Double Trouble Review
By Eric Getty Gettinger and Joel DeWitte
Getty: Welcome to the action packed and completely stacked universe of Curse Crackers: For Whom the Belle Toils. The cast of characters is kicked off with Belle and her companion/ best friend Chime as they embark on a journey to save Belle’s boyfriend. Curse Crackers hits the ground running with a fast but manageable pace while rewarding those players who stop and smell the roses, pun intended here. Each stage is quick but filled with content and hidden items as well as a speed badge if you are up for a challenge. There is no shortage of humor or entertainment as Belle can hit the town to do side missions for friends. Even when you find your way to the end of the story you can continue to play and unlock more secrets but to be certain there is no toiling here.
Joel: That’s on point. Curse Crackers wears its Game Boy platformer inspiration on its sleeve – large character sprites more close-up to the screen. Movement that flows well but more broadly isn’t versatile. A (mostly) limited soundtrack built on the back of one really strong melody. But Colorgrave Games, the developer behind Curse Crackers, has added a lot of modern attributes that make it more accessible and versatile. Frequent checkpoints throughout levels and very snappy restart keeps the pace flowing and makes no level insurmountably difficult.
One thing that struck me is just how versatile the tools are for moving through the levels. Chime, the living bounce ball is both a great combat assist AND an integral mobility tool. There’s this great side slide that is sharp and tough to tame.
Getty: Very valid point Joel, the angles and bounce shots for Chime are crazy at times. I felt like I was cheating at times using a high jump mixed with chimes bounce boost to find secret areas. Unbeknownst to me I was just finding more of the swords, which I still haven’t found all of yet. Additionally when you don’t have Chime at the ready it can sure feel more difficult. Belle herself is still quick but the duo really play off one another’s strengths.
One of the other things that just gets me real excited is the devs recent promise for an update. While you can get to the end of Curse Crackers in 6 hours or so there are still so many questions I have an content yet to play. With any luck and enough support we could see more going on with these characters. I personally would love to see another game or a little more main story. The ending was a bit of a cliff hanger.
Joel: Agreed. Curse Crackers’ story arc and length are crisp, which lines up with that handheld platformer ethos. I’m satisfied with that, but it leaves an opening for Colorgrave Games to flesh out the events after the main story conclusion. The characters are so endearing and the story almost plays out like a Saturday morning cartoon.
Losing that chime near the end was like losing a limb. It’s one of those gameplay choices that can only be used so long because it fundamentally changes how you approach levels. Even with the levels clearly changed to accommodate this limitation, the bouncing to reach greater heights and as a tool to attack being lost could have become really grating if it overstayed its welcome. The game toed that line but didn’t cross it.
Now, the boss battles, I was surprised at how difficult a time I had with most, and it’s almost jarring compared to the basic levels which never reached infuriatingly hard. It follows that tried and true “figure out the pattern then attack” formula, but they never had that stunned moment. Really forced me to keep my head on a swivel.
Getty: Truly Curse Crackers is a very pleasant surprise in all the games we have played this year. From the music down to the mechanics and characters it’s hard to find a more complete experience. Also, once you finish that story don’t forget to jump into arcade mode for a more streamlined experience. It’s a real test of mettle or maybe brass in Chime’s case. We followed this game from the demo to the release and I cannot recommend it enough.