Brutal Rage is a 2D retro style beat ’em up from 2BAD GAMES which follows the story of two policemen who find themselves in prison after being accused of a murder they did not commit. They fight their way out of prison and continue to battle through all the scenes to finally discover who set them up and why.
The tutorial teaches all the usual basic moves; kick, punch, jump, pick up weapons and how to use the ‘rage’ meter. Altogether there are 6 episodes to play through which are set in various locations. This includes a couple of motorbike racing scenes, involving dodging cars and picking up fuel which is a welcome break from the repetitive fighting scenes. The third part of the game is Brutal Club, where there are 3 progressively challenging rounds of fighting, each involving defeating several waves of enemies successively. There are some encouraging ideas here and the overall basic elements work well together, but if these were expanded upon further it would create a much more exciting and interactive playing experience. The motorbike scenes were a small glimpse of this but they were disappointingly short and felt very basic, with very little to actually collect or achieve. It’s obviously challenging to come up with an original game so finding the perfect equilibrium will never be as easy as it sometimes appears.
It was very surprising to see that the rating is only a 12 considering the use of much stronger language but apart from this, the rest of the game seems generally age appropriate. It’s probably best to skip this game if you don’t want your younger kids trying out some newly discovered words and phrases though!
Playing Brutal Rage does feel somewhat nostalgic, with the basic graphics and simple, undeveloped, repetitive soundtrack. Unfortunately, it feels as though it is precariously balancing on the fine line between reviving a retro gaming genre and an incredibly basic beat ’em up that doesn’t quite fit in the past or present.
The developers have evidently attempted to add a thought-provoking storyline which continues throughout, but the inability to speed up the captions or skip them completely detracts from the enjoyment of the game and slows it down so much that it becomes a test of endurance between each scene, desperately willing it to move on. Understandably, players will be looking for games which are not too short, but the time it takes for the captions to move on steals much of that time in this game. The entire story has to be completed in order to unlock the ability to skip the captions, but by this point it is unclear how many people would actually choose to play it again. Unfortunately, the repetition of fighting, dialogue, walk to next scene, fighting, dialogue, walk to next scene became so mind-numbing, it started to feel like it might never end! A new character is unlocked once the story mode is complete but the incentive to complete the game all over again to witness a ‘new fighting style’ of one character doesn’t exactly appeal very strongly. If the new character could turn invisible and shoot rainbow lasers from their teeth, that might perhaps sooth the madness triggered by enduring the caption nightmares of Brutal Rage the first time round.
Brutal Rage does share some basic common themes with other games of this genre, but seems to lack the overall appeal and replay value due to its repetitiveness and absence of variety in gameplay and development. Perhaps, with some slight alterations, it could potentially transform into something rather enjoyable and entertaining, but in its current condition it just feels like a very dull and lengthy demo. It has promise, but is missing the unique qualities that would make it distinctive, such as an expansion of the above mentioned fight-talk-walk game mechanics or any development of the original concepts. Thank goodness for the local co-op option making it much more motivating and rewarding to play as a team and share the endurance of surviving the inescapably drawn-out captions!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.