Best Beat ‘Em Up Games On PS4 or Xbox One So Far

Side-scrolling beat ’em up brawler games were really popular back in the 1990’s. This genre is still around but has taken a back seat to bigger genres now. PS4 and Xbox One both have a decent beat em ups collection at the moment, with even more titles being released this year. This article showcases the best beat em ups currently available for both PS4 and Xbox One. As new games are released this article will be updated!

8. Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive

#8 Phantom Breaker Battle Grounds Overdrive
– Available On PSN & Xbox One Marketplace
Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive is a unique but fun beat em up game. The first thing I noticed was the bright and colorful anime-style characters and graphics. It kind of gives me that Viewtiful Joe vibe. What makes this unique though is the gameplay. Instead of 2D side-scrolling in a 3D area, the Phantom breaker has two 2D areas to jump back and forth between, depending on where the enemies are. Phantom Breakers enemies will become more challenging later in the game, so it’s best to learn all your attacks and combo moves well. The leveling system is also nice, it adds a bit of an RPG element. Where the player can upgrade simple stats such as Attack, Defense and speed. Even though the game is fairly short and levels are limited, players might have fun trying to level up the large roster of playable characters. While other players might find the short gameplay to be repetitive. Each character has there own unique weapons and attacks! Phantom breaker can be played with 2 players locally or online.
– Gameplay Video

7. Wulverblade

#7 Wulverblade
– Available On PSN & Xbox One Marketplace
When playing Wulverblade I could tell it was inspired by Golden Axe. The player will play as a Britannian warrior on a quest to defeat the Roman army that wishes to conquer the land. The game features 8 levels to play through, spanning from forests, rivers, castles and more. There are two modes to play through arcade or story. Story mode has some extra story sequences and saves checkpoints, while arcade mode gives you a couple of lives and if you die it’s game over. The game is a straight forward, up to 2 players, enjoyable beat ’em up with nothing too special. There is historical notes you can find that are really interesting. Overall this one is fun, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking!
– Gameplay Video

6. Mother Russia Bleeds

#6 Mother Russia Bleeds
– Available On PSN & Xbox One Marketplace
Mother Russia Bleeds has a classic beat ’em up gameplay style with a Grungy art style. Oh, I forgot to mention this is also ultra-violent. Some of the scenes are full of gore and might be a little hard to stomach for weaker violence tolerate gamers. The story takes place in 1980’s Russia where the four playable characters are on the run from the government after being named evil Gypsies. The player’s job is to take down a variety of enemies, including government forces, human mutations, and low lives, in a world where everyone is fighting to survive. A drug called Necro can be collected and is permitted for use if the player needs health or wants to enter berserk mode. The combat is pretty normal for a beat ’em up, with optional weapons the player can pick up off the ground. The enemy AI can be pretty dumb at times, to the point where it affects the fun factor a bit. Overall the 8 levels and gruesome set pieces/combat should please most beat ’em up fans.
– Gameplay Video

5. Knack 2 (PS4 Exclusive)

#5 Knack 2

– See It On Amazon
Of course, Knack 2 is not a traditional beat ’em up, but it shares enough gameplay elements to be listed here. Technically speaking I would consider knack 2 to be a 3D Beat ’em up platformer with some puzzle solving. A lot of gamers would probably never list it on a beat em up’s top list, oh well it’s here lol. Knack 2 is best played cooperatively with 2 players, with a friend or family member that’s craving some butt-kicking action. The fighting can become very chaotic on screen with 2 players beating down large numbers of enemies and using special attacks. The game slowly introduces the player to new fighting moves that keep the combat gameplay feeling fresh and fun. Alternatively, item parts and relic skill points unlock new special moves and powers also. Big Knack can transform into smaller knack at any time, it’s usually useful when he needs to get into smaller areas. There is a lot of gameplay here, with the main story clocking in at over 11 hours.
– Gameplay Video

4. Foul Play

#5 Foul Play
– Available On PSN & Xbox One Marketplace
Foul play definitely deserves more recognition, then it currently has. It’s a fantastic sidescrolling brawler, where the entire game takes place in front of a live studio audience. Players will go through levels based on historical events (mostly Egyptian) as demon hunter Baron Dashforth and his sidekick Scampwick. The crowd will show their emotion, depending on what’s happening on stage, while the player is fighting. Nothing like hearing cheers, when nice combos are linked together. The combat gameplay is simple, but it works so well. The bosses and story are also high points of Foul play. It’s nice to see a beat em up with a decent story for a change. Playing Co-Op with a friend, trying to complete challenges is also loads of fun. Foul play is recommended if you are seeking a beat ’em up that’s both exciting and different.
– Gameplay Video

3. 99Vidas

#4 99Vitas
– Available On PSN & Xbox One Marketplace
99Vidas is by far the best 4 player arcade style beat ’em up brawler available for current gen consoles. The graphics, combat gameplay and special moves are executed beautifully and it kind of reminds me of another fantastic beat ’em up called Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. There are 6 levels and 2 bonus levels to play through with a nerdy podcast brawlers story theme. There are 11 characters to play as in all, including locked ones. Some of the characters attacks are similar to each other, but they have there own stats and special moves. Players will have to learn how certain enemies and bosses attack in order to defeat them, so there is some trial and error, but this challenge adds more depth to the gameplay. Overall playing alone is fun but playing with 4 players that love the genre is a blast.
– Gameplay Video

2. Castle Crashers Remastered (Xbox One Exclusive)

#2 Castle Crashers
Castle Crashers is probably the largest and most ambitious beat em up RPG ever created. Previously released on  PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Xbox One received there own exclusive HD remastered version. The remastered version is basically the same game with improved textures, resolution and an added mini-game. Playing as knight characters, the player must go on a quest to save the kings 4 princesses, who have been captured by the dark wizard. There are 31 playable knight characters to unlock, level up and power up in Castle Crashers. All characters have there own exclusive special powers, and stats. The best way to play Castle Crashers is online or offline with 4 players. The player can jump into a hosted level with a friend at any time, making quick in and out (no pun intended) gameplay very fun. Some of the enemies and bosses require skill or high-level characters to defeat them. The level design is also very impressive, with very creative designs such as a raft, running, and hell themed levels. If you own an Xbox One and haven’t played Castle Crashers Remastered yet, you need to buy it ASAP, especially if you loves beat ’em up’s.
– Available On PSN & Xbox One Marketplace
– Gameplay Video

1. Yakuza 0 & Yakuza Kiwami (PS4 Exclusive)

#1 Yakuza 0
– See It On Amazon
Yakuza 0 is another game that hardcore beat ’em up fans probably did not expect to see on this list, let alone at #1  so far. We all have to ask the question… Is Yakuza a JRPG? Is it an action-adventure? Is it a beat ’em up? I think it’s all three of those genres rolled into one. There is no denying that the combat gameplay in the Yakuza series feels very similar to some classic beat em up’s. At first glance, it’s hard to notice how similar the combat is to beat ’em up’s because of the full 3D graphics and sectional fights. The story in Yakuza is ultra violent and exciting, keeping the experience very engaging. The main character Kazuma Kiryu is charismatic and tries to handle situations the best he can, even if butt kicking is necessary. The game is long and the story is deep and convincing. A movie really needs to be made based on Yakuza 0 and its characters. As long as you don’t mind a good story with long cutscenes or full 3D graphics, I would say Yakuza is the best beat em up you can play on PS4!
– Gameplay Video

* Honorable Mentions *

Double Dragon IV
– It’s an ok game, but it plays and looks just like the classic 8-Bit NES Double Dragon games. I actually think most of the classic NES games had better level design and pacing then this Double Dragon reboot has.
ZHEROS – A decent hero based beat em up that I found to be a bit boring, but it did have nice graphics and animations. It’s probably worth a try!
Bloody Zombies – Besides the jerky below average gameplay, bloody zombies is a decent game that you might want to check out.
Knack – It’s ok overall, Knack 2 is better in every way though. Knack 1 has horrible pacing and becomes boring pretty fast.  Check out Knack 2 instead if you’re interested.

* Most Anticipated Beat Em Up Games Coming Soon *

Dragon’s Crown Pro (PS4 Exclusive)
Release Date: May 15, 2018

– See It On Amazon
Dragons Crown was an amazing Beat ‘Em Up on PS3. I can’t wait until this upgraded “Pro” version is released on PS4.

Raging Justice
Release Date: 2018

This one looks like it’s inspired by the classic Streets Of Rage game. Hmm I am interested.

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Chris D.
Level Smack founder. I am a long time webmaster. I have been playing video games all my life since the NES days. I am a video games fanatic and a self-proclaimed video games historian. I hope to bring unique & helpful articles as often as I can. We are seeking writers for, Please Contact Us.