Game Review: The Asskickers
Release: June 30, 2011
Genre: 2D Beat’em Up
Developer: AGO Games
Available Platforms: PC and Mac
ESRBP Rating: Not Rated
Website: The Asskickers
The Asskickers is a traditional 2D beat’em up game from French developer AGO Games which pays homage to classics such as Streets of Rage or Double Dragon. Just like the classics, Asskickers features a local only (aka, not online) two player co-op option, along with three different game modes including Story, Survival and Time Attack. Available only on PC and Mac, the graphics are presented in colorful high definition across the game’s six levels, and hopping into the game for some button mashing action is both quick and easy. But is it worth your time?
Asskickers stays true to the classic beat em’ up formula, with hordes of witless enemies pouring from the sides of the screen as you press onward through each level. However, for some odd French reason that seems to be beyond my comprehension, instead of fighting gang members or ninjas like in the classics, AGO Games has decided to pit us against preppy college boys with pink golf sweaters, khakis and mopeds. Controls stay true to what you might expect, consisting of three buttons for jump, attack and use. After defeating the boss at the end of each level, the player is then prompted for ‘Ass Kicking Time,’ in which you spam the attack button as quickly as you can while your avatar mercilessly slaps the boss’ back side with a horse whip. It’s a childish, yet strangely rewarding experience; and one of the few things aside from the oddly chosen enemies that makes this game stand out.
From the selection screen, you will have three different characters with slightly different play styles available to you, which include a big buff dude (Marcus), a skinny hipster chick- who also happens to be an off duty cop -(Diane), and an average Joe in a white button up shirt and blue jeans (Alex). Their play styles are about what you would expect them to be, with the big dude being strong and slow, the chick weak but quick, and the average Joe being somewhere in between. Sadly, however, these play styles aren’t as distinct as I might have hoped for.Thankfully, the game does feature a few co-op combos and maneuvers that can freshen up the experience.
I really appreciate the lighthearted style and feel of this game, all the way from the kiddish title to the ridiculous enemies. I particularly enjoyed the business men enemies that would explode into a confetti of dollar bills upon defeat. And lets not forget their head CEO- one of the game’s bosses -with his demonic power to summon flaming piles of cash; or the fact that the final boss is the president of the United States. This is the first game to come out of the small Indie developer, and you can tell that they had a lot of fun putting it together. There were multiple times that I found myself laughing or letting out a small chuckle, which is something I appreciate from my games (depending on the setting, of course). Also, as I said in the beginning, it is really easy to just pick this game up and start playing with a friend.
Sadly, those are the only highlights I can pull from this game, because the rest isn’t much count, to tell truth. I have spent a significant amount of time with this game (not voluntarily, I might add), and I feel that I can safely say that although it tries to be reminiscent of games like Kung-Fu Master or Streets of Rage, it truly falls short and you would be much better off simply playing one of the aforementioned classic games because they are far more enjoyable. Normally, when a modern game tries to recreate one of the classic 2D genres, you would expect it to have everything that the old games had, and more. Asskickers, on the other hand, falls short of what the old games used to be in terms of level design, controls, enemy variety, single to co-op difficulty scaling, and animations. The game is also riddled with annoying bugs and glitches, which even forced me to have to restart a level more than once (I believe the final count was 5).
Being a huge fan of hack and slash or beat’em up games like Dungeon Fighter Online or Ninja Gaiden, I really wanted to enjoy this game. The sad truth, however, is that this game reminds me more of what I would expect to see from a group project in a High School computer science class, but with fancy HD sprites/graphics. The controls are bad, the characters and enemies are boring, and you basically know everything that the game has to offer after playing it for thirty seconds. If you are a retro 2-D beat’em up fan, then there are a dozen titles I would recommend to you over this one.
- Amusing enemies and situations
- Co-op can be fun for awhile
- Bad controls
- Bugs and glitches
- Boring enemies and playable characters
Final Score 2 out of 10