[Review] Fight’N Rage – Nintendo Switch

Written by Schwetty
  • Developer: sebagamesdev
  • Publisher: BlitWorks
  • Release Date: 26/09/2019
  • Price: $19.99/ £17.99
  • Review code provided by BlitWorks

Shellshocked!

Growing up in the early 90’s, I was exposed to quite a large number of Beat’em Up and Brawler games. Titles like Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, Final Fight and Turtles in Time were some of my favorite games to play. By the start of the 2000s, the genre had mostly disappeared, with 3D action games and first-person shooters becoming the new king of the console. Every now and then, we will see a resurgence of the genre with hits like the amazing Scott Pilgrim game or the niche brawler RPG Code of Princess. Within the last year or so, we have seen quite a revival as the Switch is now home to many new beat’em ups, including Fight’N Rage from sebagamesdev. Did this title live up to the classics it references, or is it doomed to obscurity, GO STRAIGHT to see!

Fight’N Rage was originally developed by a small team consisting of Sebastián García (Game Development) and Gonzalo Varela (Sound Composer) for PC. It was then ported to the Switch with the help of BlitWorks, but just knowing a single person worked on the game shows it is a labor of love. It comes through in the design as this game is a love letter to the “golden age” of brawlers. There were so many different nods that I eventually lost count. Everything from characters called “T.Bison” and the “Battle-Turtles” down to the way characters moved and interacted.

While it was a nostalgia induced thrill ride, the story feels a bit more unique and at times dark and foreboding. The world is in turmoil as the mutant revolution is occurring. Humans are being captured and slaughtered and only a small band of freedom fighters are trying to prove that humans and mutants can coexist. On a mission to liberate the captives, a bomb goes off and sends the mission spiraling out of control. Now the heroes must decide if they want to flee and regroup or dive straight into the fire. This is where your tale truly begins.

Elevator Up

Fight’N Rage plays like your standard beat’em up. You have an attack button, a jump button and a special attack button. Your regular attack can lead to a 3-4 hit combo and your special attack can be used at any time to clear enemies out. The catch is that if your special meter isn’t full, it will drain your health. The meter does recharge about a small period, but there is a risk system in place. Do you use this move to stop an enemy from doing massive damage and lose health, or risk their move doing more damage?

Characters also have special input attacks that can be triggered by doing “Down, Up, Attack” and when combined with the regular attacks and specials, can unleash a devastating combo. Three characters are available to play, and each have different motivations for reaching “The Boss”. My personal favorite was Ricardo, a massive, slow, mutant bull freedom fighter. His slow speed was balanced out by his herculean strength.

Once you made your choice, the game begins, and you will journey for 7-10 levels of old school arcade action. Depending on how you play the game and the choices made, they will ultimately affect the levels seen and what ending you reach. There are eight different endings, and those endings differ slightly based on which character is used and the amount of characters being used. Since this game features up to 3 player co-op (sadly no online play), you have a total of 56 different ending combinations. Thankfully upon completing the game, an ending chart is available to track which have been seen and which haven’t.

If having 56 different endings wasn’t enough content, there are many different modes that can be unlocked using the games currency. These coins are accrued when you complete arcade mode or when you lose. You get more for finishing arcade, but still getting coins for losing is better than nothing. Modes like score attack, time attack, practice and survival can be unlocked from the shop, along with other extra like characters, costumes, easy mode, and the ability to play with CPU allies.

One odd point I noticed with this game involves the continue system. The game offers unlimited continues, but it will not start you back where you died, but back at the last checkpoint. This can be frustrating for higher difficulties as some levels feature long stretches without checkpoints which can bring the fun down.

Winners Don’t Use Drugs

When you first turn this game on, you can see the love and attention to detail. The edges of the screen have a glare on them, reminiscent of older CRT arcade monitors. Then we see a RAM test screen that is shown when arcade games would be loaded up. These little details brought an instant grin to my face. Now if you are not a fan of the CRT style display, it can be edited at any time for a cleaner visual style.

The character designs feel 100% inspired by the 90s, from the big beautiful character sprites and the nods to all things 1990. There are ninjas, biker mice (possibly from mars), mutant turtles, and girls with whips. The amount of characters designed by a one-man team is pretty impressive. But, like all brawlers, characters are recolored and used to make new characters. Its something that every game in the genre does and thankfully there are enough different models to make it never feel stale.

The music is equally 90s with its raging guitar riffs and high energy synth tunes. There are times when the music is lost in the craziness of the game, and other times when the music takes center stage, if only for a brief moment. One such moment involves the characters riding a raft through a system of aqueducts. There is not action on the screen other than the slow motions of entering the tunnels, and then a chilling piano synth plays, and it gives a feel of mystery.  

Street Chicken

In my time spent with Fight’N Rage, I played in both docked and handheld modes with zero issues. Character visibility can be better when playing with multiple players in TV mode. In handheld mode, it can be very easy to get lost in the many different sprites on screen at the same time. I found myself preferring TV mode for that reason, just to see the big beautiful designs and to play with CPU partners without getting lost on the smaller screen.

Final Thoughts

Fight’N Rage does not reinvent the wheel when it comes to brawlers, but it didn’t set out to. It is a game that was clearly developed by the fans, for the fans. It is perfect for anyone who has fond memories of the arcade days or just someone who wants to spend 30 mins to an hour bashing goons. If you are someone that missed out on the golden era of beat’em ups, who knows; this could be the title that pulls you in and makes you a lifelong fan.

Pros

  • Easy Controls
  • Tons of Unlockables
  • Great Sprite Work

Cons

  • No Online Play
  • Odd Continue System

Verdict

Fight’N Rage is a fantastic homage to the golden age of beat’em ups with more content than any game in the genre has a right to have!

4.5/5

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