A repost of one of my first ever Indie Fighting Game Thursday! This time, we’ll ride together into Beatdown Dungeon, an outlier to the “poor amount of single player content in fighting games” trope: The true and tried core of the game is a single player dungeon crawler through partially randomized floors, not unlike Shin Megami Tensei. And, when your character meets one of said monsters, instead of a turn based RPG battle, you have to vanquish them in a 1v1 fight. Join us in this crawl, accompanied by hand-drawn sprites and upbeat music!
In the single developer/small team of developers field, prominent examples of making a game more casual-friendly can be seen in Beatdown Dungeon, with its autocombos and simplified special inputs, MerFight, with its optional simple controls, and FOOTSIES, which brought everything down to an extremely minimalistic level.
Today, we analyze another entry in this series of “beginner-friendly” indie fighting games, which — in terms of complexity — comfortably sits somewhere between HYPERFIGHT and Beatdown Dungeon: a little, still-to-be-polished gem called Arcus Chroma, developed by GxGrain Son!
Fight of Steel: Infinity Warrior is a great indie fighting game which does almost everything right. With huge amounts of replayability, customization options, and snappy gameplay, it’s a must buy in the current scene, especially for its budget price—less than 13USD. Its flaws can be overlooked quite easily, the online modes work reasonably well and the UI, while obnoxious, isn’t a huge barrier to enjoying the game. This game feels like a huge step forward for the Digital Crafter formula and shines as an example of what a good indie fighting game should aspire to be.
Not many games come back from being canceled. However, Bearsus did the unthinkable and resurrected from its own ashes. Today, we go through the history of this simplified, grizzly fighting game and what lead first to its premature death, then to its poetic rebirth. Hibernation is canceled, now it’s time to bear fangs!
In the month of April, streamer and YouTuber Mike Levesque (also known as MrMKL) had the idea to host an indie fighting game developer roundtable, inspired by the periodic Japan Fighting Game Publisher roundtable. His rationale was that, even if indie fighting games do not reach the same amount of players as—say—Street Fighter or Tekken, they have their own hardcore audience. Furthermore, indie developers are constantly trying to push the boundaries of the genre, in directions that are often precluded to more commercial titles. So, in his eyes, that was the perfect opportunity to have 3-4 developers meet together and get them to talk about the current status of this amalgam of subgenres.
As of March 2022, my own indie fighting game Schwarzerblitz has been downloaded and installed more than 30’000 times, between GameJolt, itch.io and Steam, and was even featured as a mystery game at Frosty Faustings XIV. However, the story starts way back in the past, precisely on 21 March 2017, when the first public build of this low-poly 3D fighting game was uploaded to GameJolt and itch.io. But how did exactly play, that March 2017 first public version? Was it really a good game?
Follow me on this trip down memory lane, while I dissect and comment on the good and the bad of the very first Schwarzerblitz Alpha build, as a part of the celebrations for the game’s fifth year of life!
Punch Planet is one of those names that are hard to forget for those madmen like me, who develop fighting games either as a job or as a hobby. This is because it is one of those few fighting games that popped up on PC in 2017, when the Western representation in this genre was still lacking in the indie scene. It’s fair to say Punch Planet was not only one of the most promising indie titles in this time frame, but also the first indie fighting game after Skullgirls to feature one very important quality of life upgrade: rollback netcode.
While Street Fighter V was still struggling with its one-sided rollback woes and Tekken was 3, Punch Planet was already flying on the wings of GGPO. This game deserves a spot of honor in the indie fighting game scene and it’s high time I covered it for my weekly column!
In my boundless trip to the darkest depths of indie fighting game development (which culminated in some pretty cursed discoveries, like the infamous Chinese bootleg arcade machine), I tend to stumble upon games that are almost unplayable, games whose development was abandoned after a first tech demo, and games that — despite suffering from glaring issues — show a great deal of originality and make me wonder “what if the developer had more time/money/resources to materialize their vision”? This week’s game belongs to this last category. While playing it, I constantly asked myself what this game could have become, if there had been more interest around it. Because, let me put it straight: Etehfowr Against answers the question “what if you could control two characters at the same time while juggling your resources?”
If some of you watched one of the most recent videos by Stumblebee about creativity in indie fighting games, you might have caught wind of a quirky, work-in progress game, which played on a grid, with digitized actors placeholder graphics. At that point of the video, you might have asked yourself “what is this game”? Well, fret not, my fellow indie fighting game connoisseur, because this Thursday I’m taking you for a ride in the bizarre world of Mega Knockndown, a turn-based fighting game developed by the small studio Mega Memecast!
An “Italian MS-DOS cartoon fighting game re-released with planned rollback”. There is a lot to unpack in this short sentence. First, because I haven’t lived the MS-DOS era myself, I was born at its sunset — My first operating system was Windows 98. Secondly, because we are talking rollback, and, specifically, retrofitting rollback netcode into a 25 years old game. Third, because I’m Italian, like the developers.
So, today, join me and Antonio Lattanzio while we talk about the re-release of Fight’N’Jokes, a hidden gem from a forgotten past coming back with rollback netcode!