Beat’em up games have become a dying breed around the same time arcades died out. However, that hasn’t stopped small developers from capturing the magic of those glorious days while also adding some innovation. Sometimes gamers just want to sit down and kick a bunch of butts. No stress, just beating up as many people as possible. With 2022 upon us, this list will showcase upcoming beat’em up games from indie developers. These are sure to be a delight. Let’s get to it!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Being developed by Tribute Games, you could say they are paying tribute to the classic arcade games of the 80s and 90s. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is bringing back the classic look and style of its predecessor. With top-notch pixel art, old-school music, and 4 player co-op, this is looking like one of the best TMNT games in recent years.
So far, Mikey, Leo, Donnie, Raph, and April are playable, but there could be more to come. The game’s release is sometime in 2022 on Steam and Switch. No word if it is coming to PS4/PS5 or Xbox.
Sifu is looking to be one of the greatest martial arts games. Sloclap, the indie developer of Absolver, is creating a wonderfully animated kung fu beat’em up. One of the unique concepts of Sifu is your character’s ability to age. Whenever your character “dies”, he is resurrected and has aged several years. As you progress through the game, the character will unlock permanent upgrades to use against gangs and assassins.
The fighting is looking to be plenty brutal with many weapons to use, as well as using the environment to your advantage, like windows and chairs. This game’s combat mechanic looks similar to Sleeping Dogs. If you loved the fighting in Sleeping Dogs, then Sifu will be right up your alley.
Sifu is coming out for PS4/5 and PC on February 8, 2022.
Midnight Fight Express
If you take hints of Hotline Miami, combat of Sifu, and over-the-top action sequences of John Woo movies, then you would most likely get this game. One person is developing Midnight Fight Express. Jacob Dzwinel is creating an all-out beat’em up by himself.
While there have only been a few trailers, Midnight Fight Express is looking promising. So far, we have seen cool fight sequences, driving sections, being able to use guns, and environmental takedowns. Finding a game where you can just chill and beat the crap out of people is rare. Midnight Fight Express seems to be the perfect game for that and relieves some stress.
Midnight Fight Express is coming to Xbox One (and game pass), PS4, PC, and Switch in the Summer of 2022
River City Girls Zero
First released in 1994 in Japan only, River City Girls Zero is finally making its way to the west. River City Girls Zero lets players experience the first time that Misako and Kyoko teamed up with Kunio and Riki, serving as a prequel to River City Girls. River City Girls Zero keeps the classic 16-bit game unchanged but includes a new cinematic, new cutscenes, and a new theme song.
River City Girls Zero is releasing for the Switch in early 2022.
River City Girls 2
River City Girls 2 is a direct sequel to the 2019 game. Keeping the same gameplay from the original, you can expect fun side-scrolling combat and new moves, techniques, and characters. Also, there are now a total of 6 playable characters, including Kunio and Riki from River City Girls Zero. Kunio and Riki had to be unlocked in the 2019 game. Two new characters are introduced as well.
If you like classic pixel art and the other River City (Kunio-Kun) games, then this game will most likely be for you. River City Girls 2 releases for PS4/5, Xbox One, Series S/X, Switch, and PC in Summer 2022.
MultiVersus is Smash Bros with a WB IP coat. While MultiVersus isn’t a beat’em up in the most classical sense. It can still be considered an online beat’em up platform game or brawler, which is why I am putting it on this list. Player First Games is developing the game, which features many big names across the WB IP. Characters like Superman, Batman, Bugs Bunny, Shaggy, and Steven Universe.
With so many characters to pull from the WB IP, this game’s roster could be massive. Also, yes, WBIE is publishing the game, but Player First Games is an indie developer.
MultiVersus will be free-to-play for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, Series S/X, and PC. With up to 4 players in a match and cross-play, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to this game in 2022.
Taking inspirations from fighting games like Marvel Vs. Capcom and Final Fight, Jitsu Squad is looking to be a chaotic blast. Jitsu Squad features crisp and vibrant art, big combos, a 4-player co-op, and super special. Having reached many milestone goals for their Kickstarter, Tanuki Creative Studio will be adding many other features like a new game plus. Also, as a bonus, fighting game enthusiast: Maximilian Dood will also be added to the game.
If you are a fan of games like Battletoads or fighting games, then you should be looking out for this game when it releases on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch in Q1 2022. However, you don’t have to wait to play it, as there is a free demo available. So give the game a try.
The brawler and beat’em up games are seeing a resurgence lately, and I am here for it. With so many great-looking beat’em up indie games coming out this year and sometime next year, it seems indie developers are bringing back the classic genre. There are many more indie beat’em ups coming out that I haven’t mentioned. Let me know what beat’em up is on your radar this year or the next.
I am a gamer by day and by night. I started out writing game reviews for small online forums as a hobby way back in 2005. Since then, I have grown my knowledge for writing and gaming to continue my journey into something more.