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Clash Force Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Clash Force looks and acts the part, but mainly recycles from far better 8-bit games. I like the colorful graphics, the responsive gameplay and the various boss fights. Unfortunately, it's all over in about an hour and there's nothing to help set it apart from the wave of neo-retro action games. It's not a bad game, but Clash Force should have been so much better. Rating: 57%
Clash Force
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
Had I reviewed Clash Force a decade ago, I suspect my thoughts would have been a lot more glowing. I probably would have spent most of that review gushing over the authentic graphics and the responsive gameplay, impressed that there was a developer still making high-quality 2D platformers. The problem is that there have been a lot of incredible retro-inspired action games released in the last ten years. In fact, this is just one of several released this week. So while Clash Force may look and act the part, I'm not sure that's enough to impress me in 2017. Let me explain why.

If Clash Force looks familiar, then it may be because you played it on an iPhone or iPad. This is a long-overdue port of the 2012 mobile phone game from Spicy Gyro, and it makes the leap with relative ease. You play one of three run 'n gun animal heroes as they fight through forests, deserts and underground mines to stop the evil Crackman and his minions from causing mayhem. It's a flimsy plot, but that's certainly keeping in the spirit of the 1980s.


Although this was clearly inspired by a number of old school games, Clash Force shares the most in common with Mega Man. The heroes are simple and squat, unable to duck or shoot in any direction beyond forward. The platform-heavy stages and robot villains also remind me of Capcom's long-running series, which is a good thing ... for the most part.

There are more than twenty good looking stages here, each with detailed backgrounds and all kinds of obstacles to avoid. A lot of it is fairly straight-forward, but I like that there are a few stages where you're on moving platforms. There's a cool desert level where you're riding a raft and having to shoot down bubble-blowing fish while dodging the gun turrets. It's an exciting moment, and one of the few genuinely tough parts in the game.

Perhaps it's because I've spent so much time playing the old school classics, but I didn't find this particularly challenging. Although there are a few admittedly tough bits towards the end, it's not going to take you much more than an hour to beat. And even with three different heroes to choose from, I'm not sure I'm going to bother replaying it any time soon.

The problem is that Clash Force is too simple for its own good. And I know what you're thinking: Weren't most 8-bit games incredibly simple? Yes, but this is simple even by those already low standards. Look at a game like Mega Man, where you could not only choose the path you wanted to take, but literally steal the powers away from each boss. There are no clever or unique ideas in Clash Force. This is basic platformer where you walk from left to right while jumping over pits and shooting down enemies. You've done this all before.

Clash Force (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

To be fair, the graphics look great. I'm not entirely sure I'm buying that this could have been made on the Nintendo Entertainment System (there are a few too many scrolling backgrounds for a 1980s game), but it does a good job of evoking the spirit of that era. I also like how it plays. The characters are easy to control and can move around with ease while in the air. There are also some fun boss fights, though none of them are especially challenging. I would like to see all of this applied to a bigger, more involving game that goes deeper than the surface level.

Clash Force looks and acts the part, but mainly recycles from far better 8-bit games. I like the colorful graphics, the responsive gameplay and the various boss fights. Unfortunately, it's all over in about an hour and there's nothing to help set it apart from the wave of neo-retro action games. It's not a bad game, but Clash Force should have been so much better.
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