A competitive fighter featuring a roster of drinks, Super Drink Bros Early Access is a title from NekoGameTeacher (Twitter), featuring quite the selection of characters from the outset, with new ones added all the time.
Potential leaderboard heroes can participate in ranked matches to climb the bragging rights ladder, enter a quick, non-ranked match, play with friends using a room code, or practise your moves in the training arena.
There’s no doubt about it, Super Drink Bros is a nice looking game with fluid movements and animation. The music is pretty good too, as long as you aren’t stuck in a connectivity loop hearing it again and again.
Super Drink Bros Early Access Review
Connectivity issues aren’t likely to affect a score unless the game relies on online play – something like Hell Let Loose, but I don’t score Early Access titles anyway. With the latter, also in Early Access, it was a bit hit and miss with participants, making it quite redundant in small groups. However, when you’re able to play with others, it’s excellent, if that’s online play is your thing.
With Super Drink Bros Early Access it wasn’t the number players to compete with, it was the lack of connecting to a match to fight anyone. At least, for the first few attempts at playing the game.
Though the game is fast-loading, the menu systems seem to lock you in, and I had to frequently force quit the game to restart. Clicking on Quick Match, a session would be created, but it would hang with my character repeatedly doing press-ups.
There’s an in-game signal strength indicator, as the last thing you want in an online fighter is lag, and my result was always strong. But for some reason, I couldn’t connect to any matches on any of the EU, US or Asian servers.
Is There Anybody There?
I switched to the Asian servers as most of the leaderboard names were either written in kanji or hiragana. It was assumed that the players were overseas, but the lack of connectivity had me thinking this was a time zone difference.
Undeterred, I created a Custom Match, getting a room code to pass on to another person with the game, but neither of us could connect. Instead, we both had the loading screen with endless tips with spelling mistakes and fast food facts. The only option was to play Super Drink Bros Early Access in the Training mode repeatedly.
But the menu navigation is an issue too as there’s no way to cancel a matchmaking session, or return to the menu when the Custom Match doesn’t work. The ‘Back to menu’ button flashes when I click it, but the screen remains the same with ‘now loading’ and the numerous speling mistaiks such as Japanes and gurad instead of guard, as well as inconsistencies with capitalisation.
Leaving it to marinate, I returned to Super Drink Bros Early Access, and as if by magic, I could finally create a session. The loading times were pretty swift, and the action even faster. When faced against an online opponent for the first time, they were relentless, but I secured my first win in the first game. Fluke.
The first match was a Quick Match, and it was tough, but that win meant nothing – it was time for a Ranked Match. A first win again, just. It’s quite stressful really as I played on the keyboard and it felt counter-intuitive to play a beat ’em up this way, but it works.
I will say that it’s evenly matched though and the match can go any direction. Whether it’s player balancing or just a very well crafted learning curve, it works in its favour.
You’re set a few challenges on the main menu, such as ranked matches, and achieving RP and DP. There’s no reference to what this is so assumed ‘ranked points and dick points’ – the latter for those who like to spam the special moves.
Can You Stand Still For A Sec While I Punch You?
What I don’t like about the Super Drink Bros Early Access gameplay is the tactics. You can guard and keep it there, but the minute your opponent initiates an attack, you can’t defend it. In some ways, the game starts to resemble a rhythm game in that if you get your timing right, you can spam the button for an easy win.
It soon became apparent that this was the play style for some, and I was reserved on my opinion of the experience. I preferred to play someone I knew, looking for a fun experience rather than an aggressive button-mashing method.
Sure, that’s the nature of competitive beat ’em ups, but Super Drink Bros Early Access runs a little shy on features, being an online game only. Based on my earlier connectivity experiences, this spoiled the game a little. Still, once there was some stability, the game is consistently fast running and seldom a moment of twiddling your thumbs.
Characters mostly felt the same, but the choice and character modelling were good. I think that with the introduction of additional modes (mini-games?), this could be a bit of a gem. It certainly looks the part and plays well too, but with the limited move set and run tactics employed by most, it’s much more enjoyable with people you know – perhaps a local game?
The Price Of A Dozen Colas
With all that said, it’s Early Access and considering the asking price, this is money well spent if you’re into competitive fighters. I’m not too sure on the longevity, but you can’t go wrong at this price, and perhaps my connections issues were isolated?
What I would like to see other than a few modes (further down the line, of course,) is a bit more stability when connecting to games and then exit out of them. As a very minor note, a sanity check on spelling mistakes would be good too.
Overall though, Super Drink Bros Early Access shows quite a bit of promise and the can thing isn’t a gimmick. It’s a decent fighter, fast-paced with a lot of visual polish, but could do with a few more features and tweaking of the menus.
When it worked, I enjoyed the gameplay and recommend you look into this further if you’re a fight fan, irrespective of the flaws – it’s Early Access. Grab your copy from the Steam page.