Arts video game review

Coffee cup yo-yo fencing

Don’t worry, it only gets weirder

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Four players go head-to-head in a match of coffencing.
Courtesy of Sweet Bandit Studios

Developed by Sweet Bandit Studios
Published by Sweet Bandit Studios
No Rating
Available on Windows, XBOX One, Playstation 4

You know the typical fighter-platformer games: Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter, and the like. Well, here’s a more-than-slightly-absurd take on the genre: Coffence. To see what this game is like, picture the time-honored sport of fencing. Now instead of swords, the fencers are holding coffee cups — full coffee cups — which are attached to the coffencers’ hands via a yo-yo-type apparatus. You can use your yo-yo to throw their cups on the order of two meters — without spilling a drop — and hit their opponents’ cups and cause them to spill a portion of their coffee (which doubles as health) high into the air so that you can catch it. On top of that, the cast of playable characters features four cartoony coffencers, a photorealistic dog, and a sentient coffee cup.

Absurdity aside, this button-mashing twin-stick fighter has a pun-filled, cute aesthetic and a jazzy soundtrack, but is ultimately quite simple. After just under an hour of gameplay, I had completed all five of the story modes, losing only a few times to the AI. The controls on the keyboard were manageable, but a little bit janky, leading me to sometimes accidentally win by pushing the right buttons at the right time.

The story and versus modes take place in a standard 1v1 2D arena, where most of the action is on the ground (much to the benefit of the dog character). It doesn’t take long to pick up. The AI difficulties for the versus mode are not terribly difficult until the last level, where they spam buttons faster that I could hope to mash; it feels unfair, but they are still beatable. The four-player mode isn’t too different: it has different maps with some platforms to make the action use more of 2D space, but has many of the same problems — just now there are four players to make it even more hectic.

Honestly, it’s hard to say that the game was either good or bad; it was just absurd and not terribly interesting. There are three attacks, one defense, the standard motion controls, and a “coffee time” button which uses part of your health to make time slow down — which, I admit makes for a simple game that’s somewhat enjoyable, but just not for very long.

In short, it’s just really not my cup of coffee.