REVIEW | Breakneck City

REVIEW | Breakneck City

LifeisXbox’s Breakneck City review | Beat ’em ups, they have a special place in my heart. If I have to name three names it would be The Simpsons Arcade, Battletoads and Streets of Rage 4. The last two games prove that this retro genre can still be awesome to play in a modern setting, especially with Dotemu’s Streets of Rage 4. Breakneck City from developer Renegade Sector aims for a different kind of gamer, the retro gamer. 90s visuals and sound straight from the nostalgic era. I’m hearing the exciting thoughts from retro gamers! Sadly the overall quality is severely lacking and the gameplay lacks any sort of originality so bring that excitement down a notch.

Most Memorable Moment

Using the environment to damage enemies brings a few memorable moments. The first time you kill a bunch of enemies by swinging from a pole or pushing them downstairs is not only fun to see but satisfying too. There’s just not much else positive to talk about, so maybe the most memorable thing about Breakneck City is how blatantly disappointing it is.

ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.

What we Liked!

  • Sound | I’m not sure if you can imagine something with 90s style brawler music but Breakneck City has exactly that in a fantastic nostalgic way. Some classic music and sound effects really bring out the best of anyone’s memories of beat ’em up games. I was glad that I could fill something in here, as the game was dangerously close to not having anything written in the what we liked section.

Mixed Feelings

  • You can play this with a friend! | Two players at the same time can play the levels. It makes a big problem even bigger, as this reduces the difficulty even more. It makes Breakneck City a nice introduction game into the genre though, so you can perfectly play it with a non-gamer or younger person. I’m always grateful when developers add a co-op mode so thumbs up for that Renegade Sector! 
  • Fighting gameplay | There’s two playable characters Sidney or Justine and both fight exactly the same way. No skill is required, you simply mash one of the two attack buttons to damage the street goons. As I explained in the memorable moment section you can use the environment to damage your enemies too, hot steam from pipes, kicking chairs or pushing enemies against walls. A nice implementation as the animations are quite funny to see, for example hooking an enemy on a fish hook for example. I missed a more substantial fighting system, it is nice to pick up a weapon now and then but it all comes down a lot to mashing the attack button. Even with bosses, there isn’t really a tactic besides dodging and button mashing. 
  • Questionable level design | Confusing door entrances weirdly placed health recovery items and invisible walls are three main reasons why I think this has a questionable level design. You have to face over ten enemies and a boss with no health recovery in sight but a bit later you only have to defeat one enemy and have 2 cooked chickens next to each other. Did they last-minute change some of the gang battles? I honestly don’t know but it regularly happens that health is nowhere to be found when you need it and in abundance when you don’t need it. There’s a particular moment in level 3 where a door is so weirdly placed and hidden that I almost give up on finishing the game, this extreme example only happens once but that’s one too many.

What we Disliked

  • Laughably easy, short and no replay value | Take back the streets from challenging foes and tough bosses. That’s the tagline of Breakneck City… in reality, it is one of the easiest games I played in months. I don’t get that you are aiming for the retro beat ’em up gamers, you know the people that finished Battletoads, and then come up with something that’s easier than Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay. After a small hour, you finished the six different levels, without any reason to replay it. There’s nothing to collect, nothing to unlock, no harder difficulty, simply nothing… 
  • Nauseating visuals and camera| I adore it when developers use low-poly graphics, I’m far from the type of gamer that only plays games with realistic graphics. But I just really dislike how this game looks. As you can see in the screenshots Breakneck City’s aesthetic is a bit weird. At times it was as if I was playing a VR game that was making me nauseous. The camera was jumping all over the place and the funky colours and shapes gave my eyes a hard time following what was happening. So after finishing the six levels from the story mode I had to take paracetamol to battle the headache.
  • Animations | Sidney or Justine turn into weird and fast movable objects when you continue to hold the right stick (dodge), at first I thought it was a bug as it looks so incredibly silly. Alas, it ain’t. While you have some good animations with environmental hazards, most of the animations simply aren’t good enough. Your character getting stuck in an object while jumping happens regularly and enemies often get hit by something without you doing anything. As if there’s a ghost helping you, it really made me scratch my head. I guess I should be happy that everything feels responsive?

How long to beat the story | About one to two hours
How long to achieve 1000G | One hour


There has to be a first for everything and this was my first gaming disappointment of 2022. When the only positive thing you can say about a game is about the sound I’m afraid we’re dealing with a bugger then.