If you’re like me, then you’ve spent a lot of yourc time wishing you had Bruce Lee-level combat prowess that you could unleash upon endless waves of foolish challengers. Training to be that awesome sounds like a lot of work, but Midnight Fight Express helped me get a bit closer to that fantasy by absolutely nailing everything I’d want in a fast-paced, highly lethal, and fantastically challenging brawler. With an extensive set of unlockable skills and environments that begged to be an accomplice in my next felony assault, it was love at first dropkick to the face and I cannot wait to play more.
At the heart of any good brawling game is a sandbox that allows for creativity, and Midnight Fight Express has got that in spades. Every room I entered felt like an armory, with objects scattered around that could be thrown or swung at my opponents, and things to smash enemies against or throw them off of. In one section I found explosive items to toss at enemies that instantly turned them into pink giblets, and in another I used moving subway cars to make sure they were on track for an early death. Every time I stepped through a doorway to a new area, I felt a jolt of excitement wondering what playground of destruction awaited me on the other side, and in the eight levels I got to play that feeling never went away.
Beyond the environments though, I was constantly adding new deadly skills to my arsenal to be debuted on the side of some cretin’s skull in the next area. One ability let me parry and counter incoming attacks, while another improved my attack combos to be more lethal, and my personal favorite: one that let me perform devastating and amazingly stylish finishing moves on damaged enemies. By the time I reached the end of my play session, I was dancing around my enemies, countering attacks, and brutally taking down my opponents in a chain of intricate maneuvers that made me feel like I could take on the world, even when I occasionally slipped up and got my face peeled off like that guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark. And all of that was just with a fraction of the total abilities that can be unlocked – I can only imagine what’s possible in the back half of the campaign!
Of course, you could just try and brute force your way through every encounter by straight up punching and kicking your way through baddies, but the fun is in doing so creatively, which Midnight Fight Express rewards by giving you a better grade for fighting with style on each level. That performance can earn you unlockables that can make you a better warrior, or just make you look cooler with lots of cosmetics. And besides, finding inventive ways to take down 15 brutes in a matter of seconds just feels so dang good.
As I became more adept in the way of the beatdown, so did my opponents. Whether I was fighting big thick boys who could take a beating and still knock me flat on my face with a flying slam, or facing mutated, acid-vomiting rat people, Midnight Fight Express was constantly throwing new stuff in my path to put my fist through or die trying, and by the end it got downright diabolically difficult. Luckily, constant checkpoints and lightning-quick encounters meant that death never really offended me. In fact, I mostly got excited for another chance to kill everyone in the room in a more creative way than the last attempt. And any game that makes me excited at the prospect of getting my butt kicked over and over is pretty alright in my book.
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Author: Ryan McCaffrey