Beatdown! Review (for iPhone and iPad)

Beatdown! is good, old-fashioned button-mashing fun. Having just been unfairly relieved of your job by your villainous CEO, it’s up to you to do what any self-righteous pixellated office worker would do: hand out some beatdowns.

Remember that four-eyed dork from the I.T. department who raises his glasses to fire beams of pure kinetic force? You’ll punch him in the face, repeatedly. How about that pair of office gorillas that insist on bursting out of the wall? You’ll kick them until there’s nothing left to kick. Then there’s that one guy who keeps running around the office firing frickin’ laser beams, scaring all of the lady folk and singing your newly cut hair. You’ll destroy him utterly.

You’ll do this by guiding yourself around a 2D environment with a digital joystick and tapping on a pair of buttons – one for punching, and one for jumping. Throughout the game’s 30 levels you’ll find yourself mashing buttons frantically as you take out wave after wave, just like people used to do at the arcade. Beatdown! definitely plays off of a sense of nostalgia with its simple beat-em-up mechanics, and, for the most part, it works. Punches look fast and furious, and enemies genuinely look like they’re taking a pounding. There’s no question that, between the build-up rage meter, the temporary weapon pickups, and the intermittent boss fights, Beatdown! offers satisfying snippets of action. The game is easy to play on either iPhone or iPad thanks to iCloud saves.

The only problem is that most of the game feels the same. It can get a little annoying to have the enemy pick up new tricks – like ranged attacks and riot shields – while you simply swing at them with your fists. Some sort of area-of-effect power or upgradeable ability would have done a lot for this little beat-em-up. Still, it’s hard to chastise Beatdown! for not doing more with itself considering the level of polish in this $0.99 game, so let’s just call it a good little game for the price…but it could have been great with just a little more variety.