We Didn't Start The Rivals

As I alluded to in my past blog post, I’m fairly into Smash. And I don’t mean the Super Smash Bros. game you played at your friend’s house in middle school, with bombs and pokeballs flying around the screen in a 10-player free-for-all. I mean Smash. Competitive, one-on-one Smash. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, you’d be surprised to learn about the massive competitive scene, including several different iterations of the game. Still yet, you’d be further surprised to learn about an obscure subculture of Smash players that play frequently and love the game despite being absolute trash at it. Well… Can it be a culture if I’m the only one in it?

But Smash is a blog post for another day. Today, I wanna talk about Rivals of Aether, a newly released Smash-style fighting game. Sure, Smash might have fancy swords and few furry friends, but do they have animals made of rocks? Do they have goats that can poop clouds? No. Due to this major design flaw in Smash, I was left wanting more out of my fighting game experiences.

This is where Rivals came in. What Smash lacks, Rivals has in spades. Not enough animals who’s bodies are literally made of fire? Got that covered. Need more adorable whales that burp bubbles? Got that too. Unlike Smash, which was originally created for filthy casuals, Rivals was actually made with a competitive scene in mind. There aren’t as many characters in Rivals as there are in most Smash games. This means that learning the match ups between different characters (i.e. the strengths/weaknesses of every character when playing any other character) isn’t nearly as time consuming. Characters were designed to create a balanced playing field, so no one is too overpowered. Some of the tech that Nintendo accidentally added to their Smash games is purposefully included in Rivals, adding depth to the game and making Rivals fairly easy to pick up for Smash veterans. But most importantly, doing pretty much anything in Rivals looks cool as shit.

The great thing about having a game that none of your friends play is that you can invite them over to play just to crush them like the worms they are. You get a real sense of satisfaction when destroying someone with absolutely zero experience. Well, at least until they’ve played 3 times or so and can consistently beat me… Turns out, most of the people playing online are already in the “played more than 3 times” category. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. Before I ever work up the courage to wander into the scary unknown of online play, I practice beating up quite a few CPUs. I think I’m hot shit, especially with my badass fire lion. So I take Mr. Flametastic online and immediately get crushed by a bug made of rocks… Ok, he was a pretty tough bug. I took one life off his 3, plus some damage. Not THAT bad. Next up: a green raccoon that thought it was a good idea to tie leaves to its hands for weapons. What’s this guy thinking? Does he not know that fire is super effective on leaves? Yet to my surprise, not every game works exactly like pokemon. Guess fireballs are kinda useless after you’ve been punched into the depths of hell by a furry green rodent. OK. I didn’t get a single kill, but no big deal right? That guy was obviously obsessed with the game, it wasn’t even fair.

Next up: the adorable little whale I mentioned before. As usual, I start the match with my constant spamming of fireballs. Luckily for me, this guy doesn’t yet know how to block them! He’s getting some hits on me with his bubble burps, but I’m getting some right back. One combo later and I’ve taken the first kill! He comes back immediately though, slapping me off the stage with his fatass tail. Before I know it, we both have one stock left. I use all the strategy under my belt (i.e. constantly hitting the attack buttons in random order) just to get him off stage. AND… he teleports back. This is fine. It didn’t help that he teleported right under me and knocked me into the air. But I did notice something: he can only teleport to a super specific spot on the stage. By some miracle, I’m still not dead AND manage to get him offstage again. He teleports back again, but this time I’m ready. With my fiery furry fist fully charged, I smash the crap out of that poor, innocent whale, reminding him who’s king of the motherfuckin jungle. Well, who was until his fiery mane burnt it all down…

What’s the lesson here? Stick to pokemon and life is a lot less confusing.

Written on April 23, 2017