Fighting games are often convoluted, filled with many directional combos, hand-cramping button presses and lots and lots of practice. Fantasy Strike by Sirlin Games looks to change all that by simplifying the process and making fighting games accessible to all.
When Richard Lopez, Community Manager of Sirlin Games, sat me down for a demo of Fantasy Strike at PAX South, he was ready to change my mind about fighting games. He asked me specifically if I had played any of the recent fighting game releases, such as Tekken or Soul Caliber, and I reluctantly admitted that I had. I also admitted that I didn’t find myself enjoying them as much as I used to. His pitch and answer was simple: they made a fighting game where you can participate regardless of skill and learn to get into the game and start having fun as quickly as it takes to pick up the controller.
Now I can probably guess your concern from here — “what about button-mashing?” — you might say. You can certainly mash buttons to play, but there’s a level of strategy that you will pick up almost immediately. Almost like rock, paper, scissors, each move has a counter move that can be played by the other player. Play the same move over and over again and you’ll quickly be dealt with.
Another great aspect of the game is the readability of attack damage. Each attack will do as much damage as you throw out. So, for example, if you do a three-hit combo, you’ll drain your opponent’s life bar three points. Different characters have different amounts of health, and some additional abilities will allow you to poison opponents and drain their life gradually.
My favorite character that I played as is Valerie, who uses a huge paintbrush to attack foes. She can actually pass through enemies with one of her attacks, which makes it great for a beginner to the game such as myself. Even though I never got the hang of his moves, the character Geiger, with his time-manipulating abilities, was also impressive to watch.
The characters look gorgeous and the backgrounds are vibrant and detailed. I was excited to see that there is an opportunity to also play the game through a fully illustrated and voiced Arcade Mode that showcases each character’s story. The survival modes also seemed neat with opponents that get stronger as you get better at the game. They might be right with this one: it really seems like they are helping redefine the perception of fighting games, as I certainly am convinced.
Fantasy Strike is currently in Early Access on Steam, but is also shooting for a Quarter 1, 2019 release for Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4. Check out their website for more information about the game.