Are you ready for some retro looking beat ‘em up action? Well, at risk of minor spoilers, you may want to look in a different place, as while Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix promises a lot, the question is whether the latest game from NuChallenger and Hurakan Works is a contender, or just another wannabe.
Described as an “innovative dark comedy brawling action tactics game”, which is not a sentence I’ve ever typed before, let’s hit the mean streets and see what is occurring, eh?
Let’s start off the review in traditional style by considering the story of this game. It appears that the U.S. President, who goes by the name of Blake Orama, has been kidnapped by Dragon Ninja Terrorists. Yes, complete with capital letters, so you know they are serious! At the same time, the Mayor of Beatdown City has shut down the whole police force. So, what else is the police chief to do but call his daughter and her two friends to take on the task of rescuing the president, eh? Well, as it turns out, he isn’t going to do anything but this, and so we are called into action to see what we can do against some seemingly impossible odds.
Presentation-wise and Treachery in Beatdown City is nothing but another retro styled game. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and there are some crackingly good retro styled, simple looking games out there – games such as Vampire Survivors for instance. But is it too much to ask that every now and then we get a game that pushes what an Xbox can do? I know we’ve been spoiled recently with Forza Motorsport and Starfield, but there certainly seems to be some serious focus on the ‘retro’ way of life in recent times.
Rant over and what we have here is pretty much NES level, with blocky 8-bit style graphics wandering around the screen. For a beat ‘em up, I’m surely not the only one who thinks that the actual moves and action should be clearly displayed, not hidden somewhere in a messy pile of pixels? The backgrounds are very simple, the characters look ridiculous, and the map screen feels like an early Mario game; just without the charm. So far, not impressed.
The music is nice, however, and while the dialogue is occasionally funny, there is far too much of it and it occurs far too frequently. For every minute spent “fighting”, there must be a good thirty seconds of waffling to endure. It does get really old after a while. All in all, Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is not off to a good start.
Perhaps the gameplay can change that up? Particularly as there is a distinct divide between the two halves of the game. First off, we have the map screen, which allows you to move around the city, having various rucks and meeting NPCs along the way. Talking to people can occasionally be worth your time, as they can give you health recovery items to use in the fighting screen. Other than that, this is a basic way of navigating to the next fight on the list.
When you finally do get to fight – assuming that you can sit through the pre-battle chatter without succumbing to the urge to turn off the telly and walk away – we actually do get to find a glimmer of originality. You see, Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix isn’t a typical beat ‘em up game, as it also wants to be a turn based RPG at the same time.
Let me explain. When a fight begins, we have a bar at the top of the screen that needs to fill in order for us to make any actions. We also have a number of FP (fight points, I assume) that must be of a sufficient level in order for us to pull off any moves. As an example, using Lisa, one of the characters we can play (Brad and Bruce are the others), as it comes to the time to attack, we have to move next to the enemy, and then press X. This opens up a menu allowing the opportunity to choose up to a maximum of three moves. Each of these has a cost in FP to be paid in order to pull it off, and so we choose our moves, then press X again to unleash the combo. We can also press the A button to action a quick attack if we wish.
Now, obviously, we don’t have the action all our own way and the enemy can also attack. From there is the chance to brace for the attack, which doesn’t have an FP cost, or the pulling off of a block, which does cost FP but may reduce the damage we take. Sounds complicated? Well, it’s really not, and the vast majority of the time we will be wandering aimlessly around the screen, waiting bars to fill, or the FP to accumulate to a sufficient degree to allow us to attack. And yes, it is as dull as it sounds. Oh, and if we are getting a kicking, there are healing items we can use to give ourselves a bit of a boost.
As the characters go through fights, they suddenly “remember” attacks that they had forgotten. This adds in special attacks as FP levels raise. Other than this, there really isn’t a lot going on in Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix that is worth reporting on – pull off an attack, run away a bit until things recharge, then attack again until one of you falls over.
There is a germ of a good idea buried here, but it is buried under a pile of poor game design and rubbish graphics. Honestly, the work of digging it out seems like too much hassle. You’ll need to be able to look past the poor presentation in hope of finding a modicum of fun here, but even then, the overall pacing of the fights feels way too slow. As a result the whole game suffers.
Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is not one of the better fighting games out there, and with a price tag of £24.99, it’s hard to even recommend it as a little cheap fun. All in all, you’ll be best off looking elsewhere.