Game: The TakeOver
System: Nintendo Switch (already on other platforms)
Developer|Publisher: Antonis Pelekanos
Age Rating: EU 16+ | US M
Price: UK £17.99| EU €17.99| AUD $30.00|CAD $ 23.61 | USD $19.99
Release Date: 4th June 2020
Review code provided by Antonis Pelekanos
The City of Steel Haven is facing a large crime wave. During which Megan and her cop boyfriend Ethan’s adopted daughter is kidnapped. With the help of their friend Connor they head out to find her.
On The Streets
While I don’t usually like to compare games too much, anyone with even a touch of experience can tell the heavy inspiration this game took from the Streets of Rage series. From the introduction and character designs to the super move.
Something not always common in a 2D beat-em-up is having two regular attack buttons (one for punch and kick) this allows for easy combos. Walking into enemies grabs them and they can then be thrown, there’s also a dash attack. A more powerful invincible attack can be used but it takes health off. There is a dodge roll. Each character is equipped with a gun but you’ll need to find ammo hiding in destructible objects to use it. Every character has their own moves and that includes how their gun works, like Connor who fires one then two bullets.
It’s Getting Crowded
Overtime you’ll build up a RAGE meter that once activated will give you double damage and allow you to block all attacks for a time (especially good in boss fights). The super meter will also build up and creates a screen clearing move that’s very reminiscent of the first Streets of Rage (though it only slightly hurts bosses). There’s an inbuilt tutorial and practice mode if needed.
Like many other games there’s pickups to increase score, health or weapons that can be wielded like a sword or faster gun. Bombs may be thrown by enemies (or come from elsewhere) sadly the foreground can obstruct your view of explosives. There is a little variety in stage hazards as you progress. Sometimes you’ll need to jump over obstacles for a while. Other times you’ll avoid motorcyclists (that can be shot if you have the ammo). Only two of the bosses were particularly difficult as they have spin attacks.
In amidst the usual levels are a car chase and a shoot-em-up. I expected one after getting into the jet but then we were on the next level with no explanation. This is because for some reason if you’re playing in co-op the game will skip right past these sections including the cut-scenes involving them. I felt like they should have been left in and just stated only the first player has control. There are seven stages but they are divided into different segments which unfortunately have long loading screens between them. Going through the Arcade mode will take you about two hours.
Stacking Up Punks
Of course games like these are all about the score you can rack up (which in co-op is shared). Though continuing will start your score over again. It does seem that of the three difficulties you pick there’s no difference if you’re going by yourself or playing with someone on the same system. Once Arcade mode is beaten you’ll unlock a new character who as far as I can tell has no explanation or appearance in the story (beyond talking to the bosses). Once you finished you can start any stage segment you choose but Jackson has different progress, meaning you’ll need to go through them all with him. At least he’s fun to play as. Survival mode lets you play in small arenas where you’ll face an endless wave of enemies to defeat as many as you can in one life.
Another unlock is Challenge mode where you try to complete different challenges in a stage segment. Such as using no special and to keep health over fifty percent. In order to unlock the next challenge you’ll need to clear the current one with at least some of the objectives completed (as in you don’t need to do them all at the same time necessarily).
Not Quite 3D
This game looks gorgeous, the backgrounds are 3D and while it might not look it the characters are sprites. It’s just a really nice semi-realistic look. However cut scenes are a motion comic format and personally I just don’t like the art style in those.
The voice acting seems pretty poor with Megan in particular seeming out of it. Though this might be a mixing issue as she often sounded just a bit too quiet. The cut-scenes often try to be funny but paired with the voice overs it’s not very amusing. The music is pretty kickin’ when you can hear it with a couple of tracks that stand out a bit more.
Stay In Your Lane
I had just a few instances of stuttering yet the action wasn’t anymore intense than normal. We had one occurrence on a level where it nearly soft locked as the remaining enemy wouldn’t appear until after half a minute. The final boss fight bugged out, the health bar and sprite were not in the same place making for some very confusing game play. In docked mode the loading screens are around twenty seconds but playing in handheld they can be twice as long.
The game looks gorgeous and has a pretty good combat system. Unfortunately the many explosives being covered up and some technical issues can let your play through down a bit. There is no online and the skipping of a couple levels when playing in co-op is an odd decision. Even though the campaign is short there’s enough content elsewhere to keep you going. Being so inspired by other series it doesn’t appear to stand out much. Yet the different game play is what makes it a good choice for beat-em-up fans
Final Verdict: I like it