Midnight Fight Express Review 2022 – A Wild Beat ‘Em Up
In Midnight Fight Express, there are two characters named Kyler Turden and Chef Favreau. Kyler Turden is a play on the bad guy in Fight Club, and Chef Favreau is a reference to Iron Man and Chef director Jon Favreau. It starts with a quote from the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which came out in 1865. You’re not the only one who’s confused about why a game that’s supposed to be based on ’80s action movies makes references to things that are definitely not from that era. This is a good way to figure out the tone of the game, which is all over the place and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Midnight Fight Express is a period-specific action game, but its roots are only really shown in the game’s incredibly violent gameplay, which pits a one-man army against an endless stream of bozos, cronies, and corrupt cops. There’s not much to the game besides the fighting. Midnight Fight Express is basically a modern beat-em-up, with 3D fighting and an isometric view instead of the usual 2D sprites and side-scrolling. It has fast-paced, active action that only slows down when the story gets in the way. Its motion-captured animations are impressive and surprising for a game made by a small studio like Humble Games.
In fact, Jacob Dzwinel was the main person who made Midnight Fight Express. But it’s his work with famous stuntmen Eric Jacobus (God of War, The Last of Us: Part II) and Fernando Jay Huerto (Destiny 2) that really brings the game’s painful combat to life.
At its core, Midnight Fight Express is like the Batman: Arkham games in how it works. You are often surrounded by enemies, but your fighting skills let you quickly dash from one to the next, combining attacks quickly, and counterattacking when an enemy lunges at you. You can dodge people with baseball bats, knives, and other weapons, and each bone-breaking hit feels like it has a lot of weight to it, which is a lot of fun. The guns, in particular, are powerful and deadly, and the controls are responsive, which makes clearing rooms full of angry thugs especially fun. The only problem is that your finishers and your revolver are both assigned to the same button. This means that you’ll often waste a rare shot when you just wanted to kill an enemy quickly.
As you move up each branch of the skill tree, it doesn’t take long for your list of deadly moves to grow. This is where Midnight Fight Express starts to stand out from games that started out like Batman. Your basic attacks start to change, adding ground pounds, brutal uppercuts, and power slides that knock enemies off their feet. Later in the game, you’ll be able to use a rope to pull enemies toward you or throw them in a circle to knock out their friends. There is also a single-shot revolver that uses unusual ammunition, such as electrified bullets and mines that go where they are set off.
Over time, you can also move from combos to grabs and finishing moves that are dangerous. When you grab an enemy, you have a few options. You can throw them to the ground, where they’ll get hit by a bunch of fists, or you can lift them over your shoulders and throw them into the nearest wall. Finishers, on the other hand, are brutal and sometimes funny exclamation points at the end of a combo that let you kill an enemy with fury and style.
These finishing moves use techniques from Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Hapkido, and wrestling, so there is already a lot of room for variety. After all, Midnight Fight Express says that different kinds of fights are what make them interesting. There are hundreds of mo-capped moves built into the game. For example, you can use a German suplex to spike an opponent’s head into the ground, catch a head kick and respond with a quick nut shot, or beat someone up with a barrage of elbow and knee strikes.
These moves don’t just work between two characters who are facing each other. There are also dozens and dozens of finishers that change based on the context. If an enemy is, say, standing up against a wall or lying face down on the floor, you’ll see a different animation. If they are next to a sink, you might smash their face through the porcelain. If they fight you halfway up an oil rig, you might throw them over a railing. Depending on what kind of weapon you’re using, there are also many ways to end a fight with it, and the same is true once you learn how to counter an armed opponent.
There are 100 weapons in the game, including knives, tire irons, toilet plungers, and many different kinds of guns. Guns let you kill a lot of enemies quickly and easily, but you only get one magazine before the gun runs out of bullets. Most people use melee weapons, and each environment is like a sandbox where you can try out new things. A scoring system that ranks your performance at the end of each level gives you a reason to be creative. This means using different types of killing blows from what you already have and also making use of the environment. This could mean picking up and using different weapons, knocking enemies off their feet by kicking chairs and cardboard boxes at them, or throwing an explosive that instantly turns anyone in its blast radius into giblets.
This scoring system and the addition of different challenges and leaderboards for each level make the game more fun to play again and again. There are a total of 41 levels, which sounds like a lot, but most of them only last five minutes. They are also very different, including seedy nightclubs, skyscrapers, subway tunnels, and a satirical game studio where you can beat up the developers with pillows and nerf guns. You can change things up by jumping on a jet ski or a motorcycle, and some of the levels feel very different because of the spaces you fight in. Fighting enemies in an elevator isn’t the same as fighting on a construction site, where there’s room to move and you can throw people off a half-finished building.
There are sometimes other things going on, too. In one of the early levels, you have to move through a train car while fighting enemies on a moving belt inside. At the same time, a helicopter is outside and shooting through the windows. You end up fighting for the safe space between each window, but you can use the sniper fire to your advantage since the other people on the train are just as vulnerable to it as you are. The game as a whole also has a thumping soundtrack by Noisecream that goes well with the exciting rhythm of the combat.
On the other hand, the story isn’t much more than a bother, in part because it goes on and on. The whole game takes place in one night, and you have to stop criminals from taking over the whole city. Babyface is the main character, but he doesn’t talk. Instead, you’re joined by a drone that talks a lot. Since there is no voice acting in Midnight Fight Express, there are often lines of text that stop the fast-paced action. A lot of the dialogue also seems unnecessary, as it often gives background information about enemy types that doesn’t add anything to the story. Some of the jokes are funny, but the story’s attempts to be serious fall flat because the main character is such a non-entity. This makes it tempting to skip dialogue and get back to the action.
Midnight Fight Express doesn’t have much to offer besides bloody battles, but those fights are so deep, varied, and satisfying that it might not need much more. As you get closer to the credits, the game does start to repeat itself, but the many mo-capped animations make sure that you’re still finding new ways to beat enemies unconscious five hours in. This shows how well a game can be made when motion capture is used so much. It’s hard to stand out when games like Sifu and TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge offer different takes on the same genre, but Midnight Fight Express is easy to recommend to anyone who wants a good brawler.