In this silver age of fighting games, independent developers have been able to find their footing in the scene. From the silly Divekick to the visually-stunning and mechanically-deep Skullgirls, these games have received critical acclaim, sold well, and established their own communities. They may not have the name recognition as some of the AAA titans in the genre, but a number of indie fighters have proven to be worthy alternatives.
So far, I’ve sampled five indie fighters on the Nintendo Switch. Here’s how I rank them from worst-to-best!
5. Fight of Gods
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Fight of Gods is a bad game. As provocative as the concept of fighting as Jesus, Odin, or other religious figures may be, its not enough to overlook the game’s amateur production values and wonky combat design. Even so, Jesus is a lot of fun to play, as his move set and combos actually showcase the game at its most entertaining.
4. Blade Strangers
Shovel Knight, that guy from Cave Story, and a whole bunch of other characters from anime-influenced games you’ve never heard of collide in Blade Strangers. Yes, its roster is sorely lacking in star power, but its attempt at providing players with anime-style combat with simplified controls is fun to explore. Wish there were more people still playing this online, but you can still have a great time playing this with a friend.
3. Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
With a number of pro fighting game players involved in the creation of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, a paltry roster, exploits in the game’s combo systems, and some glaring bugs really let me down at launch. Since then, many of the game’s issues have been addressed, including the addition of a story mode and a number of additional free and paid characters.
2. Pocket Rumble
During the summer of 2018, I became obsessed with Pocket Rumble. This indie fighter may have simplified its special move inputs, but still had a ton of bite. In particularly, I became enamored with the character June thanks to her funky move set. My fascination with her helped to drive me to be the #1 ranked June player in the world for a time. Unfortunately, no AI difficulty settings and broken matchmaking sank this game before it truly had the opportunity to shine.
1. Fantasy Strike
Created by the producer of Super Street Fighter II: HD Remix, Fantasy Strike is a brilliant fighting game that finds a wonderful balance between depth and accessibility. A mix of streamlined combat design, along with characters who have really cool abilities makes for a game that newcomers and grizzled fighting game veterans can get a kick out of. Unlike Pocket Rumble, this one has all of the trim you’d expect from a fighting game, from multiple AI difficulty settings, skill-based matchmaking, and even a really cool ranked mode that forces players to excel with multiple characters. For the time being, Fantasy Strike is my gold standard for indie fighters. Full review coming soon!
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