Developer: Le Grudge & Rugged
Platforms: (Microsoft Windows PC) (Mac) (Linux)
Release Date: Dec. 21st, 2012
Genre: Action Arcade
Players: Single Player
Regular Price: $9.99 USD
If you love high paced arcade games that push your reflexes to their limits while giving you a sense of bliss every time you finish a stage than KRUNCH is going to grab your interest. Developed by Le Grudge & Rugged, KRUNCH has only one goal in mind for its players, and that goal is to make them sweat, curse, and have fun.
(Unfortunately, I do not own a Winnitron 1000, which KRUNCH is playable on, to give the game a full go. So I have to regretfully only give a review of the PC version. If someone wishes to donate Ogre Jungle this awesome machine than go right ahead… unless of course the removal of fingers is required)
Game Summary – From Developers
CAN YOU GET TO THE EXIT?
KRUNCH is a quick-reflex game about escaping, survival and the fear of being closed in. KRUNCH draws inspiration from NES era gaming and has an exclusive 2-player mode for the Winnitron 1000: the indie video game cabinet. KRUNCH demands concentration, delivers fast gameplay and will test fans of games such as Mega Man and VVVVVV.
KRUNCH is a game that neither focuses on nor cares about story. It has no dialogue, but instead relies on scarce comic strip-like images and situations that draw on your imagination. This concept works out quite well for the most part, and I felt rather content throughout most of my playthrough.
However, KRUNCH’s ending slammed my feeling of contentment straight into a brick wall. After going through multiple stages whose difficulty can only create pure fury and a final segment that really made you feel the heat, I was greeted with a uniquely designed cutscene that left me unfulfilled to say the least. Not a single question about your character, the enemies, or even the world is answered. I can only describe it as the same feeling you receive from finishing the final season of “LOST”. Just an empty void that wants to be filled.
Disregarding the ending, it is pretty easy to see that the developers were looking to create a game with a bit of an enigma story. They were on the right track throughout most of the game and almost had it down perfect but something just went awry near the end, and that is what is drawing down the score. Great effort though.
KRUNCH has very simple gameplay, which is perfect for a fast past arcade title. You move your Wheatley looking character from one stage to the next with the difficulty raising and new traps being added every so often. Throughout the game you are only given a life bar that is slowly starts draining at the start of each stage and an ability to dash that eats away your life quicker. You have to find the right mix of caution and speed for each level to survive, which is easier said than done.
Every stage is packed full of traps that can easily kill you with just a simple tap. To taunt you as you maneuver around these traps are glowing pellets that raise your score. They are not all that important but I can’t tell you the number of times I died trying to greedily grab them!
Make it to the a stage’s exit pipe and you will be greeted with the next deadly obstacle course. After a number of these courses, you will have a run-in with a massive monster in a gargantuan trap filled gauntlet. You must rush to the exit before being eaten, where upon you are whooshed away to the next area that is a completely different color palette.
The gameplay is very simple but extremely addictive.
There is very little to say about the controls in KRUNCH. You are capable of moving in 8 cardinal directions with the arrows keys and your dash is used by simply holding either [Space] or [Z] (Remember that it eats away your health like a fat kid with cake). That’s it. There is really nothing else to it. Movement is solid but still has a nice bit of sliding to increase the game’s difficulty and the dash skill is utilized very often to pass obstacles. Great job on the controls guys.
KRUNCH took its inspiration from the Pixel Era, a time when the NES ruled the land and Capcom actually made Megaman games, and it definitely shows this in its graphics. The KRUNCH team did a magnificent job at combining very detailed sprites with fast paced time trials, and the art that appears throughout the game just plain looks awesome.
The music in KRUNCH, even though I personally don’t have a taste for it, fits quite well with the game’s atmosphere. It really brings around the hectic feel of the game while also matching the Sci-Fi theme. I’ve played one too many mainstream and indie titles that love to use music and sound effects that do not match the game, but KRUNCH really did well its music choice.
For anyone who has heard the game’s soundtrack and fallen in love with it, you can grab the full OST for KRUNCH and sample its tunes over on Le Grudge & Rugged’s bandcamp page.
I’d be lying if I said I did not have fun during my KRUNCH playthrough. The game’s challenging levels, simple controls, and great art make the game plain enjoyable. If you love fast games that like to kick you when you’re down than you will love KRUNCH.
However, the game has another issue alongside its unfulfilling ending. It is way too short. KRUNCH boasts at having 100+ unique levels, and it is not lying about that, but most of these levels are completed very quickly once you master the controls. It is not until you reach the end stages that they become much more time-consuming to complete, but by this time you are just about at the end of the game. I really like KRUNCH and will definitely plan on doing more playthroughs of it, but the length of the game is rather crippling when you don’t get that ‘Hell yeah!’ feeling from beating it.
Still, the gameplay and stage design make KRUNCH a game you won’t regret adding to your collection.
Overall Score: A
You can find KRUNCH up for sale on most sites that sale indie games, but it has yet to get approved on Steam Greenlight. This is definitely a title that deserves a spot in Steam’s indie library, and I am sure KRUNCH’s developers would be more than thankful if you could give the game a passing vote on its Steam Greenlight page. You will definitely have my thanks if you do. If you want to give the game a go now than you can grab it at the sites listed below. Have fun and try not to curse too much during your playthrough (I feel like quite the hypocrite saying that).