Fans of beat ‘em ups have been eating pretty good over the past couple years with releases such as Streets of Rage 4, Sifu, TMNT Shredder’s Revenge, and more and now we have another name to add to that list. Midnight Fight Express comes to us by way of Humble Games and developer Jacob Dzwinel and I got to take the PlayStation 4 version for a spin for this review.
Midnight Fight Express is an isometric brawler that feels like it drew inspiration from many action movies, other beat ‘em ups, and even the Batman Arkham games. This was made mostly by a single guy who had a few others help out with some things and it’s a pretty impressive effort when you think about that. The game takes place over the course of a single night where you play as a man named Babyface. He’s a former member of the criminal underworld who gets dragged back in by a talking AI drone and together they work to save the city from criminal forces. The story jumps back and forth between present time and the past as Babyface is talking with the cops in the present with all the action taking place in the past as he recounts the events of the night.
There are over 40 levels in the game to fight your way through and you’ll be doing it with some smooth motion capped moves. Your weapons include punches and kicks, guns, melee weapons, and things in the environment. The combat gave me a lot of Arkham vibes as you kind of bounce from enemy to enemy and can even perform counters by pressing the button that flashes on-screen. New enemy types get introduced and certain attack methods work better against certain types so you’ll always need to be on the lookout to adapt your approach. Some levels switch things up and have you in vehicles or on top of a train so when I ran into these it helped things from feeling too repetitive.
Each level that you complete will reward you with cash and skill points depending on how you did. Cash can be used to buy new cosmetic items while skill points can be placed in skill trees to make yourself stronger. These can include new finishing and grapple moves along with some other options. It’s satisfying to go back to earlier levels and get better grades once you’ve unlocked more abilities. That said, the game stumbles a bit in later levels as some combat scenarios feel a bit too hard in regards to the number of enemies they throw at you making the otherwise smooth combat not feel so great.
The visuals in the game are pretty good when it comes to the environments but the characters have a more blocky look to them so don’t expect much detail in that regard. The music is on point though with some great electronic beats and some satisfying sound design as you are dealing out punishment. Trophy hunters will find 41 trophies here including a Platinum but good luck earning them all. Most of them will come in time but certain ones like getting an S rank on all levels will be quite the challenge.
Midnight Fight Express is another great beat ‘em up in a year where we’ve already seen quite a few. The combat system is beauty in motion and levels are highly replayable thanks to the ranking system, diverse amount of attack options, and online leaderboards. It stumbles a bit due to some sections needing to be balanced a bit more but overall this is one to check out for any fan of beat ‘em ups or action movies.
*Midnight Fight Express is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 4 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Midnight Fight Express$19.99
- Fun and fluid combat system with a lot of options on how to attack
- Replayability is encouraged to attain better ranks or scores
- Environments look good and have great atmosphere
- Very catchy soundtrack
- Some parts have too many enemies to deal with at once
- Not a big fan of the character design