Lucky me! Streets of Rage 4 was available for play at PAX South. I’m impressed with the progress of the game, as it feels like a beat’em up straight out of the 90’s, with an eye-catching coat of paint.
Controls are simple. You have the standard buttons: attack, jump, pickup/throw, and special attack. The special attack would potentially take some health, but there’s a mechanic where if you don’t get hit for some period of time you’ll gain the life back. I got hit a lot, so I didn’t get a chance to experience this. I’m bad.
In addition to the above, there is also a blitz move that’s different for each character. Basically, this move is what happens when you double tap a direction. For example, Cherry is the only character that actually runs (enabled via blitz), while Axle does a quick dash forward.
Lastly is the star move. You only get one per stage (with the potential to pick up more stars hidden in the stage), but they’re powerful screen-wide attacks that do huge damage. Each character gets their own star move, showing off a rad animation when unleashed.
The game plays out as most other titles in the series. You progress across each stage beating up a colorful cast of miscreants, all the while picking up weapons and eating chicken from a barrel.
Combat felt great. Each hit on a foe is rewarded with a satisfying “crunch” sound and a brief pause in animation, adding weight to the hit. Opponents ranged from your simple mook, to martial artists that would block and parry attacks.
Lastly, the game looks fantastic. The art assets are vibrant, and the animations are hand-drawn. Just look at it!
The game is still in active development, so no word on a release date yet. Although the developers have been actively sharing updates, such as the trailer below introducing Adam, the fourth playable character Adam. Streets of Rage 4 will be available on Steam, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and the Switch.