Once in a while, an indie releases that has promise to be the next big competitive multiplayer game. Strikers Edge certainly fits this description but does its simple gameplay have enough longevity to offer a satisfying experience?
Strikers Edge is set up similar to a dodgeball game. Basically, two teams of either 1 or 2 players each throw projectiles at each other until only 1 player remains. However, unlike dodgeball; you obviously can't catch the weapons and there aren't any elaborate rules such as getting revenge once you're out. I assume this is because being "out" here probably means that you're dead. Anyway, you can tap buttons to dodge and block which is crucial if you want to survive. It's an extremely simple gameplay dynamic that's very easy to learn while also being fast-paced enough to create an action-packed reaction-based combat formula that'll keep you fighting to emerge victorious. It's not that difficult to master because it mostly relies on your reactions as opposed to practicing intricate mechanics. In fact, a newbie could potentially win against someone who's been playing for a while simply by launching some lucky shots.
When it comes to graphics and sound, Strikers Edge is sure to impress. First of all, the visuals are rendered with detailed pixel-perfect sprites and environments. Everything from the character animations to the crowd reactions looks awesome. As you play, you're even treated to a killer chiptune soundtrack that adds some levity to the otherwise violent sport. Overall, very few retro-inspired games look and sound as spot-on as Strikers Edge. I'm looking forward to seeing what Fun Punch Games comes up with next!
Strikers Edge may have simple gameplay but it also features eight distinct characters who each have their own unique charged special attack. More specifically, by holding the throw button, you can charge your throw to unleash a special attack then tap another button to make the attack do something cool. For example, one character can have the trail of their throw turn into flames while another can throw two axe arcs and have them quickly move together to crush their foe. It's neat stuff and adds some much-needed variety.
Unfortunately, that special move doesn't do nearly enough to make the basic core gameplay stay fresh for long. After about a dozen or so matches, I was starting to get quite tired of dodging and throwing things. Plus, there are only four arenas and they don't do much to mix up the gameplay besides provide different barriers. To be fair, one stage has random icicles fall which is pretty cool.
Because of the limited gameplay and content, it's easy to say that Strikers Edge is better suited as part of a multiplayer playlist as opposed to the main event. Speaking of which, you can play it either locally or online with up to four players which is great. However, if you want to play solo then you're limited to a very basic story mode that you can play through with each character. I wish there were more single player modes such as challenges or an adventure-like story campaign because as it is, you likely won't play by yourself for long.
If you're looking for the next must-have competitive multiplayer game then you may be disappointed with Strikers Edge's basic gameplay and lack of content. However, its frantic fast-paced formula is fun enough to be worth playing from time to time.
- + Easy to learn action-packed gameplay
- + Superb retro-style visuals and music
- + Great variety of characters with unique abilities to master
- - Simplistic gameplay gets stale quite fast
- - Single player content isn't very fun
- - Only four arenas that don't do much to mix up the gameplay