The best fighting games allow you to practice the unique mechanics in that game, but still find and perfect your own style and flair. Fighting games are still strangely niche, despite them being one of the older genres in gaming, but we’re expecting things to flair up again this year thanks to a roster of new games, including the rather tasty-looking Street Fighter 6.
It’d be easy to recommend things like Soul Calibur and Tekken here, but we’re aiming for games you’re less likely to have heard of. After all, if you’re trawling lists on the internet, the chances are you’ve seen a lot of the same entries so far, because the best games are always the best games. So, here are a few of the best fighting games that you might not have played or heard of.
Your Only Move Is Hustle is quite possibly the most incredible fighting game to have been released in the last decade, and it’s also under a fiver. The game features four main characters to play as with deep and rewarding mechanics to learn, but mods allow you to add in countless others, including a Moonwalker and a Saiyan. Then it’s up to you and whoever you’re fighting to solve things with your fists. Oh, also the game is turn-based, and each fight can take up to 20 minutes to get through, but then replays in real time once someone has one to make you both feel like absolute badasses.
Them’s Fightin Herds is an adorable fighting game with characters designed by Lauren Faust, who’s responsible for some excellent character designs and cartoons. You’ll be battling to the death with a bunch of hooved animals, but while it may look cute, the mechanical dexterity required here is off-the-charts, and it’s intensely satisfying to master any of the characters, let alone the game itself. You also get to beat up horses, so that’s good if that’s something you’re really into for some reason.
This is one of the coolest fighting games out there, and the cast of characters is amazing. This high-tech fighting game has a fully-voiced story mode to explore with loads of excellent characters, including one fighter who is basically a sentient wind instrument. The art style is beautiful, the beatdowns are brutal, and the price is pretty good too.
It’s weird to include a game about the Power Rangers on a list of the best fighting games that aren’t as popular, but here we are. Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is an exceptionally satisfying fighter that pits characters from all the different Power Rangers ages against one another in brutal, lightning-fast battles. It’s actually very tough when playing against CPU players, so bring your A-game.
The Thrill of the Fight is a virtual reality boxing game. Boxing is an excellent fighting game, nobody can deny that, and The Thrill of the Fight captures it in an unparalleled way. You get to throw down with a variety of opponents, and the best part of all of it is that you’ll be getting an intense workout as you’re playing the game. There are other VR fighting games, but this one’s still the heavyweight champion of the world in our eyes.
If you love the idea of fighting games but always feel like they’re too complicated, then Pocket Rumble has you covered. This fighting game just uses two different buttons for attacks, and it brings down the need for complex combos immensely. There’s still depth to be found here though, and the adorable old-school art style helps sell the whole thing as a complete game that’s great for fighting game pros and newcomers alike.
One of the coolest parts of any fighting game is the customisation. Not every game gets it right though, but Fight of Steel: Infinity Warrior is almost entirely about play customisation. You get to build your very own robot fighter, and not only choose how they look, but also get into the nitty-gritty of their moves. The result is a fighting game that’s almost as much fun to plan as it is to play, and it’s a great one to get into as a result.