Flipping through the channels late at night, you catch an old kung fu movie that's already halfway over. Even though you know nothing about the characters or why they're fighting, the frantic-yet-measured action choreography and melodramatic mid-battle exposition force you to put the remote control down and watch it all the way through to the credits. Watch the exclusive trailer for 9 Monkeys of Shaolin above and you might find yourself just as enmeshed.
The newly announced game from developer Sobaka Studio and publisher Buka Entertainment is coming to PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC (also Mac and Linux) this fall. You might recognize Sobaka from their last game, Redeemer, another top-down brawler that's available on Steam (opens in new tab). Shared genre aside, 9 Monkeys of Shaolin trades out Redeemer's gory grindhouse aesthetic in favor of deliciously washed-out colors that evoke their '70s source material. All it's missing is a heaping helping of light bloom and fuzziness from being copied tape-to-tape a dozen times.
Sorry, I could talk about kung fu movie color palettes all day. You're probably more interested in the fact that you can beat bad guys' faces in with a staff using a retro-with-modern-accoutrements brawling system. On top of the standard beat-lots-of-guys-up angle, you can also upgrade main character Wei Cheng's fighting styles with a wide selection of unlockable perks, helping him advance ever further on the path from novice to Shaolin master. Wei Cheng's exclusively a polearm guy, but you can still enjoy some added variety by finding 10 unique weapons pulled from Chinese and Japanese martial history. Apparently the game dips into some more fantastical elements too, but Sobaka's keeping quiet about that angle so far.
And it wouldn't be a proper retro brawler if you couldn't fight through the whole thing with a buddy in co-op play. As a kung-fu film enthusiast (kung-futhiast) I'm keeping an eye out for 9 Monkeys of Shaolin now.
Looking for more stuff to play this year? Check out our list of the new games of 2018 (opens in new tab).