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[Beyond PlayStation] Cruel Bands Career Review

[Beyond PlayStation] Cruel Bands Career Review
  • On November 20, 2020

Cruel Bands Career from indienova is a black and white strategy game with a very out there look that you should check out on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our Cruel Bands Career review!


Cruel Bands Career from indienova is a black and white strategy game with a very out there look, as you can see from the game’s trailer and the screens in this Cruel Bands Career review. In it, you’ll be taking on enemies that advance towards the stage where the band is playing by moving through one of three lanes, but you won’t be attacking them, at least not directly! The game features a very unique gameplay mechanic that asks that you allow enemies to deal damage to your band members so that they can charge up their special abilities to turn the tide of battle. You do need to be careful because if any of your band members loses all of its health, it’s game over.

Cruel Bands Career Review - Characters

Once you’re done with the game’s tutorial – during which you should pay attention to all of the gameplay mechanics it will explain to you – you can select the characters that will be part of your band, with each one having a bonus to consider. You start with four options, but you can unlock an extra five characters later on. The four initial characters are Porky, Nail Head, Sir Rabbit, and Thief Cola. Porky will recover more HP from food and drinks, Nail Head has a chance to counter the Fistman visitor, Sir Rabbit might get an extra shot of the brain cannon – more on this in a bit -, and Thief Cola will get more full HP bonus coins.

You will press left or right on the left analog stick or the D-Pad to turn the stage, which you’ll need to do to change each character’s position. As you play, you must always be aware of each character’s hit points because, as I mentioned before, if any of the characters on stage loses all of its hit points, the show will come to a halt. If you’re feeling confident and want to speed things up, you can press and hold the B button to speed up the visitors so that you can quickly move the stage around to get rid of visitors.


Why do you also need to pay attention to the type of visitor that ends up reaching a character? Because there are good visitors at each level, and when one character receives one, it will receive a good effect, such as recovering some of its lost hit points. The issue is that when this happens, the other members of the band will become jealous. If a band member becomes jealous, they will lose some of their health, so you’ll need to be quick and rotate the stage as needed so that you can balance everyone’s hit points.

Cruel Bands Career Review - 1

Your characters can use special skills by spending some of the energy they have accumulated. Energy is represented by the number above their head, and each character will gain one energy point with every visitor that reaches them. Special skills require five energy points, and max special skills require nine energy points and can help you stay alive during your performance. Special skills can be used with the A button and can include things such as conjuring up a deadly buzzsaw that will cut all visitors on that live in half, while another might turn visitors on a lane into apples, which you can eat to recover HP.


To spice things up, some visitors will change their behavior when you turn the stage. For example, one visitor who is smiling and will, therefore, favor the character it reaches, might get a frown if you turn the stage, and it will end up damaging the character it reaches. On top of this, some visitors can end up inflicting a status on your characters. These can include dizzy, which will switch the HP effect of the next visitor, fear, which will make your character lose HP until it receives another visitor, or sleep, which will ignore the effect of all visitors for a few seconds.

Since some effects can we made to work in your favor – such as the aforementioned dizzy – you can also use items by pressing the Y button. You could, for instance, take a sip of the good whiskey, which will make everyone dizzy. This is a good option for when there are several angry visitors making their way to the stage, since this way you can turn their effects on their head so that your characters can recover some HP.


Cruel Bands Career Review - Power-Up

The money you earn can be used at the store to purchase new friends, who will visit during your live performance. At first, the friends you can unlock include the Charming One, the 30-Year-Old Punk, the Little Monk, the Gentleman – who is dressed up in a rabbit suit -, the Monkey, and the Floaty Bro. You can unlock more than 20 additional friends as you play the game, so be sure to visit the store every now and then to see if you can find someone who can help you.

Once you have completed a round, you will get to select which character gets which one of the available power-ups. These power-ups can end up being very valuable, so be sure to pay attention to their individual effects. You could pick a feather that will give you an extra life, a power-up that will make food and drinks taste better – which you might remember is Porky’s special bonus -, or just go for some cigarettes that will give you a small boost to your HP and energy, so that you can carry on and play for the rest of the gig.


For boss battles, things will be a bit different. You will have a brain cannon behind the band members. What’s the purpose of the brain cannon? Well, you can shoot the brain cannon when you activate a special skill, and what this will do is shoot a brain at the boss – hence its name. This brain cannon will deal damage to the boss, and you need to survive long enough to be able to drain all of boss’ hit points before any of your band members expires. Lose the boss battle, and you will have to restart from the first level.

Cruel Bands Career Review - 3

Cruel Bands Career is a “love it or hate it” type of game on Nintendo Switch that is certainly going to divide the opinion of gamers. It has an art style that makes it stand out on Nintendo’s console, easy to understand but hard to master gameplay mechanics, and a difficulty curve that can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but if you give it a chance, you’ll find a fun game that will allow you to learn from your mistakes as you give it your all during your next run. And your next run. And the one after that. Cruel Bands Career is out on Nintendo Switch with a budget $3.99 asking price, so it’s definitely worth a shot.

This Cruel Bands Career review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by indienova.

Review Overview

Challenging but fun "love it or hate it" type of game