The fighting game community was left a little disheveled after the year they’ve had – all of the big in-person tournaments were canceled for a year. These tournaments were taken online, meaning both the participants and the crowd got to miss out on a couple of the vital parts of the community – the atmosphere… The crowd cheers as one player manage to land an 8 hit combo… and the trash talk.

Thankfully though, a range of great fighting games came out in the last year to make up for this lackluster period of tournaments. These are a few of the ones that should catch your eye that you can claim here.

Hellish Quart

If you’re a die-hard fighting game fan then you can probably remember Bushido Blade for Playstation one – a very hardcore weapon-based fighting game that has tense one vs one fights. Well, Hellish Quart takes this style of gameplay to the next level and brings the duel-style fights up to date.

Developed and published by Kubold, get ready to face off against an opponent with a range of 17th-century fighters and warriors, all with a range of realistically programmed weapons. Think broadswords, sabers, rapiers, and more. You can have tense duels with the computer or play local multiplayer. A virtual duel to the death is one way to sort out who’s playing for the takeaway.

RetroMania Wrestling

With wrestling games being very few and far between nowadays, retromania is a breath of fresh air for the genre. As soon as you start up the game you immediately know what this is about – old-school arcade-style wrestling games. Embracing this retro feel, it’s seen as the spiritual successor to the 1991’s hit arcade game WWF Wrestlefest.

Bringing back some classical personalities from that period whilst throwing in some of the newer faces, RetroMania Wrestling is for you if you enjoy retro-style beat ’em ups and want an easy to get into a game that strays away from reality.

Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown

You’d be hard-pressed to find a fighting game fan who hasn’t played one of the Virtua Fighter Series. One of the staples in the genre, the latest installment has all of the gang – from Akira to Jacky Bryant and Jeffrey.

Ultimate Showdown gives the game a wonderful graphical update adding lots of polish. A few things have been tweaked though – New cinematics, a new interface, and more. The whole roster is back and playable though, and you can even get your hands on the original skins of the original characters, adding blocky textures that take you back to the arcade days of the original Virtua Fighter. Nice touch, Sega.

Guilty Gear Strive

Bringing back all of the fan favorites – such as Axl, Sol Badguy, and the brute Potemkin, along with some new additions (Such as GoldLewis, a man who wields a case with interdimensional beings from Area 51).

The game has had an incredible facelift and simply looks stunning, with the camera zooming in on big moves and giving you a real close-up of the damage you’re doing and stages now being multi-staged and interactable. Thankfully, the metal soundtrack is still in place!

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions

As with the aforementioned wrestling games, the boxing genre is lacking in the new releases department. Fight Night was the last big series and that slowly died a death. Enter Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions, here to take the mantle Electronic Arts left.

Taking after the essential boxing movie franchise – the Rocky films – the game features fighters from the past Rocky films and the current Creed series of films. You’ve got Clubber Lang, Adonis and Apollo Creed and of course, the Italian Stallion himself Rocky Balboa. Choose your fighter and face off a number of opponents from the film series across recognizable arenas, reliving your favorite moments from the films – If you’re a boxing fan, what’s not to love?!

Melty Blood: Type Lumina

If you aren’t an anime beat-em-up type game fan, you may not have heard of the predecessor to this game – Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code. But if you have heard of it, then you’ve probably put plenty – and I mean plenty – of hours into the game.

This is a hardcore fighting game fans dream, with an underlying complexity to the game that is unmatched by many fighting games out there. The announcement of Type Lumina seemingly came out of absolutely nowhere, but this entry in the series gives the game some updated visuals and adds a few new things whilst retaining the mechanics of the fights that the series is well known for.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Yep, Nickelodeon has taken the famous Super Smash Bros formula and applied it to the characters on their channel. And the most surprising part of this – it doesn’t look bad!

Offering a battle royale-style fighting game, you can have up to four players, all choosing one of Nickelodeon’s all-star lineup. I bet not even in your wildest dreams did you think you’d be able to see SpongeBob face off against Reptar from the RugRats. You’ve got the characters you recognize, fighting in places such as the JellyFish Fields from Spongebob. This could be the fighting game we never realized we needed.

Die By The Blade

2021 seems the be the year of the hardcore 1v1 dueling simulator. Similar to the aforementioned Hellsih Quart, Die By The Blade features tense and frantic 1v1 sword fights with an emphasis on skill and timing to defeat your opponent.

Die By The Blade features both local multiplayer for grueling player vs player combat and single-player duels against the AI. you can win fights with one skilled and precise strike, all in the setting of a unique ‘samuraipunk’ aesthetic that is just oozing style and panache.

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