A copy of the game was provided by Modus Games for review. Thank you!
The iconic beat 'em up is back and fresher than ever in this iteration and man does it show. Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons is an addicting, side-scrolling fighting game that I had trouble reviewing. Not because it was hard or that I didn't enjoy it, it's because I got so into the game that I stopped paying attention to the mechanics and how well it worked on the Deck and just got sucked into the fun.
The gameplay loop is tight, choosing two characters and going into levels to take down enemies with a combination of normal moves, throws, and jumps. There are also special moves that, if you kill more than 3 at a time, will also drop health. The game also incorporates roguelike elements into it, which keep you on your toes and constantly building out your character and strategizing what kind of playstyle will maximize your strengths. You will buy these upgrades with money you get from killing enemies with special moves and breaking boxes in the environment. I love this addition to the game and feel it really brings a new level of strategy to a genre that is usually just beating up enemies.
You can also use money to exchange for tokens, which you can use to unlock one of nine new characters, tips, art, and music. Each character also has their own moveset, making each one feel distinct. On top of that, you will choose two different characters, so you can mix and match with a faster attacker versus a slower, heavier one. And of course, all of this can be done in split-screen multiplayer with another friend who chooses their own team of two.
Even while I am writing this review, I am playing the game more and just find it very hard to stop and this is partly due to how amazing the game runs on the Steam Deck.
Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise Of The Dragons needs absolutely no changes to run flawlessly on the Steam Deck. Without any caps or limits, you can expect a solid 60 FPS with a 7W - 10W drain, usually hovering around 8.5W - 9W. This is around expected for the game, so I have absolutely no complaints.
The game doesn't have 16:10 resolution support unfortunately, so there are black bars above and below the screen, but they don't impact the game as much. Fortunately, there are cloud saves and full controller support though.
Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise Of The Dragons is a fantastic side-scrolling beat 'em up that combines the fighting gameplay with a roguelike progression system that makes each run feel more meaningful and customizable. Add in fantastic pixel-like visuals to this addicting gameplay loop and you come away with a game that feels like an essential part of your Steam Deck library. This is an easy Best on Deck game and I can't recommend it enough!
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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