“HEY! Buy my CD, only $5”. If you are a New Yorker then at some point you have encountered an up & coming rapper who is aggressively pushing his or her CD to all bystanders. Treachery in Beatdown City recreates this and many other classic NYC street interactions in a fun 8-bit turn-based RPG style beat’em up.
The story of Treachery in Beatdown City combines comical yet spot-on parody of a former real-world NYC mayor named “Mike Moneybags” with classic villain behavior. The President, Blake Orama has been kidnapped by ninja dragon terrorists. While Mayor Moneybags is giving his televised speech regarding the kidnapping he also mentions that he has suspended the city’s police force. Lisa, Brad, and Bruce decide to take matters into their own hands to find and rescue the president.
Don’t be fooled by the simplistic art design. Treachery in Beatdown City offers a deep, well thought out gameplay mechanic that will keep players engaged for the long haul. All three playable characters offer a unique fight style with different attributes that will change over time. Each character has an HP count, FP (fight points) and action bar slots. When you first start playing each enemy encounter will reveal a description of that enemy’s fight style, strengths, and weaknesses.
For example, some enemies may move fast and dish out quick-strike attacks but are vulnerable to grappling attacks. As you progress and re-encounter the same enemy(s) the description prompt will not appear, so do your best to remember this info so you are able to select the appropriate character to counterbalance the fight. On that note, the overall controls are simple to remember. “X” opens the menu, “A” select/use, talk to NPCs, “B” cancel / close menu, L or R to switch characters and D / thumbstick to move.
The combat mechanics are as follows. Walk up to the enemy and press “X” to begin the fight. Then, a menu will appear showing your available moves and the amount of FP needed to perform it. Once your turn is complete, you can move freely which will slowly replenish your FP. The enemy will take his or her turn and you will have the option to brace, block or counter. Block will cost some FP and counter will cost one action bar. Bracing takes some HP so put on your RPG hat and start doing the math on which is the better trade-off. Early on, you may just want to brace and take the hit so you can build up your FP to perform some combos. The counter option is a 50/50 chance of working. There are a number of variables such as the enemy’s, current HP, strength, weaknesses and your character’s attributes which determine the success rate. If you are able to knock down your opponent you will obtain boost FP.
As you progress, one vs one fights will turn into two and three enemies. Your character’s stats will also increase which will allow you to attack multiple times during one turn along with learning or as the game says “recalling: new moves. The key to successfully winning these multi enemy battles is to collect as many items as possible while in map view. Some will replenish HP, FP, and HP. To keep with the fun storytelling, your save spots are jerk chicken trucks, another clever inside nod to fellow New York players. These items can also be found in dumpsters, mailboxes and snack machines. Early on, each battle will have one item before the mentioned item to break and obtain some HP. However, as you progress to different parts of the city these become rare finds and the game does a fun job explaining why.
Treachery in Beatdown City offers a top-down view with a somewhat linear design. At times, you will see an alternate path which will usually take you to a dumpster guarded by an enemy(s) battle. Once a battle is triggered, the game zooms in and will give you flashbacks of Double Dragon. When the combat begins, the camera will zoom in to show the action up close. This is a nice touch, especially when you start to unlock new moves such has Brad’s “Dusty elbow or bodyslam. There are some situations in which the story will auto-select a character for you to use but for the most part, you can stick with your preferred character. As a pro wrestling fan, I stuck with Brad for the majority of my playthrough. It’s worth mentioning that the character/enemy dialog interaction does not change based on the character you are using so don’t feel like you’re missing out on a different character response.
Personally, the stand out feature for me is the story. As a New Yorker, I get a kick out of all these jokes about Mike Moneybags trying to speak Spanish and the sad fact that almost all of the crazy dialogue that the 3 characters have with enemies are some that I’ve personally encountered in real life. You will come across the same enemies multiple times but the character dialogue will be different every time and occasionally these exchanges will poke fun at our real-world social structure. The colorful 8-bit art design, unique gameplay mechanics and entertaining storyline make Treachery in Beatdown City a great game to add to your Nintendo Switch game collection.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Treachery in Beatdown City for the Nintendo Switch provided by Nuchallenger.