Following on from my reviews of Dyna Bomb 2 and After Wave: Downfall I’m back to review another new game from 7 Raven Studios called Last Beat Enhanced. This game is a pixel-art side-scrolling beat ‘em up and here are my thoughts after playing the PlayStation 4 version.
Last Beat Enhanced has you playing through eight stages where you’ll be fighting to take down the Mad Stroke Gang. You can do this by yourself or bring a local co-op buddy with my time with the game being done entirely solo. There are five playable characters in the game although you only start with two with those being a man named John and a girl named Noa. Later on, you unlock a lizard person named Din and if you gather enough money in the levels you can spend it to unlock another guy named Ares and a lady named Zari. Each character plays slightly differently and has different stats like strength and speed.
The game doesn’t really do anything new for the genre as stages have you fighting against gang members, picking up various weapons to use, collecting money, and avoiding hazards. Special stages can be unlocked and played and help change things up from the normal gameplay and every regular stage ends in a boss fight that is pretty easy to beat once you identify how they attack. The fighting itself is serviceable as you’ll mash the attack button to take out the AI enemies which aren’t too smart but can still be deadly if you let yourself get surrounded. Hit detection felt a little off to me though which caused me not to enjoy this one as much as some more polished beat ‘em ups. Another element of the game that I felt was off was the rate at which you earn money. Upgrades cost a good chunk of change and you simply don’t get much of it from playing through a stage. Because of that you’ll have to go back and grind stages if you want to unlock everything.
The visuals in Last Beat Enhanced are suitably retro and will remind you of games you might have played on the NES. There are some little things here and there with the UI that look a bit off and the static images used throughout aren’t the best but it’s a fine-looking pixel art game at the end of the day. Music is a big thing for me in beat ‘em ups with some of the ones released this year having spoiled me. The music here is fine but isn’t memorable and doesn’t have enough variety. If you’re a trophy hunter you will find an easy trophy list consisting of 14 trophies with a Platinum. It’s another one of those games that doesn’t even require you to play much of it to earn them all.
Last Beat Enhanced is a solid retro-styled beat ‘em up but one that doesn’t do anything to elevate itself to be a must-play. The cost of entry is low and for that price you get quite a few stages of beat ‘em up gameplay to play through either by yourself or with a friend locally. It’s probably better suited to newcomers to the genre as veterans will likely want more out of a game in this genre.
*Last Beat Enhanced is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. PlayStation 4 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.