A while ago I reviewed two crazy point-and-click games, Psychotic’s Agatha Knife and MechaNika, both of which are connected but revolve around two protagonists with differing agendas. In Agatha Knife, we set out to summon the Great Bleeding Pig, the god of Carnivorism, and in MechaNika we embarked on a journey to find the parts to build the titular weapon of mass destruction. Psychotic’s Colossus Down is the direct sequel to MechaNika, a game which leaves the previous genre behind and swaps it for a side-scrolling beat-em-up – how bizarre!
This unusual sequel is from Mango Protocol, a small development team who have a brilliant sense of humour which they place throughout their games. Colossus Down may not have Marilyn Manson his time around, or a fully naked shaven female, but it does have a Donald Trump look-a-like and Care Bears.
If I said I wasn’t surprised by the direction the developers went in, I would be lying; this game caught me off guard as I was expecting another point-and-click game. But, was the jump to another genre a good idea? Let’s find out…
As stated above, Psychotic’s Colossus Down follows on from MechaNika, Nika has just finished building her robotic Megazord and is about to set her plan into motion – to wipe out everything in the world which she thinks isn’t ‘cool’ or which annoys her. It’s a simple plan, but one which she feels very passionate about. So, after launching out of her secret lab beneath her house, indirectly killing everyone walking by with the rubble and explosion, she activates the suit’s weaponry and heads out to fulfil her destiny.
Her first order of business is to go to school, not to further her education, but to eliminate everyone there who is less intelligent than her – basically everyone. This progresses to the streets of her town, army bases, a cyberpunk city, and even Candyland, a world full of love and colourful creatures – all of which must die for being so lovey-dovey and girly. But, Nika isn’t the only one out to reset the world and rid it of its disappointments, you’ll soon be faced against another unknown foe, one which tries to stop you every step of the way.
This isn’t your typical beat-em-up, Psychotic’s Colossus Down contains moral choices which eventually leads you to four alternative endings. There’s also two ways to play the game, one which rewards you with a trophy and more attack power, and another which grants you unlimited lives at the expense of the previous two points. I had a lot of fun playing this game, both on my own and with a friend – yes, it’s local co-op compatible – so let’s take a closer look at why I think you’ll love this game…
I was a little sceptical when I first saw Psychotic’s Colossus Down, simply due to being very different from the previous games which were focused on exploring and interacting with the world and its people. But, I’m glad to say that I was wrong to be doubtful, the game far exceeded my expectations and turned out to be a great combination of beat-em-up action, humour, excitement, and overall enjoyment when playing either solo or with a friend. I reviewed the new Streets of Rage 4 last year, this game felt just as tight and responsive as that did.
For the most part, the game is a side-scrolling beat-em-up in which you can smash and trash a multitude of on-screen items as well as the waves of enemies you’ll encounter on your quest. You have a few default attacks but you can also unlock up to four alternative special attacks as you pick up scrap metal and increase your ‘core level’ at the end of each stage. As these are obtained when progressing further into the game, it helps keep things fresh and new, I especially love that you can even pick the order in which they unlock, rather than the game simply giving you a set one each time.
Each of the bosses which you face has moral choices laid upon you, making the gameplay even more exciting and diverse. I believe each option leads to a different trophy, meaning you may have to play through the game multiple times, with the option you choose also contributing to the ending you’ll receive upon completing the game. One choice, in Candyland, actually changes which person you fight as you choose who should rule over the land as you take sides with their nemesis.
I love games which do this, like The Sinking City, as it means a second playthrough will introduce you to new dialogue and actions without having to work out how to divert from what you’ve chosen previously.
Now, this is where the game gets interesting. Early into the game, you’re given an ultimatum; you can either have unlimited continues which brings you back to life exactly where you died, or you can opt to play the game in permadeath mode, with only one set of lives before it’s ‘Game Over’. Why would you choose permadeath (if you’re not sadistic)? You have to sacrifice one of your core levels if you wish to have unlimited continues, meaning you’ll never be able to equip all four special moves in that playthrough (and obtain the trophy related to it).
As I’m simply the best at games like this, basically a God among men, I obviously opted for the unlimited continues because I couldn’t have lasted five minutes otherwise!
The game isn’t just a side-scroller though, there are moments where the game turns into a top-down shooter as you traverse through a garbage shute, some puzzles which you have to solve in order to open doors, and even a stage which contains vanishing and hidden platforms as the level is incomplete and being written as you play it (Game Dev world). There is a lot of variety and each set of stages introduces something new along with unique enemies, difficult bosses, and a funny narrative which falls in line with the developer’s previous games.
One of the great things about Psychotic’s Colossus Down is the fact you can play it with two people via local co-op. If you do this, player one is Nika and player two gets the privilege of playing as Agatha – well, as the Great Bleeding Pig which Agatha seems to morph into. As this super swine, you have access to four new special moves which are unlocked as you progress, yet only three are available if you choose to have unlimited continues (just like Nika). The only disappointment I had with Agatha is that you can’t play as her if you’re playing solo – the game is focused around Nika’s narrative, so a simple character swap wouldn’t work (to keep the story in-tact).
The developers are only a small team, so writing a whole new narrative, or programming the game to alter what’s being said based on having a new character, would be a bit too much at this stage. However, I personally would have just liked the option to literally swap out Nika for Agatha upon completing the game, keeping the story and narrative in place but I now get to play as the Piggy Protagonist – kinda like how you can swap out the main character in Bulletstorm for Duke Nukem without actually changing the story (only the voices and character model).
As there’s a pandemic going on at the moment (if you’ve not noticed), it may be hard to find someone to play the game with you via the local co-op option (unless if you have a cool family). However, don’t forget that the PS4 and PS5 both support Share Play and Remote Play. If you have a friend with a PS4 or PS5, and they have PS Plus (and you do too), they can ask to ‘share’ your screen, streaming it to their console and playing as if they’re literally sat next to you. Alternatively, if their account is on your console, they can remote in via their PC, mobile, or another console (in some instances), and also play it as if they’re there. Both may have a small amount of lag, but if configured correctly, it won’t be noticeable.
For fans of the previous games in the series, Psychotic’s Colossus Down continues to bring the puns and wackiness we’ve all come to love from the developers. There’s a stage in which you’re fighting within a movie set, so you’ll see the Hulk, Thing, some of the X-Men, Mary Poppins, and I believe it’s Elsa from Frozen. There are also enemies who look like The Power Rangers, pictures for both Wash_Dogs and Assassin’s Greed, as well as a number of other nods towards other IPs and franchises. I love it.
In regards to the dialogue, Nika likes to talk whenever you enter a new area or bump into certain characters, often resulting in funny conversations where she clearly doesn’t care about anything or anyone who may be trying to reason with or stop her. And yes, it was quite satisfying to take out Donald Tru… I mean, Donald Tank.
I love the unique design of each of the worlds/stages you play throughout the game, each one has its own charm and visual style. From the nostalgiac design and layout of your home town (it’s the same as the first two games) to the pixel-art style you get transported into when working your way towards the Video Game Programmer, each one made me smile with its brilliant visuals and catchy music. In regards to the music, it doesn’t appear to be available on PSN but you can buy it on Steam.
Although I thought I was going to head into an ‘okay’ adventure with a by-the-numbers beat-em-up sequel to a couple of highly-enjoyable point-and-click style adventure games, I came out very happy with what I’d experienced. Sure, I opted to sacrifice a trophy (and a special move) for the ability to continue whenever I died – removing the challenge and fear of death from my playthrough – but I don’t care, it was fun. I literally felt like a young seven-year-old-girl within a giant mech, walking around and causing havoc against anything that looked at me funny or which I simply didn’t like. I honestly don’t know how long I’d last in permadeath mode, but I imagine it wouldn’t be very long.
I wasn’t aware that Agatha had a part in the game until I got my friend to remote in from his PS4 last week, a discovery which I wish was an option within single-player as well – even if it’s just a simple skin swap as a bonus for completing the game. Also, if you’re trying to platinum the game then you’ll have to obtain all four endings, one of which requires you to be playing in co-op as the young butcher herself, so you’ll have to grab a friend to help you out with that one. I really like Agatha, especially the persona of the Great Bleeding Pig with its large butcher’s knife – maybe I can start a co-op game on my own and just let Nika die and not continue?
In terms of the gameplay, I think it’s varied enough with the various gameplay modes, puzzles, funny conversations, and interesting ending (I got the default one). Each new area is well detailed and different to the last, the enemies are fun to beat up, especially the bosses, and the soundtrack perfectly fits the situation and makes the entire experience very fun to play. If you haven’t gathered yet, I really enjoyed Psychotic’s Colossus Down, even though I would have failed to finish the game had I not been given the gift of unlimited continues.
Psychotic’s Colossus Down is a far departure from the previous games, yet it still has all the charm and humour which I loved within them. The combat, upgrades, and various gameplay mechanics all help keep the game fresh and new, even in multiple playthroughs, with the puzzles and dialogues breaking up the action for a bit of humour and brain usage. If you enjoyed the previous games but fancy something a little different, you’ll like this game, especially if you fancy torturing yourself and playing it in permadeath mode! Whether playing on your own or with a friend locally (or via Remote/Share Play), each level will make you smile as you cause carnage to all things uncool.
If you’ve not yet played the first two games, don’t worry – prior knowledge isn’t required to enjoy this game. However, if you want to read our reviews, you can find them here: Agatha Knife | MechaNika.
Alternatively, if you want to play them, but your a fond collector of all things physical, check out our article HERE – First Press Games are taking pre-orders for the double pack physical editions on both the Nintendo Switch and the PS4, including versions that come with a bunch of extras – such as the soundtracks and keyrings. If they still have some stock next month, I think I’ll pick up the PS4 collectors edition.
Psychotic's Colossus Down£14.99
- - Very colourful visuals and a great soundtrack
- - When played with another person, you get to play as Agatha
- - Funny conversations and situations
- - Multiple endings to find and many 'replayable' trophies
- - Different gameplay styles to keep things fresh and exciting
- - You can't play as Agatha if you're on your own
- - The game can be quite hard, so the permadeath mode will be very difficult
- - One of the trophies requires you to complete the game in co-op mode