Treachery in Beatdown City is a beat-’em-up/turn-based RPG mashup that combines a vast array of Shawn Alexander Allen’s preoccupations, from a shifting and in some ways radicalizing political consciousness, to questions of hybrid identity, to frustrations with an ever-gentrifying New York. It’s a game about the world going strange, and about when violence is not only justified but necessary, and not only cathartic but productive. It’s a power fantasy, to be sure, but by no means a callow one. It’s got stuff on its mind. It uses the seductive qualities inherent in power fantasies to broaden the player’s horizons. It also, not incidentally, does the whole turn-based/realtime hybrid combat thing one whole hell of a lot more successfully than the Final Fantasy VII Remake does (in my opinion, not Shawn’s; @ me, not him).
You can get Treachery in Beatdown City on Steam and Switch.
You can get the first volume of the soundtrack on Bandcamp.
You can also visit Shawn’s website, and follow him (and the game) on Twitter.
• Here’s Shawn’s piece, Being Black in America.
• There does not seem to be a publicly-available recording of “Building Better Beat ‘Em Ups,” unfortunately. (I will of course update the show notes if I find one).
• Here’s the DJ Premier Verzuz RZA madness that Shawn mentioned.
• And here’s the beyond-excellent trailer for Treachery in Beatdown City featuring a cut of Open Mike Eagle’s incredible song for the game (and here’s Open Mike Eagle’s Patreon).
• Dia Lacina did indeed make the connection between Treachery in Beatdown City’s elegant blending of real-time and turn-based combat on the one hand, and Final Fantasy VII Remake’s… less elegant blending on the other.
Logo by Aaron Perry-Zucker, using Icons by by Llisole, Dávid Gladiš, Atif Arshad, Daniel Nochta, Mike Rowe, Jakub Čaja, Raji Purcell and IconsGhost from the Noun Project.