I have a lot of love and respect for solo indie devs. Creating a game on your own can’t be an easy thing to do. Oscar Celestini is one of those solo devs and he has teamed up with publisher 7 Raven Studios to release an updated version of his 2020 game with Last Beat Enhanced.
“Vanquish the Mad Stroke gangs across 8 levels! Punch and kick your way to defeat enemies, use melee and throwing weapons to defeat the most powerful bosses, collect bonuses and enjoy special shots. Race your motorbike at full speed in the bonus stages, earn money to unlock additional characters and secret images from a rich gallery!”
Last Beat Enhanced is an old-school, stylised beat ’em up. Think along the lines of the NES version of Double Dragon and there you go. Featuring multiple characters, each with varying stats, strengths and weaknesses. You have your standard beat ’em up gameplay and plough your way through dozens upon dozens of bad guys (and gals) and take on a boss at the end of each stage. There’s one attack button, a jump, block/parry and of course, a special move. It really is all pretty much standard stuff.
What gives Last Beat Enhanced a bit of a USP is that you earn money for upgrades and to unlock new characters. How you earn that money is simple, beat people up. You’ll earn coin for every hit you land and every enemy you defeat. Now, if you can string together blows without you getting hit yourself, you’ll increase your beat multiplier. The higher the multiplier, the more money you will earn. So, there’s a real incentive to not just ‘button mash’, but to try and actually pick your targets and attacks carefully, as to not leave yourself open to a fist to the face and break your multiplier.
Money can also be found just lying around on the levels too. As this is a classic beat ’em up, you’ll find various items lying around or when you break open boxes, barrels and such. Health items, weapons and so on. The main stages are interjected with some bonus stages such as you riding a motorbike or smashing up a car with your fists (where have I seen that before?). As I said earlier, this is very standard stuff for this genre.
As you can see from the trailer and screens here, Last Beat Enhanced has a very 8-bit graphical style. It kind of looks like a game that would have been produced if the NES had a love child with the Master System. The pixel art is fine and works well too, with some nice little background details on the levels. There are secrets to find on each stage and loads of unlockable art and such. There’s also the addition of a two-player couch co-op option, very old school.
Last Beat Enhanced is going to set you back the princely sum of around £9, available now on all the consoles. Oscar Celestini has done a great job of capturing that old-school beat ’em up feel. But I don’t think that I’d be happy spending £9 on this though. It’s a nice little distraction for a couple of hours and fun for a short while. If you want to unlock all of the extras and art work, etc, then be prepared for a lot of grinding, several dozen hours of it. Then there is the upgrade thing, they only last for one run. You can spend an hour or so saving up the cash for an upgrade, and it’ll only last until you lose your one and only life. Then you have to spend that hour or so to buy the upgrade again.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy Last Beat Enhanced, because I did. It really is a well-made and is a loving tribute to the likes of Double Dragon and the whole late 80s/early 90s beat ’em up craze. I just don’t think that this is quite worth the £9 asking price. Wait a while and grab it in a sale instead.