Before I begin I was provided a copy of the game in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid review. If you would prefer to see a video review, then you can check it out below.
Everyone knows that things come in threes right? This could be a bad thing for me. After all, I recently received my copy of the Street Fighting game Street Masters, and a copy of Beatdown. This likely means that I will wind up in a street fight in the coming weeks…so enjoy this, perhaps my last, review!
I was asked to look at this game from the aspect of a solo player, not multiplayer, nor by playing multiple characters at once. This does mean that the experience might be different with more characters, and while I recognize that I do not have any experience with that aspect of the game, so I will not be discussing it.
Beatdown is a pure card based street fighting game. You will select a character, and a villain, and then battle through three stages using dice, and cards to wail on lackies and eventually the boss. The core of the game is the combo card system. Briefly, what this is is the stacking of cards that do increasing amounts of damage to the enemies. As you add cards, however, you must roll a ten sided die to see if you leave yourself open to a counterattack. Each card has a combo rating on it, and you add the numbers up and try to roll a d10 to equal or surpass the number. If you do, your combo goes off without a hitch, if you do not you take a counter attack, though your attack still goes off.
After each stage you have the opportunity to purchase gear to protect you and “combo finishers” which will upgrade your attacks without making you roll the combo die. Additionally you are able to heal yourself some of the damage you have taken. Both of these are done by cashing in the “trophies” of enemies you have defeated, rather than requiring the collection of coins or the like.
So what do I think?
I like the mechanics of the game. The combo system is a great combo (see what I did there) of strategy, and push your luck. It is really rewarding to see your combo grow to massive lengths, and have to make the choice to continue the combo knowing that you could take a massive hit if you biff your die roll. It really gives you the feeling of trying to get the timing on the controller perfect in an old school fighting video game.
I also think the game perfectly captures its theme. Everything about it feels like those old school games, down to the slightly off center characters and villains, the art, and the loot. Speaking of the characters and villains there is a good variety of each to face off against and to choose from.
I will start off with the art. I think it does the job, it communicates the theme, however, it is not art that I am stunned by. The second thing that I want to mention is that I find the game very hard. This is not a bad thing per se, but it is something that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I have found that I regularly get my butt kicked, often before I even get to the final stage. Some of this is because I am not particularly lucky, and some is because I tend to press my luck too far regularly, but I do think it is a very challenging game.
My only quibble with the game is in the set up of each round. The bulk of the lackies that you face are drawn from a common pool, and this can greatly vary the challenge of each round. You might get lucky and have a cake walk in the first round, or you might get obliterated. I wish that each villain had their own set of lackies. This is not a huge complaint, but I do find it harms the game a little bit thematically, as well as sometimes making it really hard.
Bringing it all together
Beatdown is a strong thematic card game that hearkens back to games like Double Dragon. The game has a good variety of characters and villains and, especially a very cool combo combat system. The art is solid, but does not particularly standout from other games. The game is very hard, but satisfying, and it would be nice if the villains had less random lackie draws.
Fights should be quick, not long like this article
* Fun fighting game that hits the mark thematically
* Solid art
* Cool, unique push your luck, card play combat mechanic
* Random enemy draw does harm the theme slightly
* Extremely challenging game