[Review] Double Dragon Neon – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: WayForward Technologies
  • Publisher: Majesco Entertainment
  • Release Date: 21/12/2020
  • Price: £11.09 / $14.99
  • Review code provided by Majesco Entertainment

Introducing: Double Dragon Neon Switch Review

When Double Dragon Neon first released, I was not excited. At the time, I was in college and really despised the 80’s aesthetic, and most things 80’s in general. I was young and dumb and have since learned to appreciate many aspects of this era. With that being said, I was prepared to launch into the neon filled world of Double Dragon! Was it worth learning to love the 80’s and how many more times will I say 80’s in this review? Your guess is as good as mine!

Fists of Fury

Double Dragon Neon is a reimagining of the Arcade/NES original, with some extra flair and nonsense added in for good measure. It still starts out with Marion being abducted by gang members, but it quickly ends up in space! Taking cues from many action stars, Neon shows that it isn’t afraid to be outrageous and have a good time. It won’t win any awards for storytelling, but I loved just how ridiculously gamey it was.

Totally Radical

Double Dragon Neon is a side-scrolling beat-em up that tries to spice the formula with a few additions. When it originally released in 2012, belt scrollers were a dead breed. Any new addition was great. Neon decided to add a dodge button, customizable fighting styles, and super moves. The biggest addition comes in the tape system. When defeating enemies, they will sometimes drop money or tapes. These tapes are split between styles and moves. Collecting multiples will essentially level up abilities, up to 10.

It doesn’t stop there! You can use other collectibles to further upgrade them through the Tapesmith, a shop that shows up in select stages. Tapes will become very vital, as it can completely change how you play Neon. Want to focus on attacking or defense or special moves? There is a style for each! The game even recommends having a sweet mixtape for trying the higher difficulties. A new one is unlocked upon clearing the game, and it sure does ramp up drastically.

The campaign features 10 levels. Once you complete one, you can freely go back to grind out money, tapes, or for practice. Every time you begin a level, you have two lives, which can seem crazy on certain stages. Thankfully, extra lives can be scattered throughout the level in barrels or trash cans. Also, keep a look out for the bonus worms, as striking them will reward you with plentiful health, lives, tapes, etc. Be sure to bring a friend along too. Double Dragon is built for co-op!

Sunglasses at Night

I initially hated the art style of this title. It looked half-hearted and cheap. Even when it came out on the Xbox 360, I disliked it. Nothing has really changed except my attitude for it. It is still not the greatest, but I have grown to appreciate it a bit more. The cartoon-y zaniness of the game adds to the charm of the art. The illustrations for the game were amazing. If we could have had the game look fully like them, in the same vein as SOR4, then it would have been a different story. The music on the other hand is top-tier ear love. The 80’s influenced remakes of classic Double Dragon songs made me pop! The new songs with lyrics were even better! Mango Tango happens to be my favorite and it was love at first listen.

Righteous!

During my experience with Double Dragon Neon, the game performed remarkably well in both docked and handheld. I ended up preferring it in handheld mode, but it was equally fun playing it in docked. If you have one available, use an arcade stick for the true throwback experience. Games like Neon are made for the sticks! No bugs, errors or glitches were encountered either! Hats off to Wayforward!

Final Thoughts

Double Dragon Neon shattered my expectations completely. I expected a game that would be passable, fun, and brainless. Instead, Wayforward delivered an intensely strategic beat-em up with so much style! The music alone made me want to keep playing immediately upon finishing, and the gameplay loop made it worth it. I’m still not sold on the art, but at $15, I’m not going to argue with the value this game brings!

Pros

  • The Music!
  • Tapes
  • Solid Gameplay

Cons

  • Art Style

Verdict
Double Dragon Neon is a love letter to fans of the series and beat-em up fans in general. You owe it to yourself to experience this gem!

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