Designed as a throwback to the best arcade brawlers of the 90s, Fight’N Rage is easily one of the best brawlers I’ve played. Not only is the game dripping with wonderful pixel art personality, the deep combat system and wealth of unlockables will keep the controller in your hand for hours.
Taking place in the far future, it is up to three heroes to defeat an army of mutants to free the enslaved human race. The only thing more ridiculous than the story is the cast of characters found throughout the campaign. From mutant bulls, to beefed up bisons, to chesty bunny dancers, the ludicrous character roster is always unexpected good fun. From the moment the game starts, the viewer knows they are in for something special. The soundtrack is high octane and never let’s up, the fluid animation of the pixel art never ceases to amaze, and even the presentation as a whole is something special. From the options menu, the player can choose from a few different visual presentations include an arcade CRT filter which looks exactly like something you would find in the arcade. Normally I prefer the clean, high definition visual presentation whenever given the option but this aesthetic is preferred in this case because it looks so darn good.
At the surface, Fight’N Rage seems like a straightforward brawler with it’s simple three button layout: attack, jump, and special. Even with these three buttons, combat becomes much more than just button mashing. Newbies can rapidly tap the attack button until the end credits roll, taking advantage of the unlimited continue structure, but experienced players will utilize the parry system. Once an attack connects, the player can usually continue with a combo, hit-and-run, or parry an enemy attack. Until you experience this frame perfect system for yourself, it is difficult to fully understand and appreciate because it feels dead-on. While there were times I wished there was a block button, jumping and forward dashing can make enemy attacks miss their mark. Pros will undoubtedly appreciate this easy to use but difficult to master fighting system. The combo system is also deep and super satisfying. It might be easy to pull off a standard three-hit combo but linking an additional combo on top of that isn’t as simple. However, if a player manages to complete an additional combo after the enemy’s health has been drained, they explode with a puff of smoke and bones, rewarding the player with additional points. Again, this is another reason why the moment to moment combat feels so great. The super move special button also recharges over time so the player can execute this attack at a good pace. Keeping things in balanced, if the super move is executed without enough stored super juice, the player takes a health penalty.
With each game over, the game rewards the player with gold coins. These coins are then used to purchase numerous unlockables including new modes, skins, playable characters, and much more. For example, the player will spend some coins on unlocking an easy mode, or a fighting option against another player or CPU. Even the levels themselves offer branching paths, enhancing replay value, and take dark turns – bosses actually kill innocent hostages right in front of you. Taking this even further, there are numerous endings to obtain depending on player performance. The amount of content in what seem like a simple brawler is nothing short of staggering.
My only complaint about Fight’N Rage is that co-op is limited to local only. Not having online support seems like a missed opportunity for a game that is this awesome. A single play through can also take about an hour so it would have been nice if an instant save feature was included. It can also be a little rough having to start at the beginning of a stage upon game over instead of instantly continuing from the point of death. The raft stage, in which you fight annoying flies, is a great example of this – the last stage is also pretty brutal even on the lowest difficulty. However, it makes up for it by including a stupid amount of extras, a much deeper than expected combat system built around a frantic combat experience, and having it all connected through one hell of a presentation. Watch out Konami classics such T.M.N.T, the Simpsons, and X-Men, Fight’N Rage is going to beat you up and steal your quarters.
Also available on PC, Switch, and PS4 (soon).