By Chris Picone, 04 September 2022
I must admit, I’m one of those “old white fellas” that always get a little iffy when I’m sent a “girl game” to review. Not because I have a problem with those games, just because I’m very aware that I’m probably not their target market. No need to feat with Curse Crackers – it’s bloody fantastic!
It’s that perfect mix of retro and modern that’s becoming popular lately. It’s rocking genuinely retro pixel art aesthetics, but they’re really nice and clean and detailed. Also, as you play through the game you can find secret areas and collect treasures that unlock alternative palettes, which is a super cool feature. It’s quirky and cute and I love it.
Classic retro platformer action! The cool thing is, the main character’s an acrobat, so you can do spring jumps and rolling dash jumps, and just generally speaking your movement is very smooth. You can also bounce off enemies' heads when you jump on them; sometimes it kills them but often they’re wearing helmets. Your main weapon is Chime, a gigantic living bell which you shoot across the screen. It can be useful in that it keeps going forever so it’ll hit anything in your path in a straight line, even off screen. It does bounce off walls though, so if you shoot it on an angle you can bounce it around to hit enemies or reach coins, but if you throw it straight the next wall might be a long way away so you often have to recall it rather than waiting for it to boomerang back. It can be clunky at times but Chime’s bounce ability is utilised in many puzzles in secret rooms. Speaking of which, there are so many secret areas and hidden items to find! I think that’s where Curse Crackers shines the brightest. Each level features three hidden roses, a number of coins to collect, and secret rooms with trophies that unlock new palettes and other goodies. And on top of that, there are other secrets (spoiler: on the first level I found a secret area that unlocked a whole new region on the map!). Levels are multi-staged; the whole game’s pretty damn big. Also, the bosses are as very cool. The first few have been easy to beat so far but they’ve been very creative in their execution. I’m a huge fan.
Yes! Platformer fans, get your wallets out. Also, this one’s got unlimited lives and you can learn to beat it by memorising patterns so I reckon it’s probably also very kid-friendly.