Review – Blade Strangers

We’re getting a ton of fighting games lately, aren’t we? Between the upcoming Soul Calibur VI and underrated gems like Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st], it feels like there’s something for each type of fighting enthusiast out there. Blade Strangers is no different. Published by the indie darling company that is Nicalis, this little brawler can be considered as the traditional indie equivalent to Smash Bros due to its all-star roster and newcomer-friendly controls, however it also feels like it could have done a lot more with its premise.

20180905155612_1

Strike the Earth!

Blade Strangers‘ roster focuses mostly on two franchises: Nicalis’ staple voluptuous brawler Code Princess as well Umihara Kawase. I am going to be honest, I had never heard of that game prior to playing Blade Strangers. Besides these, other famous indie characters make an appearance: two fighters from Cave Story show up, Gunvolt makes an appearance, Isaac from Binding of Isaac makes a weird and unsettling appearance, and most importantly, Shovel Knight is also part of the roster. I’ll be honest, Shovel Knight alone was the reason I was looking forward to playing Blade Strangers in the first place.

While the roster was the reason I bought this game, the roster is far from being the best aspect in Blade Strangers. In fact, the severely small amount of fighters to choose from is actually one of the most disappointing things about it. That being said, the best aspect in this game is without a doubt its gameplay.

20180905155410_1

Master T pities the fools who fight against him.

The fighting style is far from being complex. In fact, this is one of the easiest combat systems I’ve seen in a non-Smash game in years. Combos and button combinations are thrown out of the window in favor of a simple control scheme, with few buttons and special attacks being assigned to the B button and variations of your character’s special moves being performed with additional directional inputs, just like in Smash. An ultimate attack can be performed by pressing the right bumper. It took me just a few minutes in the tutorial section to learn the main tricks and how Blade Strangers works.

In terms of visual quality, while Blade Strangers is a colorful and appealing game, I can’t help but feel disappointed whenever I look at the character models and their excessive pixelation. It feels like the developers have decided to stretch lower resolution models, as you can clearly see some really rough lines surrounding them. That might actually be my biggest gripe with the game, even more than its small roster or its okay-at-best sound design (it’s not bad but not amazing either, it’s just there).

20180905155705_1

Isaac is the ultimate definition of AAWWWWW.

That’s Blade Strangers for you. This is a game that makes up for its lackluster roster size with excellent gameplay, a wide array of modes and some great guest characters. It’s far from being the best fighting game I’ve played this year, but if you have ever wondered how Shovel Knight would fight against Isaac, your doubts have been finally answered.

 

Graphics: 6.5

The cartoon visuals are colorful and well-designed, but the characters still feature some rough edges. It could have been polished a bit more.

Gameplay: 8.5

Not a very complex combat system, but still enjoyable with pretty simple and responsive controls. It’s easy for newcomers to understand the commands and combos.

Sound: 6.0

While the soundtrack and the voice acting aren’t exactly bad – they are actually decent in their own right – they are also far from being memorable.

Fun Factor: 7.0

The roster size is disappointing, but Blade Strangers boasts a wide array of modes and a good combat system to keep players busy for hours. Plus it has Shovel Knight as a fighter. Dare I say more?

Final Verdict: 7.0

Reviewed on PC.
Blade Strangers is available now on PS4, PC, Switch.

Advertisements