This past November developer Lucky Kat Studios released Beat Street (Free), an old-school-inspired side-scrolling beat ’em up game. While many modern beat ’em ups look to capture the magic of the classics, most fail to do so, but Beat Street managed to find that special sauce that brought that old-school arcade gameplay into the modern age of mobile gaming. The combat mechanics are great, there are a dozen playable characters that can be upgraded and improved as you play, and there is an absolutely massive story-driven campaign that originally featured a whopping 90 levels to complete. Not to mention a cool endless survival mode as well as special limited time events featuring unique characters and environments to brawl in. Oh and did I mention it features online cooperative play? Yes, Beat Street is in my eyes easily the best beat ’em up on the App Store, and today it’s received possibly its biggest update yet, adding in an entire new storyline with 38(!) new levels to play through as well as new character Urs.
Beat Street seems to have been a massive success on the App Store since its release last year, even capturing the heart of hip-hop artist Soulja Boy who was added in as a playable character back in March. A lot of that likely has to do with the game being free to play, meaning there’s no barrier of entry for folks to check it out. The pay model is pretty typical free to play fare, mostly centering around the extensive character unlocking and upgrading which is a monumental grind that you can choose to speed up with IAP. The funny thing is, beat ’em ups are grindy and monotonous by design, and so giving the player avenues to make all that grinding feel meaningful by way of slow character progression actually creates a great sense of satisfaction in the long term. I’ll play through a game like Final Fight or Streets of Rage maybe once a year and that’s about all I can take, but Beat Street is a game I’ve played just about every day since its release, making slow and steady progress as I go. It’s actually quite ingenious, but if you’re not the type who likes grinding the day away in free to play games then it probably won’t be for you. That said, if you like beat ’em ups and haven’t tried out Beat Street, there’s no reason not to check it out for free especially with all the great new content that was just added in.