The side-scrolling shooter genre of games is one that has been a staple for many years. In recent years you have games like ‘My Friend Predro’ and ‘Cuphead’ that have injected new energy into the space. Soda Crisis by Team Soda fits right in and looks to bring a ton of excitement and flair for longtime fans and those who are new to these types of games. Whether you want a quick fix of fun or you want to sink dozens of hours into the game, there may be something for everyone in Soda Crisis.
In Soda Crisis, you play as a soda-loving living weapon (I am definitely sensing a pattern here) that utilizes many weapons and skills to make its way through the various stages in the game. In my opinion, the narrative is not why you are playing this game. The story is fairly simple and can be sometimes forgettable but you are really here for the gameplay. Like many games, you start off with higher-level skills and weapons to start. This gives you a good feel for the game and its mechanics. You are taken back to your base form and walked through various tutorial scenarios to get an understanding of the systems, weapons, and upgrades at your disposal. The transition wasn’t jarring at all and I enjoyed being thrown right into the action. Also, when going back to the less powerful weapons, you don’t feel like you are totally powerless.
While making your way through the game, you will have access to stores and checkpoints where you can upgrade and change your loadout. Along with upgrading your weapons, you have access to a companion that has it’s own set of abilities that will help you throughout the various levels. If what you have decided to use for a particular run is just not working, you are not forced to make that loadout work. When you die in a run, you are taken back to a checkpoint and you are able to upgrade and change your weapons. This opens up so many possibilities when it comes to the ways that you can play the game. This also allows for those who are interested in speedrunning to fine tune their loadout at any given time. Replayability is greatly increased because of these mechanics. The various enemy types and abilities keep first time players on their toes but it never seems unfair. Boss battles offer a great sense of scale and gives the player a chance to use all of their learned abilities.
If you’ve played Team Soda’s previous game, Snake Force, you will be somewhat familiar with that art style. The main difference between Soda Crisis and Snake Force is the camera angle. Snake Force was a top-down twin-stick shooter while Soda Crisis is shot from the side. You see that the team learned a lot from working on their previous project when it comes to art. In Soda Crisis, there is a good mix of indoor and outdoor play spaces. You’re never in one type of space too long so the game never gets boring visually. The character designs are really cool and match their various abilities. As you get further into the game, the designs of the characters get more complex.
If you’ve played any type of side-scrolling shooter before, you will feel right at home with Soda Crisis. The controls are intuitive and you get used to the different abilities very quickly. There is the perfect mix of simplicity and challenge when it comes to progressing in the game. There were times when I was flying through levels and playing somewhat recklessly and I was presented with a new challenge. It felt good to have to slow down from time to time and assess the obstacles in front of me. New enemies and mechanics are presented at the correct pace where it never feels overwhelming for the player.
Soda Crisis was a really refreshing experience for me. I have played a lot of side-scrolling games in my lifetime and this fits right in while also providing something new. The game feels very solid and sports a fun art style. The ability to have control over your loadout throughout the game and the evolution of enemy types keeps things feeling fresh and new.
Soda Crisis is available on Steam for $10.99. If you want to give it a try, there is also a demo.