TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Streets of Rage 4’

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It was a stacked week of great new mobile game releases, and it was a really hard week to pick just one for the Game of the Week. It seems like that’s been the case a lot lately, which just means that us mobile gamers are eating quite well as of late. However, if this particular pick isn’t to your taste, I’d urge you to check out the full list of this week’s releases because this type of award could have easily gone to a handful of other really good games this week. That being said, one of my absolute most favorite games was released on mobile this week, so there’s no way I wasn’t going to go with Streets of Rage 4.

I was in my pre-teens when Streets of Rage was, well, all the rage on SEGA’s 16-bit console the Genesis. I already loved belt-scrolling brawlers thanks to the likes of Double Dragon and Final Fight, and there was a certain sort of grittiness and coolness factor to Streets of Rage that other games didn’t seem to have. That said, I fully admit that these are some fairly shallow games, as is par for the course for the entire genre really, and that my love of the series is strongly related to my own nostalgia and the incredibly fun cooperative multiplayer aspects of those games. Nothing quite like cleaning up the streets with a buddy on the couch by your side.

So I was a little bit skeptical when I learned that after more than 25 years there would be a fourth Streets of Rage game. Gaming had come a long way in two-plus decades, could a beat ’em up really dazzle the way it used to? Thankfully, the answer was – Hell yes! But largely due in part to the people responsible for Streets of Rage 4: DotEmu, LizardCube, and Guard Crush Games. DotEmu and LizardCube had already collaborated on a retro-revival that turned out amazing with Wonder Boy the Dragon’s Trap, and Guard Crush had made a name for itself with their absurdly silly but mechanically solid beat ’em up Streets of Fury.

All the pieces were in place, and in April of 2020 Streets of Rage 4 launched on console and PC. I picked it up on Switch and it exceeded every expectation I had. Like the best modern revivals, Streets of Rage 4 brought more depth to the mechanics while still staying true to the originals. That’s always a fine line to balance, and they executed it perfectly. Visually, too, the game absolutely shined going for a hand-drawn almost graphic novel style look rather than pixel art. I’m normally a pixel art fanatic but I think this was the right choice here.

I’m sure I could go on, but Streets of Rage 4 has been around long enough that there’s not much I can say about it that hasn’t already been said. It’s just an absolute shining example of how to bring a classic franchise and genre into the modern day. And now the entire thing is on my dang phone thanks to Playdigious, so it’s with me everywhere I go. I mean, how cool is that? The mobile port of Streets of Rage 4 is simply phenomenal, as evidenced in our 5 star review, and this is the exact type of game that’s fun to whip out for just a few minutes of brawling or to sit with for hours as you set high scores and unlock new stuff.

If I had to come up with a criticism, it would be that there’s not cross-platform syncing. I absolutely destroyed Streets of Rage 4 on the Switch, and was in the process of doing it all over again with the Steam version. I’m not sure I have it in me to do the same with the mobile version now too. Oh, who am I kidding, of course I do. I could never tire of this game. Whether playing with the virtual controls or a physical controller, Streets of Rage 4 on mobile plays like a dream and is stuffed with content including the option to buy the Mr. X Nightmare DLC should you feel the need for even more. It will go down as one of my favorite games of all time and this mobile iteration is just as good as on any other platform.

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