Weekends are my favourite, not only as a nice breather from working all week but I also get to see family. Those kind of days are perfect for playing through co-op games of which I have plenty of. Easier said than done though, as choosing the game becomes the hard part—which leads to weekly store perusals to find another game to add to the pile. But last weekend my cousin and I found a great game to play, and that game is none other than Colossus Down.
Colossus Down is a side-scrolling beat ’em by Mango Protocol and features a lot of charm and varied gameplay bits to keep you from tiring out on mashing the X button. In the single play mode, you play as a 7-year old girl named Nika Allen, a super genius tired of being treated like a kid and “uncool things” in general and wants to destroy it all. If you choose two-player mode, Nika teams up with her friend Agatha Knife, a girl that is equally nutty who wants to join in on the fun. Her motivations are to convert slash destroy vegetarians into ‘Carnivorism’ and get Nika to fix her animal to packaged poultry machine (she named it something funny but I just cannot remember).
To get you through each level, you will control either Nika’s aptly named ‘MechaNika’ or Agatha as a giant piggy with a cleaver. Essentially both characters are big and you will primarily fight hordes of enemies as they surround you with guns, bats, candy canes, and all other sorts of weaponry. Of course both Nika and Agatha have cool attacks of their own, both standard and unlockable skills, that prove valuable in gibbing hordes of uncool lame-o’s into chunks of meat and dust.
I found the gameplay to be quite fun, especially in two-player mode where my cousin and I planned out attacks and successfully wiping out tens of enemies on screen in seconds. This game also does a good job of communicating with the player whether attacks land or if your taking damage, which is something I find a lot of beat ’em ups fail to do and otherwise make for an unpleasant experience. I do wish that enemies were less tank-y, however, as this sometimes had us slamming the attack button a lot longer than we would have liked. Skills do make these fights much easier, but using them takes away from your overall health (think Streets of Rage 2) so you do need to plan out your attacks accordingly.
There are also different gameplay segments to help break up the monotony, such as a shoot ’em up segment. You may or may not like having to change things up, but I thought this helped break the mold on mashing the attack button too much. Though there were the occasional puzzle that would have been better off being a wall for Nika or Agatha to break open.
Playing either mode will run you through the same levels the game provides, but playing two-player mode will introduce dialogue and cutscenes that you cannot experience in the single player mode. For better or worse, this is the definite way to experience the game’s narrative even if the dialogue between the two tends to last a lot longer than I would have liked. Co-op games with heavy story elements are out there (Tales of and Divinity come to mind) but in a beat ’em up my and I tend to speed past any kind of cutscene to get to the action. On the bright side, the animated cutscenes that play between each level are quite nice if only lacking in voice acting or even the chirps that play during dialogue.
Some decisions will also come up during your playthrough that can change how your playthrough is going to go. For example, one of the earlier decisions has you picking between either infinite regeneration in your run or permadeath. Choosing the former prevents you from being able to unlock all skills available while the latter means you have got one life to get through the entire game. Another decision can help you unlock your next skill faster at the expense of a moral choice. It is a nice way to change things up and help you adapt to future levels.
I think Mango Protocol has made a great beat ’em up that continues the story of their previous two games (as far as I am aware at least). If you like the cutesy art style, enjoy a buttload of pop culture references, and are looking for a game to play with a friend this weekend, you would not go wrong with Colossus Down—it certainly made for a fun play session with my family.
Played on Xbox Series X