LadiesGamers Double Dragon Neon

Double Dragon Neon Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Double Dragon Neon
Genre: Fighting, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (also PC, PS3 and Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Wayforward | Majesco Entertainment
Age Rating: EU TBC | US Teen
Price: UK £TBC | EU €TBC | US $14.99
Release Date: December 21st 2020

Review code provided with many thanks to Majesco Entertainment

Escape to the 80’s Again

In these tough and challenging times many of us turn to gaming as a sort of escapism for a short period before once again giving our all to the cruel world outside. I don’t know about you but the more ludicrous a game setting is, the more it tends to help with this temporary escape. Which brings us to Double Dragon Neon. A game I somehow missed back when it was originally released in 2012.

If you fancy diving into a brawler that takes you to a bizarre 80’s setting with suspiciously dressed baddies and a story that is frankly full of chuckles. Well my friend, Double Dragon Neon may just be the game for you.

LadiesGamers Double Dragon Neon
Time for some air guitar!


The Double Dragon series has been around since the 80’s. I remember playing an awful version of the original on the Amstrad computer when I was a little nip. But if you’re not familiar with the series do not worry, as Neon acts as a sort of  re – imagining of the original. If you’re familiar with the series, expect to see plenty of fan service. Yes, Abobo is here. You play as the classic characters Billy and Jimmy on a quest to save their gal Marion, who has been kidnapped by the evil Skullmageddon, who seems to be Skeletor’s long lost brother.

The story is deliberately typical of games of the 80’s era but the game spends the 10 stage experience on quite the wild adventure. You start out like you would in any brawler, travelling through the streets. Before you know it, the game takes a very unexpected turn in terms of its setting and the enemies you fight. Maybe you fight some zombies, ninjas, some robots and then a giant tank. Needles to say if you’re on board with Neon’s bizarre humour expect to have a good time seeing where this tale goes.

LadiesGamers Double Dragon Neon
I’ll take on these zombies with a comb

Who Needs Guns When You Have Fists

The controls are quite deep for a brawler. It does have the usual light and heavy attacks with the jump. But the game also incorporates a block/evade move which, if used correctly, will give you a temporary damage boost and really help give you the edge in the fights. You can also make use of various special moves which you unlock as the game progresses. Most of the game is spent fighting a variety of muscular and suspiciously dressed enemies with your fists and weapons dotted around the levels. There are also quite a few traps and bottomless pits but these are just as deadly to the enemies as they are to you.

Unlike typical brawlers the game also has platform sections. For the most part these are ok but sometimes they can be a bit irritating when you’re trying to jump between platforms and attack enemies at the same time. There are also plenty of absurd boss battles, some of which had me in stiches of laughter at how ludicrous they became. For example, one has you go up against a giant plant with some interesting extra animals featured in it.

LadiesGamers Double Dragon Neon
The game is much easier in co-op

Sound of the 80’s

Neon’s 3D graphics and design is drenched in 80’s nostalgia from its simple and silly storyline to its over the top villain. There are also other little nods, like reviving your co-op buddy by mashing A button and seeing a prompt of a tape being wound up with a pencil on the screen. The graphics take a minor hit in handheld mode but the game still runs very well in both TV and handheld. Then there’s that exceptional 80’s inspired soundtrack. The synth feel of the score recreates that arcade feel from back in the day. There are also some excellent songs that feel a lot like training montage songs, these had me smiling even when I was getting my bottom beaten by the bad guys. While writing this review I had the soundtrack blaring in my ears.

LadiesGamers Double Dragon Neon
Enemies can also fall victim to stage traps

Better With a Bro

If you play alone the game feels significantly harder. In fact when I first played the game I could not even get past the first stage without loosing all my lives. Co-op makes things much easier as your partner can revive you and additionally you can high five each other to share health and get temporary damage boosts.

Double Dragon Neon also has this interesting upgrade system in the form of mix tapes. As you defeat baddies they often drop tapes which unlock new special moves and passive abilities. In the menu you get to pick one special like a tornado kick and a passive move which will increase your stats in certain ways like health and damage. These tapes can then be upgraded at the ‘tapesmith’ by collecting metal from the boss fights, this further increases your stats and damage of the special moves.

You can replay levels over and over which is what I ended up doing in the end to make the single player experience more bearable but it was great fun experimenting with different tape combinations. It’s this feature that provides an incentive to replay over and over. The niggle though is its a bit grindy to upgrade stuff. On the normal setting bosses only drop 3 metal bits a piece so upgrading can take some time.

LadiesGamers Double Dragon Neon
Take on the evil Skullmageddon!

Neon of course is still available on other platforms. The Switch version is essentially a port of all prior versions with no extras added. The incentive to double dip would be to enjoy this game in handheld mode, which to me is a massive plus. If I could visit my friends I would totally prop this on a coffee table and enjoy some co op on the go. You will need two joy cons or a controller each to play as one joy con lacks all the buttons.

High Five Bro

Double Dragon Neon is a surprisingly deep brawler that is very tough to play alone but excels if you’re able to enjoy it in co-op. The upgrade system feels a tad too grindy but with an excellent soundtrack I found it very difficult to put this game down.

If somehow you missed this back in 2012 then the Switch version is a very welcome addition to any brawler fans collection. It’s also hilarious and lord knows we all need a good laugh these days.

Final Verdict: I like it a lot 

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