Nintendo

Treachery in Beatdown City (Switch)

treachery

Treachery in Beatdown City doesn’t hide its raw, multi-targeted anger. Dialog satirizes inequality, capitalism, racism, gentrification, police brutality, white privilege, social media, sexism, gig economies, EULAs, protests, and more. It’s… a lot.

Not that it’s wrong – any of it – but the satirical net is cast so wide, Beatdown City doesn’t land a specific social commentary, choosing instead the entirety of American culture. In doing so, Beatdown City rushes toward obvious dialog, as to leave each line with only a single interpretation. Nuanced this is not. Rather than call for change, Beatdown City keeps layering understandable exasperation until the point settles near the bottom, lost in a fog.

Unquestionably, this is an aware, liberally ferocious throwback to a genre often coated in left-leaning themes where heroes marched toward the final boss’ mansion/castle/fortress, ride an elevator to the top, and then fight the corrupting force behind it all. That’s mostly true in Beatdown City too, at least this first chapter (the second coming later). It’s a game that understands thematic hooks as much as the classic brawler’s strategy, recreated in a smart, engaging pseudo turn-based affair. But it’s also too passionate, too fired up, as to miss the attempted comedy, and instead land in preachy territory without any genuine story.

3/5

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