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OutRage: Fight Fest is a back-to-basics beat ’em-up that blends old and new

There’s something reassuringly old-school about the meaty punchups of OutRage: Fight Fest, a straightforward but satisfying beat ’em-up that also manages to blend in some smart new ideas.

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The more hits you land amidst OutRage’s constant flurry of action – using melee weapons, pieces of scenery or just your good ol’ fashioned fists – the bigger your on-screen character becomes, and the closer you get to unleashing an Over Rage ability (more on those in a moment). But growing large also makes you more of a target – in my experience at least.

OutRage’s current Steam Next Fest demo offers two match types to try – and there’s a mix of old and new. A classic Domination mode features zone control, where two teams of four battle it out across the game’s relatively large and rather destructible arenas. There’s also a 16-player version of a battle royale mode, as all combatants seek to survive as long as possible within a slowly-shrinking circle of death.


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More modes are set to arrive in the full game, including a Capture the Flag-style offering and an option where you can ‘bank’ Rage, like on a particularly grumpy version of The Weakest Link. Goodbye! More characters and more Over Rage abilities are also set to arrive as well – adding to the current roster of fireballs and AOE effects with an electric hamster ball of destruction you can roll around in.

Perhaps this blend of classic gameplay with modern additions shouldn’t be too surprising, considering the heritage of the team behind it. OutRage is the first project set to launch from Hardball Games, a fresh name for a crew of industry veterans that previously worked together on CSR Racing, Split Second and Pure.

OutRage: Fight Fest gameplay trailer.Watch on YouTube

There’s clear inspiration here from classics of the beat ’em-up genre, and the usual ability to punch, kick, throw or build combos with appropriately-timed button presses. There’s also some really rather pleasing visual flair, with neon-drenched battle spaces, pools of fire and lava, cartoonish fighting effects, and wacky costumes. It’s here you feel the influence of more modern brawlers – like Gang Beasts or, more recently, Party Animals – mixed in too. OutRage’s current Steam demo is online only, but the full game will offer local co-op play when it arrives – it’s expected sometime later this year.

OutRage was originally announced as a 32-player game, and around a year ago I played this version of it. It was, I have to say, a little bit too chaotic, so I’m pleased to see OutRage re-emerge now, better tuned – and looking far readier for full launch. Bigger isn’t always better, then – but it can still be plenty of fun.

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