After having a mech crave last week, I decided to put sometime aside for a game that has both a sense of familiarity along with being something different. In the words of development studio Double Stallion Games, Speed Brawl is “Sonic The Hedgehog meets Streets of Rage” (they are somewhat accurate with this description).

Speed Brawl is what happens when a bunch of pop-culture junkies get together and make a video game. Here we have a mix of alternative history with steam punk elements while the world is clearly inspired by great works like AliensThe Running Man and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. This mash up surprisingly works very well as it has taken just enough that the influence could be noticed but not so much that it feels like either knock-off.

Complementing this mashup of ideas are the visual design that follow the same creative mindset as the world building. The clear inspiration for the artistic style is a mix of the same style used in contemporary web comics (most notably Penny Arcade and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) while also adding some manga inspired aesthetics.

The gameplay mechanics are the same a gamer would find in a standard beat-em-up with elements from the RPG genre added in. Players progress each arena by beating the crap out of alien bugs while updating their characters stats and gear. During the corse of the progression, new characters and better gear become available. Controls are simple to use while the game allows for both standard co-op or online play.

Despite its many interesting features and design choices, the game has several major performance issues that can not be overlooked. The most notable I encountered was the players action not responding properly when playing with a keyboard. While I had no issues when using a console control, there were moments in which the character would not respond to my action when using the keyboard on my desktop, my laptop or my friends laptop. Other issues I encountered were frame-rate drops and minor glitches.

Speed Brawl is a steeler beat-em-up title that gamers will love right away for its many nods to pop-culture and its old school setup. It has everything gamers and pop-culture junkies will enjoy.

Final Score: 8/10

Disclaimer: Evolve PR provided the game that was used in this review. 

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