The M1 chipset in mac resulted in the rebirth or indeed birth of being able to game on the Mac, many AAA games are more than pretty playable, Apple Arcade games of course run fluidly but what’s really interested me is the surge in indie games. To thanks to a reddit thread I’ve been making my way through Battle Dragon, an 80’s style game insipired by arcade classics such as Double Dragon and XXX.
Battle Dragon calls itself a Retro style Beat’em up and its hard to disagree. From the outset the grapical presentation is nostalga laden. Gameplay follows simple left to right scroller using basic commads of directions, jump and attack. There is no pause to clear the screen you can just keep going, maybe a gameplay element for the future or a speed runners dream.
Boxes allow you to jump onto new levels, collect health replemisments, which you will need as early on you can get swamped, pushed into a corner and waiting for a moment to break out and recover. Moves are limited to punch or jump n kick mechanics.
There’s a mix of crt scan lines and on first impression there’s a heady mix of megadrive and snes concepts nicely mixed up together. The somewhat more advanced graphics of the SNES such as the water falls lookign very much part of the 16 bit era with shades of Megadrive fluidity. One some levels the sky is cyan, a flashback to the ega graphics of the 90’s pc eara.
Level design graphically just enough differences to keep things fresh, one minute it’s a subway, the next a beach to keep things varied. Enemy sprites are varied and if you have time to notice some are pallette swaps but more than likely you’ll be too busy to notice.
Music and sound nicely match the setting akin to a 90’s action film where the hero is out on the rampage in the aciton scene we’ve been waiting for throughout the film.
Battle Dragon has pulled me in for a quick play ore than a few times due to it’s simple pick up and play mechanics and unlike apple arcade giving a feeling of a game where the monetization elememts are removed to make it free.
It’s unfair to be too critical of a single developer, pre release $2 game but still worth mentioning
Move wise I’m left aching for just a few more moves to the game. If anyone has played Target renegade on the spectrum will know what I mean. If you are beating the snot out of someone in front of you hitting a three punch combo, a nice backick would be welcome to give yourself a breather.
Boxes look smashable on the first play instead of used for platform jumping and speaking of jumping it’s a little off. Perhaps an unexpected homage to dodgy platformers of the 8 bit age yet it’s way to ease to get it frustratingly wrong even when you know 100% you are lined up right
Battle Dragon is worth a try 100% especially as it’s a rare Apple native game and I truely hope the developer finds that sweet spot by adding a little more but avoiding a comparison to more complex and bigger budget games like the Streets of Rage re-release.
Battle Dragon for Mac / Windows / Linux / Android is currently priced at $2 available at https://badjano.itch.io/battle-dragon