds like a fart when he dies.
I will of course not forget the cactus that screams! The gameplay is amazing, the graphics are amazing, this game is perfect for me.
What did I think of the review after playing
Finally, a game that really challenged me, this does not happen often. Usually, I just stroll around and mess around a bit while completing the main story. It is seldom that I use my full focus on a game.
The struggle of Combat did amazing, there are barely any flaws except for the people that are not into hardcore gaming. People who are sore losers will come disgruntled and unhappy after playing this game.
The people that love challenging games and learning from your mistakes will be very glad after trying this game. You get to progress little by little, unlocking more weapons for your loot pool and more modifiers.
When you finally unlock that new character it just feels amazing. I am still missing two characters but the developer was so kind as to grant me the information for the review since I failed to unlock them all in time.
The gameplay feels very well thought out and balanced but this game can and will make you frustrated! I have managed to finally reach a new loop but that will literally tear you apart!
This game makes Dark Souls look like child’s play. The upgrade system works very great but, in the beginning, you will fail to see some good builds. When you have bad luck and junk items will drop, death is usually quickly in sight.
In my opinion, this is a wonderful game and I did not know it was this enjoyable. This is truly a hidden gem that uses mechanics from dead cells and other games but creates its own identity.
My personal rating of this game is 9.7, also this game made me frustrated but in a good way.
Pros and cons
– This game will truly challenge you but not only in difficulty. Can you hold your temper?
– The story is simple but it works great, this game is all about the gameplay.
– There are multiple characters to unlock.
– The struggle of Combat is a game that you can play for many hours before completing it.
– The modifiers and curse keys are well thought out
– The hand-drawn art is amazing, I did not expect to see this high quality and this much detail. The cactus is my favorite, my wife likes the dung fly the most.
– The game gives you an incentive to try all the characters and master them.
– The levels are randomly generated, you cannot just walk through them with ease after many times.
– Struggle off Combat has perfect sound effect placement and music, all the different world uses different music and sound effects.
– The dung fly makes a fart sound when he dies.
– This game is not for casual players.
I would recommend this game to anyone that is looking for a true challenge. I really loved this game and I intend to continue in my free time to unlock the rest of the characters and items. I did not expect a game that is so amazing, if you would have told me it was a AAA title designed by a known game studio, I would believe you. I had so much fun (and frustration) with this game in the time that I have played. This game has the magic to let you come back and try again each time. No honey, just one more run to try and unlock that character
I give this game a …drumroll…
Leave your own thoughts in the comments or leave your own rating.
You can buy the game here: https://yrbiax.itch.io/the-struggle-of-combat
I hope you liked reading the review, I hope to see you in the next review.