RetrogamingGame Reviews

Coffee Crisis on Steam – Sack-Swingin’ Masochism

Face massive hordes of aliens and die and die and die and...

With Coffee Crisis on Steam, everyone can play! (Even Nintendo fanboys like me.)

Some of you may remember Coffee Crisis from its successful 2016 Kickstarter campaign, where Mega Cat Studios raised $15,000 to release this bad boy on retro Sega Genesis/Mega Drive cartridges that really work in the original console. It shipped complete with full-color printed instruction manuals in classic Sega hard-shell cases. Awesome!

Coffee Crisis cartridges
The original Sega cartridges for Coffee Crisis, released in 2017

The aliens have landed. And they want our Wi-Fi.

Now you can get Coffee Crisis on Steam and if you’re brave enough, you can get down on some insane beat-em-up action, couch co-op and a rockin’ and roarin’ heavy metal soundtrack.

Body-snatching aliens have invaded Earth to steal our Wi-Fi, drink our coffee, commandeer our heavy metal and watch cat videos. It falls to a pair of baristas, Nick and Ashley (actual people who co-wrote the game), from the Black Forge Coffee House to stop this invasion at all costs.

Players get to play as Nick or Ashley and each barista has their own brawling style. Nick swings a sack of beans at his foes and Ashley smacks them with what appears to be a carafe. This is old-style brawling with controls that consist of jumping, attacking, throwing foes and a unique special move that takes a little chomp out of your life bar.

An old-school new-school brawler

Unlike the old brawlers where on-screen enemies are limited to just a few, Mega Cat pulls out all the stops. More than once I found the screen filled with little aliens, big aliens, old people with walkers and tons of other quirky pixel villains. Crowd control is an absolute must in Coffee Crisis on Steam or in the original version.

The Steam version of Coffee Crisis is not a direct Genesis port. Rather, Mega Cat built this from the ground up in order to take advantage of modern processing. That means we get to enjoy this Genesis game with advanced visuals and a fully-realized metal soundtrack. Rock on!

Hordes of enemies
Prepare to face hordes of enemies. And die. A lot.

Kicking random butts

Further distinguishing the Steam version and further distancing itself from old-school brawlers, Coffee Crisis for Steam uses random modifiers to create a unique experience every time you play. Every time a player enters a new area, up to five modifiers are randomly selected to do things like strengthen player attacks, spawn additional enemies or invoke some pretty interesting visual effects. The visual modifiers include a CRT-style television overlay, some unique filters and—my personal favorite—what appears to be an Etch-a-Sketch overlay.

Hope you like dyin’

Between stages there are coffee-drinking mini games that reward skilled players with additional points and extra lives. And you’ll need ‘em too, because Coffee Crisis is friggin’ brutal!

The sheer volume of enemies attacking at once—some ranged, some melee, some just very reachy—can make the game downright frustrating at times. There are a lot of enemies who are perfectly capable of interrupting your combo to take a whack at you.

Nick and Ashley have a charged attack which can be very difficult to pull off because enemies often attack without hesitation. Their pre-emptive strikes forced me to learn a different play pattern than what old-school brawlers have programmed into me. I have to admit I rage-quit this game more than once on medium difficulty.

Here’s Nick, swingin’ his big ol’ bean sack.

Which really might appeal to some of the more skilled gamers out there. The difficulty levels go all the way up to Death Metal mode, which is great for those sickos who can’t get enough whippin’. To activate Death Metal mode, you have to finish the game at a lower difficulty setting first.

…but there are codes in this game, too. Just sayin’.

So yeah. Heavy metal, fancy coffee, alien invasion and old-school button mashing sounds like a winner to me. If you love the old brawlers, you’ll definitely enjoy Coffee Crisis on Steam. Or if you’re feeling it, pick up a Genesis/Mega Drive cartridge from the developer’s website.

Graphics - 8
Gameplay - 7
Music - 9
Difficulty - 8.5
Overall - Not too shabby - 8


User Rating: 3.45 ( 1 votes)

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Steven Long

Steve is an IndieWatch O.G. He has long supplied marketing information for the aspiring developer. More recently he has been creating content for retrogaming enthusiasts on his YouTube channel. Find him on Twitter @Longie_long and at Patreon.

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