One of the indie games that reviewed over the past couple years that had a very appealing art style was Psychotic’s Agatha Knife. The comic art style in that adventure game really spoke to me and so when I heard about their next game, Psychotic’s Colossus Down, I was immediately in. This time around, developer Mango Protocol is deviating from the point-and-click style their first two entries went with and instead has created a side-scrolling beat ‘em up. How did it turn out?
The story in Colossus Down is once again full of humor, violence, and over-the-top antics. It picks up after the end of the last game and sees Nika finishing up her combat mecha, MechaNika. She plans to use this to pretty much destroy anything and anyone that annoys her in the world (as we do.) Story is all told via text in this game with no voice acting and while I enjoyed the dark humor style that this game employs, it may not be for everyone. Over the course of the game you’ll progress through around 18 locations such as a school, a futuristic city, Candyland, and more murdering pretty much everything as you go. You don’t have to do it alone either as the game supports local two-player co-op support but no online sadly (although using Share Play on PlayStation could be a workaround for you.) When playing solo, you’ll control Nika the whole time while when playing in co-op the other player will take control of Agatha Knife who can transform into the Great Bleeding Pig. I had fun playing the game solo but if you have a local friend it’s also a lot of fun to bring them along. I played quite a bit of it with my wife and we both had a good time. The only thing that I didn’t quite like about there being a second character is that there should’ve been way to play as Agatha when playing solo.
The gameplay in Colossus Down is good but not the best in that the beat ‘em up genre has to offer. As you progress through the levels you’ll be approached by waves of enemies from both sides of the screen as these games typically do. You have some standard attacks like punches, electric bolts, and flaming heads and while they get the job done, they didn’t feel really satisfying to use. The special attacks that you can unlock with skill points that you earn on the other hand are a lot more fun. One example is a giant laser beam that deals a ton of damage. There are four of these that you can unlock over the course of the game but you may only be able to earn three of them depending on a choice that you make. That choice comes from the fact that the game has two different modes and you have to choose one to play on. Playing the game normally will limit you to only being able to earn three out of the four abilities. The other mode is a permadeath like mode where you only get a single life but you’ll be able to earn all four abilities in return. I’m not one personally for permadeath things in games but if that’s for you then have at it.
Something else to keep in mind while playing is that your health meter is instead a heat meter for your mecha suit. When you take damage the heat meter rises and you want to make sure that you don’t overheat. You can get rid of the heat by pressing the shoulder button but you have to have coolant to do this. This could’ve been an annoying system but thankfully coolant seemed pretty easy to come by via breaking things in the levels or by defeating enemies. Still it’s best to use your blocking and dodge abilities to take a little damage as possible. Enemy variety in the game I thought was good and the boss battles are fun and challenging. Those special attacks I spoke of are really useful during these fights but keep in mind that using them makes your heat meter rise so you can’t spam them.
Visually I really enjoyed this game just as I did in the developer’s previous two titles. The hand-drawn comic art style is colorful and clean and there aren’t a lot of other games like it. I also really liked how there were a ton of references to other games, movies, and TV shows hidden about in the levels. The music and sound effects were quite good but as I said there is no voice acting. Those interested in the trophies will find 33 of them including a Platinum but it will take you multiple playthroughs to earn them all.
Psychotic’s Colossus Down is a dark, humorous beat ‘em up with great visuals but it may not appeal to everyone. I personally found the dark humor to be enjoyable but if that’s not your thing then I totally understand that. The actual beat ‘em up gameplay isn’t as impactful of say some other recent entries in the genre like Streets of Rage 4 but there is still fun to be had here either playing solo or with a friend locally.
*Colossus Down is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 4 version reviewed on a PlayStation 5. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
- Story has a ton of dark humor that I found enjoyable
- Great hand-drawn comic art style
- Offers reasons to replay if you enjoy the gameplay
- Fun to play in local co-op
- Agatha isn't playable when playing solo
- Combat isn't as satisfying as some other beat 'em ups
- This style of humor may not be for you