Beat Down showed some promise of being a fun, replayable and even cute beatem up title but in the end it fell well short of the standard set by early games like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage 2 which are now available for the iPhone and iPad.
We take a look at what it would take for a sequel to prove a success.
- Trickier enemies: The general enemies of the game were all too easy to knock down and keep down. Once you worked out a fairly easy formula you could apply it to killing all the mobs. For example your jump and kick is way too powerful, you can literally cover half the screen with it in a blink of an eye. This meant you could get out of harm’s way easily. Having enemies that applied greater pressure to corner you or even having more lethal distance ones with quicker fire would be welcomed. Also later mobs needed to add a more varied threat, perhaps by the way they moved (being more agile) or how strong their hits were.
- Trickier bosses: Beatdown’s bosses were too easy to kill, yes it’s a casual beatem up but that doesn’t mean the bosses can’t be that bit harder forcing you focus a lot more and come up with a unique formula on how to beat them. Giving gamers more of challenge where they have to find a particular way of beating a boss would make the game feel more of a real ‘scrap’ matching the games title.
- More Unique Mobs – We thought the mobs in the game looked pretty good, they were aesthetically unique but their abilities were not all that different. I think the developers got the ranged bad guys right with enough variation in what they hurled or shot at you (we liked the laser eyed geeks in particular!) but the up close and personal mobs lacked any special moves. You never actually dreaded facing any particular mob as well – think Streets of Rage 2 – there were plenty of mobs you didn’t want to come up against (especially in packs) because they were so awkward. Examples were a pack of kick boxers, the annoying biker guys constantly running you over, the Ninja’s were this lethal swords or ninja stars (they were hell!) or even the Boxing Boss from the boat – they started to throw him in after you defeated him from the boat stage.
- More Unique Bosses: The bosses did not feel all that unique, they were all pretty much routed to the ground and apart from the one special move each and a bit of a different look they all felt the same. The bosses in Beat Down 2 need to be look a lot more distinctive and have lethal and memorable special moves. Perhaps having one’s that are airborne or wield different weapons such an office chair or coffee mug! (Yes after all it is an office based beatem up). We also thought it was pretty lame that the end boss had one of the same moves as the Police boss (the spinning one) – it’s like the developers got short on ideas and just whacked in the same move.
- Nerf the Jump & Kick! – As mentioned the jump and kick was way too powerful to use. You could easily get away from any standard bad guy or boss. This meant you never felt there was much riding on making the wrong decision of where to position your guy in a fight.
- Melee Weapons Kill Too Easily – Another over powered item was the melee weapons – they last too long and cause too much damage so you could take out a whole pack of mobs with just one weapon before it was used up. Either limit their appearance so they crop up less or reduce their durability by 30-40%.
- Bosses Could Become Mobs – I’m a fan of Streets of Rage 2’s idea of using bosses as mobs in the stages after they are defeated – it throws in a nice addition into the game. Beat Down 2 could use the bosses as mobs in the stages after you defeat them.
- Add Difficulty Settings: Of course a lazy way of solving most of the above is to add difficulty settings where by mobs and bosses have more life, move that bit faster and hit that bit harder, should you wish to crank the game up a notch. We would prefer however for the difficulty settings to be just one of the improvements made in Beat Down 2 with regards to making the game more challenging as opposed to it being the sole solution.
- Bug on Boss 4: Boss 4 (The Zombie General) has a bug, we managed to get a full bar to unleash the rage move on the boss and starting beating the hell out of him – then he couldn’t properly disappear under ground without being hurt. We carried on punching him to his bloody death even when he was off the screen. Fix the bug please!
- Special Moves for the Hero Please: Apart from the rage bar where you could unleash fury upon your foes the hero has no other special moves which is rather disappointing. We would recommend in Beat Down 2 that our main character has at least 2 special moves from the start – maybe again following the ideas from Streets of Rage 2 you could have one special move performed by a combination of taps and one by using a special move button which costs a certain amount of health and is used in desperate times. Another idea would be to use that of the Hobo browser games where you pick up new combos as you progress. We don’t think the developer needs to overwhelm us with different moves but a few specials would have been nice in Beat Down and it’s what we would expect in a sequel.
- More Characters to Choose From: Having more than one character to choose from would also add a nice touch and increase the replay value. Another two characters would be fine; these could be anything from a female character such as an ambitious supervisor out to take her bosses head (and claim his job!) to an old pensioner bitter about being forced to resign from his job earlier than planned and loosing half his pension in the process! Each character could have a unique weapon that they wield from the start and a unique vendetta against the final boss.
- 2 Player Mode: We’d like to see a blue tooth 2 player mode introduced to Beat Down 2, the fact that the first had no multiplayer option was a letdown.
You may think with so many suggestions for improvements that Beat Down was a crummy brawler. Actually we enjoyed the game and for those gamers that love a good beatem up’s we think for $0.99 Beat Down is not a bad price. But we do feel Ravenous Games could have done a bit more to make this game more visually diverse, mob varied and challenging. When you consider games such as Punch Quest ($0.99) Double Dragon ($1.99) and Streets of Rage 2 ($2.99) are also available we’d recommend these over Beat Down.
Well that’s it for now folks. If you have played and completed Beat Down we’d love to hear what you would like to see in Beat Down 2!?