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Review – Fight'N Rage

Fight’N Rage – available now on Nintendo Switch (version reviewed using code provided by the publisher), PC, and Xbox One – is what the development team call ‘brand new old-school’ – a description that seems odd but is entirely accurate.
The side-scrolling beat-em-up brings in influences from classics from the early- to-mid 90’s, everything from Streets of Rage and Final Fight to Double Dragon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and is just a ton of fun to play in same-screen co-op.
The story is a pretty simple one that seems like it was made with a random cliché generator: post-apocalyptic world plus mutants plus survivors fighting back plus big boss fights. Done. Even the characters are basically riffs off heroes from older games, with a quick-hitting but silent ninja, a martial arts master female character named Gal, and the strong but slow wrestler who also happens to be a mutant bull that’s switched sides.
Branching storyline points do help with the replay value, but honestly if you come into a game like this for the story, you’re probably doing something wrong with your life. This is all about the gameplay, and that’s where Fight’N Rage delivers. Each character has a great selection of moves and special moves, plus you can pick up and use weapons, and there’s a parry system that players will need to pay attention to if they want to dominate the game.
The special attack system which, like other games, drains your special meter until it’s empty and then costs you hitpoints to use is tweaked a bit here. Special attacks not only do room-clearing damage sweeps, they also allow you to interrupt enemy combos or extend your own. So while low-skill players can button mash their way through Fight’N Rage, advanced players are going to have an entirely different experience that’s a lot more heavy on combos and enemy attack denial.
Playing on the Switch with my kids was a blast. In a great move for gamers who play on the road, you can each take a joycon controller and, holding it sideways, play while in portable mode without needing a separate controller. My 7 year old was able to hold her own for the most part, and the game allows you to jump back in if you’re defeated so we were able to take down the whole game in co-op.
What I liked:

  • multiple endings
  • good combo-driven combat from simple three-button controls
  • tons of unlockables
  • incredibly fun in co-op with the kids
  • great 16-bit…ish graphics

What I didn’t like:

  • no online co-op play
  • could use a tutorial to ease the learning curve