President Orama’s been kidnapped by ninjas. The cops are shut down by a corrupt mayor. Who do you call?

Treachery in Beatdown City is a unique brawler with some RPG elements reminiscent of the great River City Ransom for the NES. You play the role of three fighters: Lisa Santiago, the police chief’s daughter; Bruce Maxwell, a stockbroker; and Brad Steele, a retired wrestler. Your job is to figure out what in East Fulton is going on, why was the President kidnapped, and what is Mayor Money Bags up to? I mean, why else would you call a feisty female boxer, a well-educated stockbroker from the hood, and a washed-up clone of Captain Lou Albano? They seemingly all have some insane set of skills.

So what do you get when you take ridiculous characters and hilarious cut scenes smashed into an 8-bit fighter? You get true genius! Right from the start of the game, you get easy to master gameplay and some great chiptunes. It’s not a graphic stunner, but it’s based on the NES, so for what it does do, it does it right.

Each player has (insert the voice of Liam Nielsen) a unique set of skills. Lisa is a boxer with some simple grappler skills, mid-range power, and decent mobility. Bruce is a mixed martial artist with low HP and power, but high mobility with killer combos with range. Brad is a wrestler/grappler. Stupid slow, but high HP and devastating damage.

The RPG elements come in as you advance. You get stronger, earn more combo points, and you learn new moves that work better against certain foes. This game is not a button-mashing fighter like, say, Renegade or Vigilante. It’s semi-real time combat that pauses only when you swing, opening the menu to set up your combos. Now you can’t just go and do your best moves right off the bat. The game requires you to make successful combos to gain more FP or action points. The more you gain, the more you have to use to block, counter, and attack.

Your enemies also have different fighting styles, so you need to learn their characteristics as it’s not so obvious which style they use until they make their attack. They have grapplers that have unblockable moves, sneaky guys that can inflict status ailments, and support types that boost themselves and their party member’s stats. They have a brawler as well. Encounters are preset, and you must fight your way throughout the map to get to each new stage. The game’s difficulty ramps up as you progress. You find fewer items in the map, and the number of enemies increases during each battle; you might fight up to four at a time.

As far as the core game goes, I have mostly praise. It’s fun, plays well, and sounds great. There is a big BUT, though. The game is riddled with glitches, from the game locking up to moves that intermittently cause the game to freeze. The biggest one I found is, depending on where the game data is stored, the second level can be completely inaccessible.

There’s a workaround, however, that I had to follow the developers on Twitter just to figure it out. They tried, saying to change the nodes you save on and try changing the character being used; none of these worked. The instructions on Twitter fixed the issue somewhat. You have to install the game on the internal memory, or the bug can make the game unplayable after level one. Seems like the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing. Now take that and add COVID-19, and a missing programmer who was moving, and you get an irritating runaround that left me feeling that I was their beta tester.

To sum this up, Treachery in Beatdown City is a lot of fun, but I can’t suggest it due to the stability problems. Now I’m not saying to never get the game. What I am saying is I’d wait a while so the devs can hash out the issues. Issues that should have been hashed out and fixed before launching the game. It’s awesome WHEN it works and will be a blast when they get rid of all the bugs. I score it a 5 out of 10 due to major stability issues.