The Super Smash Brothers series is one of Nintendo’s most beloved features, and the Super Smash Brothers Ultimate is the best-selling fighting game of all time. These games have gained huge following over the years from casual and hardcore players. However, GameCube’s Super Smash Brothers melee is a category of professional smash players who love the new iterations of speed and mad combo capability, and since Nintendo has no intention of releasing Melee, many indie games have grown to fill the gap.
Ether’s rivals, a longtime veteran of the smash scene, entered early access on Steam in 2015. Since then, the game has seen many upgrades, balanced changes and character additions. Now, the Definitive Edition has entered Nintendo’s own platform, where Super Smash Brothers rule the Ultimate Supreme. This is a good thing, though, as rivals Ether is enough to provide a thrilling – and challenging – experience from its initial inspiration.
Shining on its own
Ether’s opponents are played in the same way as smash games, with simple attacking characters alternating with directional inputs, a couple special moves and a double jump. If you have played the Smash game before, you will feel instantly at home.
The details are where this game splits. Ether’s rivals are more focused on combos and offense compared to recent smash titles. The big change is removing the shields and grips. Characters can still roll sideways and beat in the air, but the armor is replaced with a parry that will surprise the opponent, but requires precise time. This means movement and counterattack are crucial, as you cannot hold the shield button if you know the attack is coming. When you get hit, you will find that hitston – that is, your character responding to the hit and not being able to attack or do anything – is much higher than Smash Ultimate.
The basic way in this game is to juggle your enemy to inflict damage on your opponent, because hitting no one will not cause a large amount of damage. You will want to follow your down tilt with a neutral wind or dash attack and continue the combo. When you are attacked, it can be a little frustrating to bounce mercilessly for something that seems longer than you should be. It’s more of a directional effect or DI as a way to move your character in unexpected unexpected ways to break combos or protect yourself from going offscreen. It sometimes took me a while to get used to the brutal hitstn when I saw my beloved shovel half falling on the screen, but it was also chaotic to the inexperienced. If I had done the DI’d correctly, I might have been on stage. I was shielded so I knew I was losing shields and grips, but I finally got the flow of the game a long time ago.
Overall, the combat system on the opponents’ ether is much better and tougher than any other indie platform fighter I’ve played. The characters feel heavy and have fast air movement. It is designed to be known to melee players and it shows. It can be pro or con depending on your interests, but rivals do not lend themselves to regular party matches and smashes with ether friends. It’s more competitive, a little harder to pick up, and more unforgivable when it comes to mistakes and skill gaps. And for some, that’s just what they’re looking for.
Eat a Lion Eat Weasel Plant Wolf World
The list of rivals includes twelve original characters, all of whom are human beings divided into elements of fire, air, water and earth, and two guest characters. Each character fills the fighting game archetype, so you need to find at least one that you can click. Some characters borrow heavily from the Smash Brothers counter. These include Electric Goat Absa, Ness’s Jump, Zelda’s Side Special and Aerials and Pikachu’s Up Special. Although the characters have at least some inspiration from an existing character, I do not recognize it against the game, because they have clear origins that make each character look unique and fresh. Two guest characters, at the same time, are Shovel Knight from Ori and Ori and Blind Forest. I should give a special shout to the shovel night. He quickly became my favorite character, and very true to his origin, he seems to have dropped out of his own game.
Each character has their own kind of passive system that changes how they play. The jetterburn fire lion fires players and powers that flame to his strongest attacks, while the shovel knight knocks down gold and jewels from his opponents and can use his distance to buy mid-match upgrades! I really enjoyed the mentality of influencing the environment or the status of the players with each character rather than just punches and a projectile for everyone. The characters in the opponents require a lot more knowledge than Smash, and it’s a lot of fun to dig into the cast and see what ticks them.
Pretty punching feet
Ether’s rivals made the wise decision to go with the pixel art sprites, which stand out from other indie platform fighters. The characters all look colorful, vibrant, and stand out lightly between ventic action. The music is also great, and the shovel night remixs are particularly rocking.
As for modes, you have a single player mode with stories for each character and up to four players with local fights. There is also an in-depth tutorial that teaches concepts like DI and Tech Rolls. There is also a local mode called Abyss, in which players prepare buffs for their role against endless CPUs or fights. There is also a delightful tetherball mode with big lethal league power. A Beefy Replay system that allows you to watch things like hitboxes is a fantastic fantastic addition that should be included in all fighting games.
The online suite includes friendly matches, casual games and rank mode. Online matches use the same strike / ban phase selection system as you found in the Smash Brothers tournament, which I think should be implemented in most combat games.
However, the game runs its biggest hurdle. When I first started playing, most matches ran very slowly, even with little ping. A patch was released shortly after, which relieved me to a good degree, but I still sometimes find myself in matches with a slowdown. Getting caught up in the best 3 ranked matches when the game is running poorly can be frustrating, but you should not exit and lose ranking points. I even had a game crash twice, which was a problem.
I do not need to give a small amount of credit to developer Dan Fornes. He posted A long blog post about game development, Numerous problems porting to the switch and struggling to make a tight netcode in an independently made game. It is well worth reading. There are still some hiccups online, and I hope the crashes are sorted out, but Devs note: Transparency goes a long way in understanding when it comes to the technical issues of the game.
Fast and furry-os
Offering a more competitive alternative to the Super Smash Brothers, Ether’s rivals proudly wear its inspirations. The presentation is powerful and exciting, and the characters are unique and profound, and although the gameplay in alternative actions is challenging and rewarding, technical issues can disrupt you experience. That being said, the game can be worth your time. If you’re a fan of melee, you should definitely check out the game. If you like other smash games and feel a little competitive, you will still enjoy the game, and surely you will learn new strategies and skills for the genre. If you can see beyond the hiccups, or if Dev is putting on patches, this game will explode in the years to come for you and your friends.