Video games are great for a variety of reasons. Although they are primarily used as a source of entertainment or to provide content creators with a steady income, today we’ll focus on yet another important function of playing games – relieving stress and defusing anger.
Let’s take a look at some of the best beat ‘em up video games to blow off some steam on the list down below.
|Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle||2018-10-10||Action||CAPCOM CO., LTD.||60%|
|Streets of Rage 4||2020-04-30||Action||DotEmu||22%|
|Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara||2013-06-18||Adventure||Iron Galaxy Studios||68%|
|Castle Crashers||2012-09-26||Adventure||The Behemoth|
|The TakeOver||2019-11-10||Action & Shooter||Pelikan13|
|Dungeon Punk||2016-08-24||Adventure||Hyper Awesome Entertainment|
|Mother Russia Bleeds||2016-09-05||Fighting||Le Cartel Studio||74%|
|River City Ransom: Underground||2017-02-27||Fighting||Conatus Creative Inc.||83%|
|99Vidas||2016-12-22||Action & Shooter||QUByte Interactive||59%|
|One Finger Death Punch 2||2019-04-15||Fighting||Silver Dollar Games||80%|
|One Finger Death Punch||2014-03-03||Arcade & Platform||Silver Dollar Games||66%|
|Double Dragon Trilogy||2015-01-15||Arcade & Platform||DotEmu||15%|
|Double Dragon IV||2017-01-30||Action & Shooter||Arc System Works||59%|
|Golden Axe II||2010-10-26||Action & Shooter||SEGA|
|Streets of Rage||2011-01-26||Fighting||SEGA|
Final Fight (Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle)
|Genre||Beat 'em up|
Final Fight is a great game to start the list – it’s a classic old-school beat ‘em up focused entirely on fighting the baddies, so your thirst for blood should be easily satisfied.
Final Fight is a classic formula – as a skilled martial artist, you will be tasked with clearing the streets of the fictional Metro City by defeating countless members of the Mad Gear Gang and other troublemakers. If the idea sounds appealing to you, then you may be interested in checking out Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle – a collection of re-released Capcom’s classic beat ‘em up games that include not only the mentioned Final Fight, but also Captain Commando, The King of Dragons, Knights of the Round, Warriors of Fate, Armored Warriors, and Battle Circuit.
Streets of Rage 4
|Genre||Beat 'em up game|
If you’re looking for some retro action but in a more modern version, then one of the recently released beat ‘em ups Streets of Rage 4 could be a solid choice.
Streets of Rage 4 doesn’t have the most interesting story out there, but in this kind of game, it doesn’t even matter – literally any reason to beat some punks would do, because fluid and satisfying gameplay is always a priority in beat ‘em ups. The game features several unique characters to choose from, including the ones introduced in previous Streets of Rage games. The most important change when compared to the game’s predecessors is the presentation layer – developers decided to give cel-shaded visuals a go, and it looks gorgeous.
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
|Developer||Iron Galaxy Studios|
A mix of a role-playing game with a side-scrolling beat ‘em up is not something you stumble upon every day, and it’s a shame because it’s surprisingly entertaining.
D&D: Chronicles of Mystara is a re-released compilation of two other Capcom titles that are an interesting take on the most popular classic old-school tabletop RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, as it throws a beat ‘em up genre to the mix, which results in something that fills a very specific video game market niche.
As opposed to other beat ‘em ups, combat in Chronicles of Mystara requires a slightly more strategic approach – opponents usually have access to the same abilities as player characters, encouraging players to resort to blocking, crouching, and evading, and not just simply mashing buttons to punch enemies to death.
Castle Crashers is another cool game that could help you silence your inner demons and kick some butts in a safe environment, where only virtual characters will be hurt.
Castle Crashers will take you to a fantasy world, where you will be tasked with making your way through hordes of enemies in order to rescue four kidnapped princesses. Story-wise it’s rather simple and straightforward, but when it comes to gameplay, it’s a very solid side-scrolling beat ‘em up game with role-playing elements, including character progression.
Although the game can be played solo, it becomes much more fun if you form a party with up to 3 friends. If that’s not enough to convince you to try the game, then maybe the game’s overwhelmingly positive reviews on the Steam platform would do the trick.
|Genre||Action & Shooter|
This one’s a modern fighting game, but it’s stylized to look like some of the good old arcade classics from the ’80s, and it does its job of disguising itself as a retro game quite well.
The TakeOver is a classic beat ‘em up game with occasional fast-paced action sequences, such as flying a fighter aircraft while shooting enemy planes down and avoiding their missiles, or driving a car while firing its mounted machine gun to defeat the opponents. What makes melee combat in The TakeOver particularly fun is the existence of a combo system that allows players to chain their attacks to stunlock the opponents and deal massive damage through a series of deadly precise strikes.
|Developer||Hyper Awesome Entertainment|
If you’re filled with fury and anger, then instead of projecting it onto someone else, consider starting a new fantasy adventure in Dungeon Punks.
Dungeon Punks is an addictive indie title that will surely steal some of your free time without you even noticing. The game focuses on delivering a classic beat ‘em up experience, which means that you can expect a lot of side-scrolling action happening.
The twist is, however, that it’s also an action role-playing game, and it takes place in a fantasy setting, meaning that you’ll have not only standard attacks at your disposal but powerful spells as well. Also, there is room for a party of 4 players, but if you don’t have anyone to play with, then you can easily control the entire team yourself.
Mother Russia Bleeds
|Developer||Le Cartel Studio|
Releasing anger can also be easily done while playing Mother Russia Bleeds – there are a lot of baddies to beat, so you will have more than enough targets to practice your moves on.
Mother Russia Bleeds will take you to Soviet Russia, where your mission is to find your way out from a hidden laboratory, where you were experimented on, find the people responsible for your enslavement, and hopefully – exact revenge on them. Gameplay-wise it’s a solid beat ‘em up action with pixel art visuals, so if you’re looking for some nostalgia-inducing experience, then you’re in for a treat.
There is a story, but it’s a rather simple one and it’s there mainly to explain the reason why you’re fighting and who’s your enemy. The game allows players to play alone, but it also comes with the co-op for up to 4 players, which makes things infinitely more fun.
River City Ransom: Underground
|Developer||Conatus Creative Inc.|
River City Random is a perfect game if you’re looking for a fighting title that has a more open-ended nature and adds some role-playing elements to the mix.
Beat ‘em ups usually allow players to only go right and force players to beat everyone before giving them access to further parts of the stage. However, that’s not the case with River City Ransom which features an open-world environment with non-linear gameplay – quite a unique sight, and worth giving a try for this reason alone.
But if that’s not enough to convince you, then maybe 8-bit music combined with early SNES visuals will change your mind – it’s a true nostalgia trip that you wouldn’t want to miss.
|Genre||Action & Shooter|
Back to more recent games that are made to look like retro classics. 99Vidas is a solid choice to play whenever you feel like you need to punch someone in the face.
99Vidas is a side-scrolling 2D beat ‘em up game with the pixel art style. It’s similar to some old arcade games in both how it looks and how it plays – quite a feat for a modern game to be able to capture the spirit of the classic fighting games, but 99Vidas nailed it perfectly. Combat is very smooth and dynamic, attacks are fluid and can be chained into effective combos, and controls are responsive and intuitive.
It’s also super easy to learn, which means that you can jump into action and start enjoying every minute of the game from the very beginning. If you add great multiplayer and character progression to the mix, you get a game that shouldn’t be slept on.
One Finger Death Punch 2
|Genre||Beat 'em up|
|Developer||Silver Dollar Games|
For the final game on the list, we’ve got a title that focuses on stickmen fighting, but don’t let this simple idea fool you – it’s incredibly addictive.
One Finger Death Punch 2 is a game that allows players to fight against hordes of stickman-like enemies, but it’s not your typical beat ‘em up game. Instead of being able to freely walk around the arena while executing attacks and combos at will to defeat chosen targets, here, you can’t move at all.
Instead, you’ll have to just click the left and right mouse buttons as enemies approach your character from both sides – clicking at the right moment gets rid of one enemy, and the objective is to clear the stage by defeating them all.
Best Beat ‘Em Up Games to Play Right Now
Beat ‘em up video games can be a great way to not only entertain yourself but also to release anger. Instead of punching someone in the real world, you have the opportunity to kick virtual butts, so no one’s hurt except for those who were unfortunate enough to cross their paths with you in the game you’re currently playing.
Beat ‘em up games have a long history – they were the king of arcade a few decades ago, but today they can be enjoyed in their largely original form on modern consoles and computers. No more “insert coin to continue” – you can buy the game once and play it as much as you want.
Old-school fighting games are still an inspiration for new developers, which means that we get new cool beat ‘em ups every year, and there’s already plenty of interesting titles to choose from. If you’re interested in checking them out, then take a look at our list above, where we collected a number of titles that can be considered the best beat ‘em up games to play right now.