Fight’N Rage Review – Arcade Brawler Nostalgia

Classic 2D arcade brawlers were a huge part of the gaming scene in the 1990s, but their influence and nostalgic memories are still present today in the form of games like Fight’N Rage. Inspired by genre classic such as Final Fight and Streets of Rage, the action you get in Fight’N Rage is the same kind of mindless beat downs and synthesized music you’d expect from a game of that era, only with a few modern touches that accentuate all of the best parts. Though not a long game like the classics that influenced it, Fight’N Rage focuses on making things short and sweet. A variety of playable characters, interesting and rewarding unlockables, as well as local cooperative and competitive multiplayer make an old approach to arcade gaming feel both fresh and fun again.

The story of Fight’N Rage is as silly and straight forward as one might expect from a brawler. It’s not focused on showing complex relationships or anything beyond the bare minimum. There’s a bad guy causing havoc and messing with everyone, so he needs to be stopped… with your fists! You’re here for the fighting and the crazy beat downs, of which there’s plenty to go around. The three main characters you can choose to play with include Gal, Ricardo, and F. Norris; all of which have over-the-top designs and exaggerated characteristics that are just as wild as everything around them. The dialogue between them and the enemies you encounter can be occasionally silly, but nothing too bad as to feel out of place from everything else.

Moving around and punching enemies feels responsive and fluid. The controls are simple, but allow you to do a variety of actions while in combat. Powered up attacks mimic the kind of special moves you’d see from games like Final Fight or Streets of Rage, where you’ll expend a little health in exchange for a super damaging attack, however they are tied to a power meter that builds up as you fight enemies around you.

This gives you options to either be patient with big attacks for when you need them or try to take down enemies quickly for a small price. But if you get too loose with this you’ll do more harm than good. This becomes important when in multiplayer games with up to three people. Coordinating your big attacks against groups of enemies or bosses is a smart way to get around the tougher sections of the game.

Which brings up an important part of Fight’N Rage, like it’s inspirations this game was meant to be played with other people. Jumping into a session with two other friends is a vastly different and more entertaining experience than going about it alone. Stages are much tougher when you’re solo and fighting legions of enemies, as opposed to having two other allies with you.

The challenge is still there regardless of how you play, but you’ll definitely see and feel the difference between the two. The biggest disappointment about this however is how Fight’N Rage doesn’t have online co-op, which would greatly increase its replayablility. It would’ve been great to create rooms and invite some of your online friends to play through the game as a team, especially when you might not have others nearby for any local games.

The one thing that Fight’N Rage does better than some of the classics it borrows from is how it approaches unlockable content. There’s a ton of things to discover and unlock here, especially for modes outside of the main game. Playing allows you to gather coins to spend in a shop, where you can unlock a variety of bonus content big and small. There’s multiple characters to play as, alternate outfits, extra game modes, concept art, and much more.

Some of the items are a bit on the expensive side and will require you to play a good amount of the game before purchasing them, but the amount of new items you can get is very alluring. Going through the game at least once will allow you to purchase the bulk of what’s in there, but playing co-op or replaying alone will help you get everything. For some this might get very repetitive, an issue the genre has always had to deal with. But if you already are enjoying the action in Fight’N Rage as is, then it shouldn’t be a huge problem.

Fight’N Rage is nostalgic fun and modern sensibilities blended together nicely. There’s a fun and simple game to jump into with a lot of goodies to discover and beat downs to deliver. Its presentation is colorful and loud, with a lot of great nods to the classics that came before it. Anybody that either spent a lot of time in the arcades or played hours of Final Fight and Streets of Rage growing up will really enjoy everything here.

This review is based on a digital review code of Fight’N Rage for the Nintendo Switch, provided by Seba Games and BlitWorks.

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