Publisher: Secret Base
Developer: Secret Base
Release Date: April 12th, 2018
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version.
The Switch has quickly become home to many beat-em ups over the last year, some old school classics making their return and along with several newer titles. Streets of Red entered the eShop at a great price with an interesting concept to show what it can add to the mix. While on the surface it might not add a whole lot to a long-established formula, Streets of Red does everything right to easily become one of the best beat-em ups on the Switch.
While the actual story doesn’t have a whole lot of substance (not many games in this genre do), it still takes an interesting concept by mixing horror movies and video games into one humorous pot. Zombies have risen and started eating everyone around and its up to you to choose from one of four playable characters (plus two unlockable ones) to take on the zombie and monster horde. Yes, it’s not just zombies you’ll face, you will also face down bosses that take form of generic versions of Jason Voorhees, the Terminator, and even Baxter Stockman from Turtles in Time. It’s all brought together with a Scott Pilgrim vs the World style graphics, only monochromatic except for red for all the blood you’ll bash out of the enemies.
The heroes themselves are concoctions of various video game characters, from a janitor who turns into an amalgamation of Shovel Knight and Arthur from Ghosts and Goblins to a student who basically turns into Link. Each character definitely has a very different feel to them, including their own special moves which you can eventually upgrade to make more powerful. The pair of unlockable characters are taken straight from Contra, so you can even get a feel for a little gun-play if you want. Using each character to play through the game really motivates you to keep going back for multiple playthroughs.
Speaking of multiple playthroughs, the levels are specifically designed for it. You can choose from one of four levels to play in any order you wish. How it really becomes interesting is that each level has four parts, each with their own boss. However, the first level you choose, you only play one part of it, the second level, two parts of it, and so on. To completely go through each level fully, and to face every boss, you need to play the game completely through at least four times. One run will take you an hour to an hour and a half, so it’s just the right length to get you excited about coming back to play more. The only complaint which could have been an easy fix, is that you get the same ending for every character. Using each character and playing the levels in different order is exciting it itself, but considering they crafted some really amusing characters with their own personalities, seeing the ending from their own perspectives would have been really interesting.
If you are a fan of beat-em ups, you really won’t find a better one on the system then Streets of Red. The price is fantastic, especially taking into account just how much fun you’ll have completing the game multiple times by yourself and pulling it out to play with a friend. It leans hard in parodying the horror and gaming genres, but it pulls it off for a really unique experience you’re going to love.