Sweet Bandits Studios gives the fighting game genre a jolt with their coffee-based fighter Coffence. Combining twin stick controls, platforming mechanics, and a decent dose of puns, is this title better than a cup of morning joe?
Duels in Coffence are a bit different than the norm. With one arm behind their back, players must duel with the coffee cup of their choice. The object of the game isn’t to turn your opponent to a bloody pulp; rather, battles use a form of fencing. The ultimate goal of the game is to land an attack on the cup rather than the player, knocking some coffee out in the process. Completely deplete their reserve of joe, and the match is won.
There is certainly some finesse required. Hitting each cup causes a liquid glob to fly in the air, and can be recovered by either player. This can lead to a game of tug-of-war between the two sides. In addition, a “triangle” system is used that plays off of the strengths and weaknesses of each technique. For instance, a melee or ranged attack can be blocked, while a block can be stopped by a spin and a spin can be stopped by both attacks. There are also air dashes, dodges, and a “Coffee Time” super that gives off some added juice.
It certainly sounds deep, right? Though it looks complex on paper, the execution of each battle comes off as a bit simplistic. With movement mapped to the left analog stick and the direction of the cup mapped to the right, battles tend to be a little awkward. Aiming is an absolute must, but the ragdoll animations and small point of contact can lead to a number of missed shots. Ranged attacks used a bungee cord-like extension system as well – though this extends the field of play, it makes everything feel fairly disjointed.
There is a lot to play around with here, but the core system has battles devolving into a DPS battle, with the person that acts the fastest the victor. Though we would not consider ourselves pros by any stretch of the imagination, we were able to max out our coffee cups and defeat most opponents in a matter of minutes.
To keep players entertained, there is a brief story mode for each character featuring five matches. The roster is fairly bland, made up of goofy looking baristas, entrepreneurs, dogs, and pirates. Revolving around the “Mother Bean,” players will fight across “Green Bean Valley,” “Pirates of the Carabean,” and “Office.” Though the story is lacking, it is short and can help unlock different cups. A sixth character can also be unlocked.
Coffence’s unique take on the fighting game genre stands out, but its battles could use some fine tuning. It offers something new, but only the most diehard of fighters should drink up.
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