As somebody that was obsessed with Street Fighter and arcade fighting games growing up, Combo Fighter brought back some pretty fond memories for me as soon as I saw the artwork and I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of the prototype. Heavily inspired by classic arcade fighting games, Combo Fighter is a game of fighting and bluffing for 2-4 players brought to you by Plotmaker Games and Kolossal Games.
Combo Fighter is everything I wanted from this style of game, the nostalgic artwork, the quick gameplay and the interesting mechanics all get a thumbs up from me. Playing the game made me feel something. Now, I’m not saying it’s a deep thematic experience filled with emotion but I felt excited and like a kid again, the way I felt when I was younger, I’d play my brother’s arcade games pretty terribly but they were fascinating to me. We would sit there for hours, trying to KO each other and getting prety obsessed with it. Combo Fighter brought back memories of that and I think that’s pretty special for a game to do….
Combo Fighter is a card-driven rendition of the classic arcade fighting game and the base game comes with four different characters, Boris Wolfram, Grace Lee, Francisco Ferro and my personal favourite, Renée Ijzer. Each fighter comes with their own unique fighting styles which makes all of the combos different throughout the game, and these are pretty impressive.
During Combo Fighter, you take on the role of a martial artist, represented by a 50-card deck, a character sheet and a power card and it’s your mission to stand up against your rival using your hand management skills. During the game you’ll be stringing cards together to create the most powerful combos to knock out your opponents! You can also partner up with a friend and take on two opponents in Team Battle mode!
To win the game and become the ultimate fighting champion, you must KO your opponent using the rock paper scissors mechanic and unlocking powerful combos, you’ll be in with a chance to KO your opponents and claim victory! If you are hit though, you’ll lose cards from your deck, and whoever runs out first is knocked out.
How a Round works
When the round starts, you’ll place a card from your hand face down in front of you. All players will do this simultaneously and then reveal cards and compare them.
The winner of the round is determined by the card flip! Defense moves beat Attack moves, Attack moves beat Footwork moves, Footwork moves beat Defense moves.
If two Defense moves or two Footwork moves clash, the result is a tie!
The winner of the Round deals damage and may continue playing cards, this is where the Combo comes in. If the round was a tie, all players deal damage but neither of you will be able to play a Combo!
Playing a Combo
If you win a Round, you can continue playing cards from your hand as long as the Button icon on the next card you play is also in the Combo Box on the card that came before it.
Imagine frantically pushing buttons on your old arcade game trying to get a quick KO!
You might even lay your whole hand this way. and that’s cool.
Damage and Knock Outs
Once you have played your cards, you’ll add up total damage. Your first move deals its opening damage, any card following the first will deal its combo damage instead!
End of Round
After damage has been resolved, cards that were played in this round are discarded. Both players then refill their hands up to five cards and it’s time to GO AGAIN!
*Full rules explanations are on the Kickstarter page, I just wanted to give you an idea of how it plays.
Did I like it?
If you could take all of the memories of arcade fighting games, the style, the feel and the excitement and put that into a game, Combo Fighter is what you would basically end up with, Plotmaker games have captured the essence of that so perfectly and in such a clever way.
Combo Fighter is a light-hearted bluffing and fighting game, I’d say it might be the lightest game that Kolossal have brought out to date, it’s easy to learn, quick to teach and it’s done in a way that keeps it fresh and exciting. The different characters all play very differently and that keeps the game interesting, it’s one of those games that is just a lot of fun to play. I wrote fun about ten times when doing this write up because it really is.
Kolossal are doing exciting things right now, they are publishing games for everybody and I’m super happy that they decided to bring this one to our tables. I certainly don’t own any games like this but now I’ve tried it, I feel like I should. The more games I play, the more I’ve come to realise that not every game has to be heavy to be enjoyed, not every game has to take five hours and there are a time and a place for most games and Combo Fighter definitely has one. I picked up the prototype at Origins and it served me well the whole convention, the quick gameplay meant it was easy to play a game whilst waiting in a line or waiting for dinner even and it was pretty fun to play at several events and bars on my trip to. I have a set of games that I take to conventions or bars with me and this one has definitely made the cut.
You can check out Combo Fighter which launches on Kickstarter today, here: Combo Fighter Kickstarter