Gangs bullying civilians into submission, people carrying weapons, and main characters who know how to kick ass. We have here all the ingredients for a classic beat ’em up. Let’s head on down to Breakneck City.
Take Me Down to Breakneck City
Breakneck City is one of those traditional beat ’em up games in the vein of Streets of Rage and Final Fight, so expect that level of narrative. The game starts with a conversation about how gangs are making life hell in Breakneck City and you’ve heard enough – It’s time to step out of the door and go punch some yobs in the face.
As far as story and character development go, you don’t really get much more than that. It’s not a genre that’s ever needed it and it often bogs down the brave souls that do try it.
Roads of Angry
Breakneck City has two playable characters; Sidney Flintlock and Justine Jacobs. While they look different, they control exactly the same which makes the choice completely redundant – this is a running theme in this title.
Breakneck City is a scrolling beat ’em up. It’s emulating the PlayStation One/Sega Saturn era of blocky polygons and awkward animations yet manages to play worse than anything it copies!
As mentioned previously the character selection is redundant. The controls are punch, kick, jump, pick up and dodge which is standard for the genre.
What isn’t standard is for the game to coast on one whole combo and the world’s slowest and most pointless kick. While the dodge is useful and allows you to spin around lamp-posts and vault fences, it looks so badly animated you’d just assume it’s glitched out.
The six levels feature very few set pieces. These outstay their welcome far too quickly due to the small amount of enemy variation and the boring and janky combat.
When executing a combo you’ll see a flash of yellow to show the foe is stunned so you can drop some more damage. This wouldn’t be an issue if the game didn’t judder every time resulting in what looks like an ugly PowerPoint presentation.
This leads me nicely onto the presentation or lack thereof. I don’t usually like to be so abrupt, but the game is hideous to look at from its menus to the strange graphical mixture that’s been knocked up.
First off the menus are so bare-bones you’d be forgiven for thinking this ran on DOS or was drawn up on paint. Maybe even purposely bad, as if to fit an art style like the marmite immersive simulation Cruelty Squad.
In the game proper, you’re met with this strange combo of really janky low-tier polygon character models and backgrounds using NES 8-bit era textures. Design choice or necessity aside, it looks horrid. It isn’t charming and invokes no nostalgia at all, which is a shame.
To show where I’m coming from with this, I’m a huge fan of the MDickie title Wrestling Empire which I play a lot of. It has a similar janky polygon look, but the art direction works because the developer didn’t settle with the bare basics. They also embrace the Jank and it’s amusing to see how the engine reacts to what’s going on, coupled with the amount of content.
Breakneck City is the worst-case scenario of the above. It looks horrid, it plays badly, it’s boring and it lacks enough content to keep masochists coming back after the game’s paltry offering of an arcade run.
Do yourself a favor; If you like Beat ’em ups or want to experience the genre, look at literally ANY other Beat ’em up. This game is just almost offensively bad at every juncture.
BREAKNECK CITY IS NOT RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to EastAsiaSoft for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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