First off, happy 2023! Yes, I know I am a bit late with celebrations, as we are already deep in February, but – guess what? It’s time for a new year of SuperCombo articles, delving into indie and less indie titles, with the usual mix of interviews and reviews. The first article of 2023 is about a welcome, yet unexpected development in the IKEMEN Go community: rollback netcode is finally becoming a reality. If you have ever wondered how this technical marvel is actually coming to pass, don’t miss the interview with the main developer of the IKEMEN Go rollback branch: Fantasma! Fighting game engines are an incredibly niche, yet interesting topic. On one side, you get developers writing their own contraptions in unholy combinations of languages and engines, like Hot Soup Processor, Löve 2D or even something that is not easy to point out. On the other, you have […]
In my continuous search for new indie fighting games to play, I often find projects in very early stages of development. Many of them show promising new mechanics and fresh ideas, but they are not ripe enough for a regular review. Sometimes, graphics are just sketched placeholders. Or, maybe, there is no music or sound effects. Or, at times, the only playable mode is local multiplayer, with no AI implemented.
However, I believe there is value in talking about games in their infancy, therefore, I am inaugurating this new series of articles dedicated to fighting game prototypes, tech demos and early builds! These articles will be shorter than my usual reviews and will focus more on what the game brings to the table and less on their overall presentation.
This week, we start with the game that acted as an inspiration for this column: the promising Shuzen (朱漸), made by Japanese developer 莉琉 (Mariru), who is also an active artist on Skeb.
This is not the first time I cover a game made with the Ikemen GO engine. Previously, I have talked quite a lot about TMNTxJL Turbo and—in an article I still need to port to this venue—the incredible The Black Heart. However, for some inexplicable reasons, Ikemen original IPs tend to be rarer and farther between than those made with that coelacanth called 2D Fighter Maker 2002. This despite Ikemen GO having built-in delay netcode (with the core developers painstakingly working on implementing GGPO as we speak) and being much more flexible in terms of what one can and cannot do with it.
Battle Craze!! is a game that uses all the good features Ikemen offers to an astonishing level and—while it doesn’t provide the amount of content TMNTxJL Turbo put on the table—it shows very convincingly what can be done with this engine, and which level of variety can be achieved with it.
Thanks to an unlikely series of coincidences, I have managed to take part in person to the first live event of the upcoming indie fighting game Umbral Core. The event was held at Nemiex Club in Milan on the 25.09.2022 and allowed those around the venue to play the first alpha build of the game. I went there, had a chat with the devs, took part to a public Q&A session and—most importantly—I have put my hands on the game. This article summarizes my experience and the developers’ thoughts what to expect from Umbral Core in the near future.
I have stumbled upon Resistance 204X for the first time on Reddit. The flashy presentation, the fast movement and the “defeat your opponent until you can reach the goal post at the correct side of the stage” made for a very compelling first impression. The gameplay trailer later that month “sold” it even more. But I honestly had my doubts—was the game going to be style over substance or was it going to satisfy those expectations?
After playing the sign-up beta, I can answer that question with a resounding “Yes, Resistance 204X delivers exactly what it promises”.
Duels of Fortune is, under many points of view, a sort of singularity in the current fighting game panorama. Its cartoony, cel-shaded 3D style stands out even as a part of the indie scene and its focus on single player content is nothing short of a black swan. With its quirky cast of unique characters, simple controls but a relatively high skill ceiling, it’s a game that compensates the lack of online modes with a lot of nuance in the offline gameplay offer.
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.
What do you get when you mix a simplified, high-damage fighting game with a deckbuilding mechanic relying on randomness and choosing the best (or less worst) option on the flight? 52Beatup answers this question, putting on the table one of the most refreshingly unique indie fighting game experiences of the last few years.
Fight of Animals is a weird beast to describe. Digital Crafter went from Jesus cross-ups to meme animals brawling in the span of just one year, but the level of additional polish Fight of Animals reached in such a small time (less than nine months between the two games) is stellar.
I’m not sure what the budget for Fight of Animals was, but all things considered there is an air of “doing the most with the smallest investment” that I can’t help but commend. This aura permeates the whole game and it’s equally charming and intriguing, especially under the lens of another developer.
One could think that such a downsized title cannot be that deep. However, they’d be totally wrong, because what’s left is more than enough and is the core of a very compelling fighting game experience—with a solid competitive community and an upcoming Vortex Gallery tournament in August!
According to Infil’s superb fighting game glossary, “footsies” is defined as:
“A complicated, often nebulous term that refers to the battle for controlling the space in front of you, often by using good pokes. In essence, you are trying to get to a range you like, while trying to deny your opponent getting to a range that they like. How you do this varies wildly based on the game, but it often involves using strong crouching kick attacks to pester your opponent as they are trying to walk around. This dance of playing mind games with your feet is the source of the term’s name.”
All fine and dandy. Playing footsies means measuring the space between you and your opponent, while trying to slowly, but surely, find an opening and keep them at a range where your options are better than theirs. What, one might ask, happens when someone takes this concept and builds a whole game around it? Well, the result is FOOTSIES — Rollback Edition, developed by HiFight, also known for his extensive coverage of fighting game tourneys and just-frame analysis of key matches!