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Posted on Aug 25th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (Disposed Hero)
Posted under Review, action, beat em up, rare


I have never been a big fan of the original Battletoads or any of its sequels, so when this new entry in the series was first unveiled, I didn't have very high expectations. However, as a big fan of the beat 'em up genre in general, and thanks to this game's easy availability via Game Pass, I couldn't resist giving the game a shot. Despite any reservations I may have had about the game, as well as the negative criticisms it may have received, I came away pleasantly surprised with the game overall.



Developed by Dlala Studios with supervision from Rare and published by Xbox Game Studios, Battletoads is an action/beat 'em up title and the first new Battletoads release in 26 years. Released on August 20, 2020 exclusively for the XBox One and PC, the game has been met with mixed reception. It is worth noting that the game supports multiplayer co-op for up to three players, but it is local co-op only with no online multiplayer as of yet.

The game begins with the three Battletoads themselves, Rash, Pimple, and Zitz, fighting off a horde of enemies and subsequently met with fanfare, only to later discover that they've been stuck inside a simulation for the past 26 years. In reality, nobody knows who they are, and they've been reduced to working menial jobs and living in a crappy apartment. Obviously dissatisfied with this turn of events, the Battletoads decide to seek out their old nemesis, the Dark Queen, in an attempt to reclaim their past glory. The story elements feel much like a modern day cartoon with the animation, dialog, and voice acting. It can be pretty entertaining if you're into that sort of thing. I felt like the jokes ranged from laugh-out-loud funny to groanworthy, but much of this will depend on your own sense of humor.


The general gameplay loop is as one would expect: you move from left to right and fight groups of enemies, rinse and repeat. The three different Battletoads all have a distinct feel and speed, and they can be switched between on the fly, and they each have their own independent health bar. In addition to the standard tapping of the X button to deliver a combo, there is also a launch attack that can boost enemies in to the air and a smash attack that can break an enemy's guard. Furthermore, you can spit a wad of gum at an enemy to temporarily immobilize them, as well as use your tongue to pull in or pull yourself toward an enemy, and these can be useful for crowd control. There are a large variety of different enemy types, and while some can be particularly annoying and frustrating to fight, making good use of some of the aforementioned abilities as well as the game's dodge mechanic can help mitigate the frustration and is actually required at times. It's a combat system that requires you to be aware of the situation and use some strategy to deal with your foes instead of just mindless button mashing, which I can appreciate. The combat overall has a satisfying feel.

But wait! This isn't just a simple beat 'em up, as there are actually quite a few different genres and minigames mixed in to the overall gameplay. These can range from sidescrolling platforming sections, to bullet-hell shmup sections, and even the infamous turbo tunnel makes a reappearance. These extra sections are indeed challenging, but feel far more fair than similar sections in the original Battletoads, with reasonably placed checkpoints and no 'Game Overs' requiring you to start the entire stage (or game) over after failing a few times. In fact, if you fail too many times on some of the puzzle sections, the game will give you the option to just bypass the puzzle entirely and move on. I found these new gameplay elements to be a fun diversion from the core beat 'em up combat and really appreciated the variety they offer.


A new perspective on the classic turbo tunnel.

The game fares well with its presentation also. The graphics look great with smooth animations and a vibrant color scheme. The audio is also well done, with typical satisfying beat 'em up sound effects, as well as a rocking soundtrack. The voice acting is also well done and fits the writing and overall style of the game.

Overall, I was very surprised with Battletoads and found it to be a much more enjoyable experience than I expected. If you're looking for a fun arcade experience and have Game Pass, then this is an easy recommendation, especially if you have a friend or two over for some couch co-op. At around 5-6 hours to complete, Battletoads is a pretty meaty experience for a beat 'em up, but I'm not sure if it's worth the asking price of $20, so maybe wait for a sale on this one.


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Comments
 
I played Battletoads mostly on the Gameboy back in the day. I dont any Xbox system so I will have to pass on this one for now, unless it opens up to other systems. I mean I think my PC can run steam but I never tried. Too much work for me 🤷‍♂️ lol

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