by April 24, 2020 @ 4:06 pm
Reviewed on PC
At first glance, Treachery in Beatdown City looks like a straight-up beat ‘em up. While it does feature some of that classic style of gameplay, the game also incorporates a really cool menu-based RPG battle system. The end result is a game that blends Double Dragon with Final Fantasy and even mixes in some wrestling moves. It’s a combination that works really well, and I found myself completely enamored with the experience from beginning to end. The writing, while funny, can drag on, but ultimately there’s a winning formula here that’s highly addictive and enjoyable.
A World of Degenerate Techies and Bikers… and Biker Techies
President Blake Orama has been kidnapped, and just like in real life, it’s going to take a trio of makeshift heroes to save him. The cast of Treachery in Beatdown City is made up of oddball protagonists and villains. These characters are quirky and fun, and they have distinct personalities.
Every character has something to say, and you’ll see quite a few text-based dialogue sequences before a lot of your battles. The stuff the characters say is usually comical, poking fun at tech and app culture, as well as making some edgy jokes that manage to successfully hit the mark. Even then, fter a while, it can definitely drag on for a bit. There were moments, especially after hitting the halfway point, where I just wanted to enjoy the game’s battles, but I had to sit through lengthy back-and-forth banter between the characters.
On the plus side, there are some genuinely funny moments. Treachery in Beatdown City features a lot — a lot — of professional wrestling parodies. These might go over some folks’ heads if they’re not familiar with the world of rasslin’, but for those who are, the references are absolute gold.
Arcade RPG Action
The battle system in Treachery in Beatdown City uses action menus and cooldown meters to let you know when and how you can attack. While in a battle, you can can move around a single-screen area freely. This allows you to back up if you need to heal up or let your action meter refill. When facing multiple enemies, you’ll move toward them until you’re within reach to deal out a good clobbering.
When attacking, you need to pay attention to both your fight points and your action meter. Your moves cost a varying amount of fight points, which refill over time during battles. Your action meter consists of three bars, allowing for three actions at a time if you have enough fight points. Some actions, such as eating a chicken sandwich to regain health, don’t use fight points, but they will deplete a bar of your action meter.
When you’ve got a full action meter and fight points, you’ll be able to bring the hurt to your foes by combining strikes and grapple attacks for big damage. Each of the game’s three protagonists has unique moves including three-strike attacks, MMA-styled high kicks, wrestling-themed brainbusters, and more. Some enemies are resilient to certain types of moves, while others need to be weakened before you can dish out the more flashy attacks. It’s a system that works really well and requires you to think before you act.
Unfortunately, while Treachery in Beatdown City teaches which attacks work best against specific characters, it does so in an info dump-y way at the start of the adventure. So while you’re still learning the intricacies of combat, you also have to memorize which attack combos are effective against which characters. Thankfully, even if you don’t quite grasp what the game teaches you early on, you’ll still be able to figure out techniques that work for you.
You can bring up the action menu while in a battle. If you’re in close proximity of an enemy, you’ll be able to select your attacks if you’re the aggressor or pick defensive strategies if the baddies are attacking. When you don’t have a menu pulled up, you can press the attack button to dish out a few punches in real-time, though these will deplete your action menu. These menu-less punches are a great way to get a few hits in before going for a powerslam or headbutt grapple attack.
When not in battle, you navigate around a Super Mario Bros. 3-like overworld map. Here you’ll find NPCs with helpful hints for upcoming bosses, dumpsters with health items, and save points.
A Winning Combination
Treachery in Beatdown City has the look and feel of an old school beat ‘em up. The pixel-rich visuals are bright and colorful, and they have a real NES-like appeal to them. Likewise, the retro chiptune soundtrack is catchy and sounds like something you’d hear in a Double Dragon-inspired arcade brawler.
It’ll take you about five hours to get through Treachery in Beatdown City, which consists of two chapters — chapter zero and chapter one. There’s a planned chapter two “coming soon,” and I personally can’t wait to return to this world because the time I spent there was so much fun.
The game can get a bit chatty, but the hybrid RPG/beat ‘em up gameplay of Treachery in Beatdown City works incredibly well. It’s fun and strategic, and it’s pretty tough without feeling unfair or frustrating. It’s definitely some of the most fun I’ve had with a video game this year. If you’re looking for a spin on the standard brawler formula, Treachery in Beatdown City makes for a highly entertaining experience.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
Follow this author on Twitter.