Can I just start off this review by giving a shout out to SebaGames (The One Man Developer of this game) for having worked hard to develop this game for years on his own making what is now my all time favorite beat em up? This man deserves all praise for this game because it is truly a gem that YOU NEED TO PLAY so please go to Steam right now and download this game and prepare for a good time. That being said I also want to say that publishers need to pick up this game and bring it to consoles because this game is an infinite amount of replayability that needs to be experienced by more than just those of us who have computers to play it on. Inticreates, WayForward, Limited Run Games; I’m looking at any of you 3 to make this happen and soon!
On to the review…..
FightNRage takes the absolute best from SoR and Final Fight and takes it to new heights, the gameplay is a pure dream to play and it has a strong emphasis on combos and juggling your enemies. FightNRage has (initially) 3 playable characters: Gal, Norris, and Ricardo (my personal favorite) and each of these characters have very different playstyles, range, priority, speed, damage outputs, and combo styles that you should definitely go into the training room to learn more about the difference and what it is that makes each character so unique to play as.
The enemies aren’t stupid and will hang out outside of your reach, so Gal’s ability to rush in can help close distances to get you to that one enemy. Or, if you prefer to deal with your foes all at once and find yourself getting dogpiled too often, Ricardo’s spinning fists and dragon punch will get you the breathing room you need or maybe Norris may be a better bet, allowing you to pull all nearby foes in for one huge combo; the choices are yours to make as there’s no set method for how you deal with your enemies other than making sure you eliminate them all.
Each of the game’s foes has been crafted with a clear understanding of how players tackle beat ‘em ups which again I am amazed it given that this game was made by one man and programmed so amazingly well. Like to move up and down the screen to force enemies to catch up to you will often result in many of the enemies doing a little hop when they rise to get them out of range of your attack which is honestly amazing to see as the enemies will learn your play style and react accordingly. Design wise the enemies look quite vibrant and colorful and they take cues from various 80’s style action movies with Game of Death Bruce Lee looking and fighting mutant monkeys, dauper dressed Doberman doormen, and eccentric flies with boxing gloves that are all rendered in gorgeous pixel art, flowing with each attack they dishout or receive.
Many brawlers fall apart because, eventually, they get boring due to repeated use of the same handful of attacks on foes a few thousand times, however, in this game beating up foes never gets old and you can accredit that to Fight’N Rage using some bone-crunching pulse pounding audio design to make every punch, kick, throw, and explosion appealing. It just sounds and feels good to hit foes, adding that meaty smash to each hit that makes it just feel great. That, and just the right amount of screen shake, makes every punch satisfying to throw on a small scale.
Let me just gush at the OST for a second. ITS FRIGGIN’ AMAZING!! The music was also done by one man as well (Gonzalo Varela) and it gets me in the mood to want to smash heads and keep it moving. FightNRage doesn’t just stick to upbeat rocking soundtracks for the duration of the game, it switches up the OST based on the environment you’re in and also the cut-scene that you’re watching as well making sure the player has a vehicle for a variety of melodic moods to enjoy.
So lets talk about replayability and unlockables because when it comes to brawlers more often than not you’ll typically be one and done with them and never touch them again, however, in FnR there is a plethora of stuff to unlock, characters to play, endings to acquire (There are also several different hidden routes throughout the game that affect the stages you play and the ending, encouraging experimentation with the game as well.), and things to do. Players earn coins as they play, whether they win or not, and these can be used to make the enemies into playable characters for the main game, get new costumes for the main characters, or unlock new play modes and there is the highly useful Training Mode, which teaches you new moves).
And the story you might ask? Hmm well its very solid and deceptively very very dark with some scenes that honestly had me doing a double take in how dark and depressing that they can get given that the art style never alludes to how dark the story is. If you want to know how dark the storyline is then save the girl in the beginning of the game and keep her alive and at a certain point you will see what I mean OR simply let her die in the first level.
All in all FnR is a game that is now my favorite brawler and will always be played by me and honestly desereves to be metioned in the pantheon of any converstion mentioning great brawlers such as Streets of Rage, Final Fight, Double Dragon, River City Ransom, BattleToads and Sengoku 3. The game offers extremely satisfying action, a robust and deep moveset, a deceptively dark storyline, and easy to pick up yet challenging to master combot system and the best OST in fighting game since SoR2. This is a game that if you are a fan of the brawler/beatem-up genre then you NEED to have this game in your collection and theres simply no excuse not to play this. COP THIS GAME RIGHT NOW as it is KASANOVA APPROVED!! Shout out to Mr. Din and The Brawlers Avenue for introducing me to this game and thank you to SebaGames for allowing me to the opportunity to play this GEM of a game.