By Ronald Gordon
The art of combat is something that a lot of games can masterfully play around with and enhance. As an avid fan of games with fluid and fun combat mechanics, I can wholeheartedly say that I am not a master at learning them, but if they’re fun I’ll learn faster than most. How did I learn this fact? Midnight Fight Express taught me to harness the art of adaptability as I battled COVID isolation.
Midnight Fight Express is an Isometric Beat-Em-Up developed by Jacob Dzwinel and published by Humble Games. You play as a sleeper agent known as Babyface and you’ve just been brought back into ass kicking action after supposedly dying. It’s up to you and a very helpful drone to clean up the streets and take down a massive crime organization, one bloody knuckle at a time.
Each level plays out a bit the same, you arrive at a scene and have a brief conversation with your friend through the drone, then it’s down to beating and fisticuffs until the end of the level. What changes throughout is the variety of enemies which you encounter and how you can deal with them. You can gain points throughout the level (based on kill variation, time, if you didn’t die, etc.) which will be stacked up by the end to rank how you did. There are even clothes and items you can buy based on the amount of money you gained, and unique challenges for each level to further increase your mastery of the scenario at hand.
If there’s one thing you should know about Midnight Fight Express, it’s that the combat is phenomenal. The game is built on brutally beautiful movement and action packed punches, kicks, and throws that carry realistic weight behind them. You start off with a basic string of punches but as you progress through levels you gain points to level up and improve your threat potential. You can unlock new abilities such as finishers to deal with weakened enemies in flashy ways, parries that smother certain attacks and let you use the momentum against your enemy, throws that can ragdoll goons into other goons, and that’s not even touching weapon capabilities. Once you really get into the groove of things, Midnight Fight becomes a fantastic game within which to rack up a large combo.
Aside from the combat, Midnight Fight Express is hilarious, which is something I enjoyed as I played through it. While the brief summary of the story may seem like the classic formula for a super serious cyberpunk style game, Midnight Fight is everything but that. Aside from the fact that the supposed stone cold killer everyone is afraid of is named Babyface, there’s also splashes of comedic moments present all throughout. From a nameless goon talking about changing their ways only to get splattered by a speeding car to a mandatory pillow fight in a crammed game design office, there’s never a dull moment and that’s what kept me wanting more. There’s even a level full of zombies that kill you in one hit, as if you weren’t expecting something like that.
The music all throughout the game is invigorating to listen to. I’ve already started looking up the songs that were played and adding them to my personal playlists. Each one gets better as you go along and the whole soundtrack itself feels like something you’d blast in your headphones while at the gym. The art style is simple with its isometric shapes but in this case that’s a benefit. It shows that a great creation doesn’t need fantastic graphics, just a style that blends well with its overall feel.
All the good things I’ve said about Midnight Fight not only come from my enjoyment during a trying time, having to isolate myself due to COVID and all, but also the fact that it’s reminded me of a certain idol of mine. His name is Eric Jacobus and he’s an Indie Action Star/Stuntman who, alongside the people at Humble Games, worked to perfect the choreography of Midnight Fight. Their work shows in every game movement and attack, and I’m glad that such a passionate team could help make this offering hat it is: art in motion. I’d highly suggest Midnight Fight Express to anyone looking for a somewhat different but humorous and enticing game that gets better the more you play it.