The story is based around two maverick cops in Nikki Rage and Rik Justice hence the games name although now a third character has been added named Ash. This was to bolster the roster of cops you can choose and makes this package more rounded. The city is being held ransom by a mysterious crime lord and its up to you to fight your way through various stages to take out the criminal vermin. The story here is quite weak but then again these types of games never really rely to heavily on story so can’t criticise it too much.
The track that greets you at the beginning screen is a decent rock tune and then in game, the tracks are a mixture of electronic synth tunes which are reminiscent of some of the cop shows in the 90s. Sounds effects consist of punches sounding like when a boxer exhales when releasing a punch. When you hit enemies they let out painful groans. Boss battle music is usually a little more dramatic. It’s all very 90s arcade so is a cool throwback which I am sure most will enjoy.
Visuals and Performance
The game’s style uses a pre-rendered look which has come some way since the early Killer Instinct game for example. I don’t think it will be to everyone’s taste but to me, they were perfectly fine. There could have been more effects added, maybe some blood that you could turn on in the options. Some of the animations are a little rough around the edges but this is an indie game after all for £10 so we can forgive the game that. I personally like the style and to me was just part of its charm. The game is smooth enough and performance was good with no slowdown that I could see either in handheld or docked mode.
This is your typical arcade beat em up. Choose your cop and then take out all the foes by kicking, punching, using weapons and mowing them down with vehicles which are controllable from time to time. Each cop has a different fighting style which makes them all different enough from one another. My favourite was Rik, not too slow but not to fast and strong with good technique to get the job done. His dash was excellent to get those high combos. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses of course and it’s up to you to find one which suits your style.
Controls are super simple to get used too which makes playing the game from the start a joy. You can punch, kick, hold and throw or hold and punch, jump kick and of course use weapons like knives, baseball bats, or anything else you can get hold of. If you get in big trouble you can pull off a special by holding y and x down at the same time at the expense of some health. Be aware the enemies can also use these items making for some intense fights.
Using the D-pad or analogue if you double tap left or right will activate the dash move and this is an essential move to keep combos and to also repel things being thrown at you. You are also presented with the good cop bad cop decisions. You can either arrest foes with handcuffs or kill them all and when completing the game you will be presented with alternate endings dependent on which way you choose to go.
There are levels to traverse through each culminating with a boss to defeat at the end which is for the most part fun to beat. This is your classic 2D brawler in every way and if you are as old as I am then you will remember games such as Final Fight from Capcom. An absolute classic. This reminds me a lot of Streets of Rage also but there are other games of that era that of course stand out. The thing which instantly draws me to games like this is their pick up and play nature. You’re able to get straight into them without the need for tutorials. Pick up the pad, test out the buttons to see what does what and your good to go. There are nice little hints along the way letting you know that you can arrest criminals when they are stunned, or that you can pick up items to throw but that’s as far as it goes. It looks like the game took all the best bits of some of these great brawlers of the past and put them into this.
The wonderful thing about this game is it’s just perfect for that Co-op action. Share a Joycon with a friend and your good to go anywhere and anytime. It’s a drop in and drop out system which is so convenient, I just don’t get why more developers don’t utilise it as there is no messing around to get into a game. Its a really good experience playing with a friend but I also really enjoyed playing solo for one massive reason. Yes, those online leaderboards.
I have always said if you make an arcade game. There is one thing you can do as a developer to make it replayable more than anything else and that’s to implement online leaderboards. I cannot tell you how fired up it gets me to compete with my fellow Man or Woman to top those leaderboards. To give you an example, the online leaderboards were working when reviewers and many of my colleagues had the game early. As each posted their online scores, we partook in a lot of banter through social media about who was the best. Even to the point where Team 17s own man had to put in a respectable score. In the end, yours truly was top of the pile for a while but it didn’t last. My Nemesis Nindie Spotlight aka Justin Nation took the top spot on a number of levels. My point is and I know I digress, online leaderboards here are implemented very well, you get to post your score on each level and be proud when it sits there near the top. When someone topples you though you go back seeking out improvement and that’s what it’s all about for me on arcade games. I just love the competition but of course, the game has to be fun and luckily this is.
The scoring system is nice and simple, keep your combinations going for as long as possible to rack up some huge multipliers and using the dash to knock your foes over and kicking them while they down help keep the roll going. It’s super fun getting high scores in this game and very addictive.
There are quite a few challenges through each level that if you accomplish will be rewarded with bonus points. These range from scoring over a certain amount of points, hitting two thugs at the same time with a baseball bat or beating a boss within a certain time. This makes for some great fun and adds replayability to the game.
My main complaint is the number of recycled enemies that show up later in the game. Once you get past level 5 many of the enemies are recycled and to make the game difficult they are all thrown in together at the same time against you. The game is also very tough, I found it ok but many may find this on the difficult side even on Normal mode. You will need to persevere to get the rewards. It does also become repetitive after a while but then that’s something that can be levelled at this genre as a whole so is no real surprise. For me, it is always tempered against having a game which is easy to pick up and play for 5 minutes to try and get a high score.
The game is $13,49 or £9,99 in the UK and I think this game represents great value, not as good as say Streets of Red which had a crazy low price but this is still good in my opinion. If you like side-scrolling brawlers then this is easy to recommend at its current price. For a tenner this is can be a nice impulse buy but you will get a game that will give you a good hour or so to complete and also offers a survival mode. Those challenges keep you coming back for more and you will be putting a few more hours in to get those high scores on the leaderboards if you are a competitive person.
Easy to pick up and play
Nice contrast in fighting styles
Can get repetitive