With the resurgence of couch co-op we’ve been seeing in the indie space over the past couple years, it’s almost hard to break through the noise. There are a ton of new competitive and cooperative games coming down the pipe and it can be hard to keep up. So when something does make its mark, it has to be shouted from the rooftops, and Striker’s Edge really did leave a mark with me. It has more of a learning curve than some of the other competitive action games out there, but it’s a blast once you get the hang of it.
It’s essentially dodgeball with medieval knights and spears and Vikings with a colorful 16-bit art style. You can play two or four player, and you’ll be able to choose whichever of the eight fighters you can choose from. Each of the eight is equipped with their own unique special ability, ranging from ricocheting shields to hook-chains to pull your enemies closer, as well as different stats when it comes to attack and defense. The arenas you fight in will also have their own special ways of screwing up your plans. Some will have nowhere to find cover, others will have environmental hazards, and so on. When the game releases this May, there will be six arenas to battle in.
Basically, a battle looks like this: there are either two or four players on each side of the screen, and when the alarm sounds, they start chucking spears. To aim, you use the right stick, which controls a long arrow protruding from your character notifying you (and your enemy) where your next spear is going to go. The left stick obviously moves your feet, as you’ll be able to move around your half of the screen, dodging attacks from the other side and positioning yourself for the next throw. To avoid spearing, you can hide behind cover if there is any, you can block if your character has some sort of shield, and or you can dodge. Attacking is where the difficulty comes in. That big arrow telling you where you’re going to throw is really accurate, but what you have to guess is where your opponent is going to be when your spear reaches the other side. They don’t move very fast, so you have to lead the throw. The guy I was playing against at the show and I were both pretty terrible at landing shots on one another at the beginning. It took a good while before we figured out on our own how to effectively throw, but I’m sure if you have a good teacher it will be a good bit easier to get the hang of it. And once we had both figured it out, it was all out war and a really good time.
Striker’s Edge will also feature an online mode. Not just ranked leaderboards, but also a fully online version of the actual game. You’ll be able to matchmake with people around the world and take them on just like you would your friends sitting next to you. On the Steam version specifically, the team at Fun Punch has integrated a really cool way to interact with your audience when you’re streaming on Twitch as well. In certain arenas, there will be an audience of little 16-bit medieval men and women watching the fight. If you’re watching someone playing Striker’s Edge on Twitch, you’ll essentially be one of those people in the crowd, and therefore will be able to cheer them on and actually assist them in their fight. It’s not anything ridiculous, but as an audience member, you’ll be able to give your champion a bit of cover. I’m not sure how long this cover lasts or how much cover it actually gives the player, but it will help them out in a pinch.
And while I didn’t get a chance to check it out, there will also be a campaign mode in Striker’s Edge, where you can follow the paths of each of the eight fighters on their own little quests, fighting their way to the top and along the way learning why they do what they do. There’s a lot to do in Striker’s Edge and I think people are going to have a lot of fun passing the controllers around with this one.
Striker’s Edge is coming this May to PlayStation 4 and Steam.