Do you bother writing Steam reviews? I know a lot of people consider them useless, yet I still try to write something from time to time. I always make an effort to be concise (< 1 page), I think that there are way too many available reviews to read for a long one to be truly useful. Someone who wants a very detailed review will probably look elsewhere, I think Steam is mostly good to quickly gather short user impressions to confirm or deny what you expect of a game. Straight to the point reviews.
Today I wrote one for Rivals of Aether:
At last a great platform fighter (i.e. Smash clone) on PC. I’m somewhere between beginner and intermediate, so I can’t comment on how the game is played at high level. I’ll share my experience and thoughts as a casual player.
The controls have an elegant simplicity that grants the game its appeal and low skill floor. Simply input a direction and one of the attack buttons simultaneously to perform an attack in that direction. There are three attack buttons corresponding to tilts, strong attacks and special attacks. The same controls apply universally to all characters and they all share quite similar tilts and strong attacks, so that once you learned to play with one character, you can find your bearings with any of them.
There are only 8 characters but each has a pretty unique moveset with some specific quirks, especially when it comes to special attacks. This can be both great and somehow bothering at the same time. Great because every character has a distinct playstyle and everyone is guaranteed to find at least a few tailored to them among this small but varied cast. Bothering because it steepens the learning curve for two reasons when compared to Smash. First, it slightly gets in the way of skill transfer from character to character. Secondly, matchups knowledge becomes more important.
By no means I want to give the impression that this is an actual issue and that the game is in fact hard to learn, it is still very easy to pick up, it only makes it harder to master. And yet, RoA brings some of its own simplicity to the genre. It pares down the mechanics and trims the formula to its essential components by removing grabs, edge grabbing, L-cancelling, shields (replaced with parries), … What remains at the core is a streamlined gameplay that prominently features exhilarating kickass combos.
The result is a mechanically tight game with a low skill floor, high skill ceiling, and a learning curve sloped to quickly and comfortably project players towards the more fast paced, technical and competitive side of platform fighters.
I absolutely recommend this game to anyone who prefers Melee to other Smash games. This is the closest you will get on PC. It manages to capture both the simplicity and depth that I enjoyed in Melee while still having its own flavor and charm.
Although it isn’t a party game and is definitely positioned towards the competitive end of the spectrum, I also strongly recommend it to newcomers. I mostly play casually with friends at my skill level, and even so I enjoy it much more than the few other alternatives on PC. The action is fast paced, the combos you can pull off even as a beginner are really awesome, and it’s overall extremely fun.
Let me know what you think of it!