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Streets of Rage 4 review: Brand-new yet retro punchfest

(XO/PS4/Sw/PC) ***** Age: 12+

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Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4

Deliver Us The Moon

Deliver Us The Moon

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Streets of Rage 4

We're drowning in reboots, remakes, remasters and reproductions, so the revival of a long-dead beat-em-up franchise hardly fills the heart with joy.

We're drowning in reboots, remakes, remasters and reproductions, so the revival of a long-dead beat-em-up franchise hardly fills the heart with joy.

But more than a quarter-century after SoR3 propped up the fading years of the Sega Mega Drive console, this sequel makes a surprisingly delightful return for the side-scrolling brawler. Produced by the gang responsible for 2017's equally reverential Wonder Boy resuscitation, SoR4 harks to a simpler time and resists the temptation to complicate its themes and mechanics.

The punchfest requires little more than marching left to right, whacking seven shades out of the muscled street punks in your way. Yet its exquisite symbiosis of exhilarating tunes, cartoonish visuals and crisp combat concocts a very moreish confection. It's retro yet modern, paradoxically.

Certainly, its origins are clear, rooted in the 2.5D arcade tradition of Double Dragon and Final Fight, which inspired Sega to create Streets for the Mega Drive. SoR4's modernisation reminds us not all games need be all Byzantine plots, endless side quests and padding.

It's lean, yes, but loaded with fresh nuance, in the form of special moves, environmental damage such as live electricity wires and a wrecking ball, and a diverse roster of characters.


Deliver Us The Moon

(XO/PS4/Sw/PC) **** Age: 12+

Close

Deliver Us The Moon

Deliver Us The Moon

Deliver Us The Moon

Maybe lockdown is not the best time to experience the cold loneliness of empty space. But if Deliver Us The Moon achieves anything, it's nailing the chilly atmosphere of a solo mission to suss what happened at a now-silent lunar base.

We've seen this scenario before, of course - everything from Alien to Tacoma to Adr1ft - and DUTM reuses some familiar building blocks to construct its story. You'll feel a faint air of menace as you wander through disorienting corridors, pluck story threads from audio logs and twiddle inscrutable knobs to unlock a new area. But you never lose the sense of a place in which you're utterly alone.

The writers aren't afraid of changing the pace for a quick adrenaline rush - such as when you're blasted into space and must race through zero gravity to an airlock - but mostly they're immersing the player in the slow-burn of its absorbing storyline.


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