Game Review #438: Fight’N Rage (Nintendo Switch)
Category: Beat Em Up, Arcade, Multiplayer
Release Date: September 26, 2019
Buy Fight’N Rage from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Pumping quarters into huge colorful machines amidst the low-lit neon vibe of a local arcade, beat ‘em up games are an absolute legacy. A genre that carries fond memories of a simpler time, it was also very easy to make the games into quarter-eaters as well. There were a lot of games that were hard as anything or have very basic mechanics in order to make you add just one more quarter into the machine, and there are entire psychological studies on how arcade games make money. This game hearkens back to the glory days, but with many of the quality-of-life changes we have added to more modern games, and some of the tightest mechanics I've ever seen in a Beat Em Up game—and without the messy economics!
Fight’N Rage is a game that wears its inspiration proudly on its sleeve, with a slew of content and unlockables. Keeping this all glued together is a beautiful arcade mode, with 3 main characters who have tons of moves, directional inputs for special moves, cancels, and more. It's more like you are playing a fighting game, or something like Devil May Cry, where you can seamlessly link your moves together to absolutely batter your opposition. Let's get more into what makes Fight’N Rage something special!
More Content Than a Fistful of Quarters
This game opens up with a classic arcade machine setup screen, loading RAM and all. By default, this is hit with a CRT filter and border, with even minute details like the light reflections of the screen on the surrounding arcade cabinet, or the curvature of the screen. It's subtle but appreciated, and it helps continue to reinforce the atmosphere that Sebagamesdev was going for!
After this, you are met with the title screen; and BOY are there a TON of options available! I knew I was in for a game with a ton of content just off the first screen. At first, much of it is locked away, but as you play the meat and potatoes of this game, the arcade mode, you will get coins that you can use to unlock all kinds of things! From countless character skins to enemy units that are playable, and even different modes of the game, this game gives you plenty of incentive to play it a ton and master it. It also includes speed-running tools, if that is your jam!
Let's talk about what you will be doing the most, which is the fighting. Each of the 3 main characters have their normal combo, the ability to either dash forward or run by double-tapping forward or up/down to quickly move around the level, a jump, and your SP attack. Special attacks in most beat ‘em ups are attacks that give you some breathing room, usually at the cost of some health. Useful occasionally, but I generally ignore them. Here in Fight’N Rage, however, you get an SP gauge that quickly fills as you attack enemies or as time passes, and if you use an SP attack while it's full, it uses no health. Of course, you can use your health to do it as well if your gauge isn’t full, so it doesn't take that away from you, and creates the tactical decision to use the attack now, or hold out for the SP gauge. Differentiating it even more is that you also have different SP attacks to use for different situations!
All of these parts individually are enough to maybe beat the game on easy, but if you are trying to get serious with this, you will have to master weaving ALL of this together into this game's amazing combo system full of frame cancels and other things! Your basic combo can be canceled out of basically anywhere, or you can finish it with a forward or back throw by holding up or down, which will help you control the crowds as you fight. You can also do a dragon-punch-styled move by pressing down, up, followed by the attack to add even more variety to your combos. It's seriously impressive how much went into this game’s combat system, and I could go on and on, but really, the best way is going to be to just get your hands on it and kick butt!
Strong All Around
Each of the characters and enemies are highly identifiable, colorful, and look great on the screen. This game really does a great job emulating the visual style of an old arcade beat 'em up, with a nice coat of paint on it. The main 3 characters all have their own differences in the arcade mode’s story, which is also influenced by the decisions you make, making the arcade mode super fun to play through multiple times as you discover new paths and bosses.
Win or lose, you will earn coins to unlock more content, so this game is really built to be played again and again! The awesome music is done by one dude, and it has SO much energy! It just sounds great amidst the excellent sound design of smacks and various hits, punches, and kicks! It’s a beat ‘em up, so the story is not too crazy, but hey, humans revolting against their mutated overlords is a tried and true one!
I seriously enjoyed this title… like, I can’t stress how much fun I had this with one! I can’t remember the last time a beat ‘em up REALLY impressed me. Maybe the Scott Pilgrim game—and this is absolutely in that tier of awesomeness! The retro visuals, awesome music, and tight gameplay all really come together in a pleasing and cohesive way, and deliver an awesome game that is fully deserving of your 20 bucks! Grab this game, some friends, and maybe a few beers, and have a good ole multiplayer night! I’d love to actually play this on an arcade stick, honestly. I might get one just for this. I give Fight’N Rage a 9/10!
Buy Fight’N Rage from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
*Review code was provided for review purposes.