Fight of Animals for the Nintendo Switch Review
Fight of Animals
The Nintendo Switch finds itself in an unique position in that it doesn’t really lack good fighters, Super Smash Brothers by itself is enough to fulfill most peoples’ needs and yet most big triple A titles don’t land on it. Sure Dragon Ball FighterZ has found itself on the system, and is a title which I have put well over 10 hours into, but for the most part when we refer to fighting games on the Nintendo Switch we look at the indie market.
The Switch might not have the likes of Tekken 7, Soul Calibur VI or Street Fighter V but as it’s usual for Indies they make up for it and provide more creative, outlandish games. Looking at the E-shop provides an immense amount of those and while they might not be as smooth or as flashy as some of those I can’t help but love them. That was the position I found myself in when I picked up Fight of Animals for review. It looked promising, jokes about animal cruelty aside, but did it live up to my expectations?
Simplicity and Accessibility
It is at this point that I feel I must make a confession regarding my skill with fighting games. Though I am good enough at remembering basic combos that I can win against friends on a local session on Marvel vs Capcom or Skullgirls the truth is I am very far from being a pro player. You can call me a skilled casual if you’d like but I don’t learn frame perfect combos nor do I care about a balance sheet. To me exchanging punches and kicks is the appeal, overpowered characters are just a plus.
It is I feel a good position to approach reviewing a fighting game because it has been my experience that most people that play a fighting game do so not with the intent of becoming a star e-sports player but just to have fun. It’s not the market that fighting games usually appeal to, it’s not to them that game patches that balance characters or two hundred dollar fighting joysticks are sold but they’re just as eager to play and have a good time with a fighting game as anyone else. Why do I bring this up? Because while Fight of Animals is filled with the unmistakable jank and issues of an indie fighting game the simple way it controls and the punchy way the moves hit makes it one of the most accessible fighting games I can imagine.
Let me tell you about my sister. She’s a bright eyed, seven year old girl whose interests include Youtube and watching me play video games. Unlike me at her age, where I beat Mega Drive and Playstation games and found myself on the path to a life long obsession with video games, she really isn’t very good nor very into video games. It is a tale I share often, how she has yet to figure out you can press more than one button at a time and only moves in four directions not having figured out diagonal movement, but it serves to highlight what I’m trying to say. Though she loves watching me play, she’s not really into, nor very good at video games.
Though I try to include her in my gaming habits It is something that is difficult to do with her peculiar mode of play. Platformers the likes of which I conquered at her age are beyond her current skill level, she finds herself falling into pits in Crash Bandicoot or stopping to destroy a simple crate, Animal Crossing New Horizons and Minecraft in creative mode are games that she manages to play, though it takes her ages to do something I would in half a second but she herself had expressed a desire to play something more action based. I had tried Smash and that had been a failure and was about to try some Twisted Metal on the original Playstation when Fight of Animals came into my mind.
It was as if it were a match made in heaven. Due to the peculiar way in which Fight of Animals controlled my sister found herself being rather good at it, to the point of beating me. It was a pure display of button mashing, something often seen as a negative and yet as I found myself frustrated by the loss something much more important became clear to me, she was having fun!
That is ultimately what this comes down to. I could go and wax poetics about how the controls, which are simplified to such an extent they’re literally Smash Lite, a direction of the analog stick plus a button either for an upwards attack, a special attack or a forward facing attack, with different directions in the stick having a different attack or I could mention a few of the references in the game that will date it, characters being based on memes for instance, but that does not really merit itself.
This might speak more to the skills or tastes of my sister but she has asked for me to play the “game with the fighting animals” more often than she has asked to play Smash or even Animal Crossing. Does this mean Fight of Animals is a better game despite the conflicting art styles, the internet based humor and the lack of polish? No, it does not mean that it is so….
If we were taking a look at it through a purely objective quality of its elements parts then Fight of Animals would find itself rating poorly. Though the base gameplay is there it would have done well with a few more months where it could be polished and made into a better product. Maybe tighten up the graphics or make the soundtrack less generic.
But what I can’t take away from Fight of Animals is that it’s fun. Button mashing is often told to be a poor tactic, common to those who can’t play well but it has allowed my sister to enjoy a game in a way she hasn’t since Crayola Scoot. It’s not perfect – in fact it might be considered “bad” by more serious, proper critics that take notice of such things, but I had fun with it, and my sister certainly did too. Is that not what matters?
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Reviewed by McPortugalem on the Nintendo Switch. Game provided by Digital Crafter.