The Best Fighting Games On Nintendo Switch That Aren’t Smash Bros.

While the Nintendo Switch’s small JoyCons weren’t exactly made for those that appreciate fighting games, there’s no question that the system can hold its own in the arena. Get yourself a pair of Pro Controllers and set them up for the following recommended games and we assure you that you’ll have a great time getting into a brawling mood.

No, the list isn’t about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Obviously that’s a recommended favorite, but there are so many other fighting games that are worth checking out as well, as we’ve noted below.

So load up on a bigger memory card and get those fighting thumbs ready, because things are about to get rather competitive up in this piece.

Dragon Ball FighterZ (Bandai Namco)

After taking our breath away on other platforms, we figured it would just be a matter of time before Goku, Vegeta and the rest of the Dragon Ball Z gang would arrive on the Nintendo Switch in the form of FighterZ.

Produced by the team at Arc System Works, FighterZ looks like an anime universe brought to life. It brings several of the DBZ characters to the 2D fighting realm in the best way possible. You’ve got your combos, your super moves, your counters and, of course, those super-dramatic moves where a planet gets cut in half after you hurl someone into it.

Dragon Ball FIghterZ

What’s more, the game runs impressively on the Switch, whether in handheld mode or playing on the big-screen. The animation is truly impressive, and the speed of the game is second to none when it comes to dialing in the big hits. And the gameplay is as smooth as ever, offering something for both newcomers and veterans alike.

Even if you’re not really that heavily into anime, you owe it to yourself to check out FighterZ. It’s a brawler’s dream come true.

Mortal Kombat 11 (WB Games)

So there is one rather big hang-up that you’ll have to accept with Mortal Kombat 11 on the Nintendo Switch – this sucker takes up a lot of space. The game runs at around 15GB install with the physical version, via a day one patch. And if you go digital, it’ll crank up to around the 22GB range, maybe even higher.

Now, if you have a memory card that can sufficiently handle that kind of range, and you don’t mind waiting a while for the download to drop into place, then you’re in for a hell of a port. Mortal Kombat 11 actually feels quite good on the Nintendo Switch, particularly with the Pro Controller. That said, portable mode isn’t too shabby either, if it’s the only option you have on the table.

Now, visually, the game does pale in comparison to its Xbox One/PS4 brethren, but the devs still managed to get it running smoothly enough that most players don’t mind. What’s more, like Mortal Kombat II on the SNES, MK11 is brimming with all kinds of sweet carnage. That includes limbs flying off, bodies exploding and so, so much more. It’s all here, fans.

Along with a satisfying story mode, Mortal Kombat 11 also features a balanced Towers mode to test your might and multiplayer options for those that want to mix it up with others. Local versus is your best bet, but that’s a good deal anyway considering friends want to come over and punch your head off.

Even with its technical limitations, Mortal Kombat 11 holds its own – and more – on the Switch. Now if we can just get a port of Injustice 2

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection (Capcom)

At one point in time, it looked like the best way to get Street Fighter action on the Nintendo Switch was to pick up a copy of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. And while that’s not a bad option to have, it doesn’t really do much for those looking for variety. Fortunately, the 30th Anniversary Collection easily picks up where the debut effort left off.

That’s because, for a mere $30, you get a pretty complete package of the Street Fighter saga, going from the original game that started it all in 1987 (before Street Fighter II four years later) to the awesome Street Fighter III: Third Strike, considered by many to be one of the best in the series. The ports of all these games are done incredibly well, and the fighting action feels as smooth as it ever has, right down to the counter moves and getting those occasional combos. Again, a Pro Controller is your best bet here, but it feels so nice.

On top of that, you can also take part in online fighting with some of the key titles, like Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting and Street Fighter Alpha 3. It’s a slight disappointment that online isn’t offered across the board, but it allows Capcom to focus on delivering top-tier performance in the games that really matter. And, yes, Third Strike has that support as well.

Also included in this game is a sweet Museum Mode, where you can delve into the history of Street Fighter. It’s mesmerizing just how stacked this is, and it’ll keep you busy while you wait to jump into your next match.

While Ultra Street Fighter II is a good game, this Collection delivers more than its weight in gold. Well worth it for the $30 drop.

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle (Arc System Works)

Although Dragon Ball FighterZ has more than enough of a recommendation on the Arc System Works front, we dare not forget about the game that put them on the map to begin with on the Switch – BlazBlue. In Cross Tag Battle, you’ll pair up with a number of characters across various fighting games in one huge mishmash of fists, kicks and supers. And it’s unbelievable, to say the least.

Featuring characters from the respective Persona, Under Night In-Birth and RWBY (as well as BlazBlue, obviously), Cross Tag Battle delivers an unprecedented roster of characters to choose from, as well as the option to expand upon it with several characters through downloadable content. It never hurts to see what all is out there, so you can master certain ones and deliver a true butt whooping online.

The game features stellar visuals that match the quality of FighterZ in terms of hand-drawn elegance and beautiful backgrounds. For that matter, the game also features a rockin’ soundtrack that will be right at home for those of you that love any of the franchises above. But it’s the gameplay that will truly hook you, with a 2 vs. 2 gameplay system that rivals the greatness of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. It has its own special tricks that you certainly shouldn’t miss.

There’s also an array of spectacular modes to choose from, which will keep you busy in both single player and against others in multiplayer. It’s impressively stacked, and you won’t have to sacrifice too much of your memory card if you take the digital route. (Of course, physical game fans will want to pick this up and add it to their growing collection.)

While one Arc System Works party with FighterZ may be enough for some, we recommend adding BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle to the party. If only because there’s more than enough 2D fighting goodness to go around, so why limit it to just one selection?

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy (SNK)

Okay, we know. This isn’t exactly the most serious SNK fighting game out there, but there’s enough variety for that with the Arcade Archives releases, as you can load up on Samurai Shodown and Garou: Mark of the Wolves for less than a 20 spot. That said, SNK Heroines does deserve some commendation, mainly because of the two things it manages to do pretty well.

The first is delivering fan service. Sure, it takes a Dead or Alive route to do so, but that’s proven popular with Koei Tecmo in the past, so why shouldn’t SNK give it a try? The selection of female characters is rather startling, and their outfits would give Kasumi and company a run for their money. It doesn’t necessarily over-sexualize either, though it definitely doesn’t hold back on the cheesecake. There’s a reason it has a Teen rating.

snk heroines

As for the second thing, it just takes the fighting ball and rolls with it when it comes to entertainment. It’s a bit on the silly side, but the combo system works reasonably well; and the super moves are a blast to pull off. Plus, the game looks pretty good for a 3D SNK brawler, though obviously Samurai Shodown will take the throne whenever it arrives for the platform later this year.

While SNK Heroines may not be a favorite choice, it still gets thumbs up for those that are looking for something just outside of the norm.

Blade Strangers (Nicalis)

Although it’s not the most original crossover title out there, Blade Strangers has that certain appeal that some fans will love. Plus, you really won’t find a fighting game with a more diverse cast than this. We’re talking a buffed up Shovel Knight taking on the kid from The Binding of Isaac Plus, folks.

The game features a traditional 2D design that, while not as detailed as Arc System Works’ games, still looks very well done. And the 3D backgrounds are pretty nicely rendered to boot, so you actually feel like you’re battling in a living, breathing world.

On top of that, the control system is well handled here. If you’re approaching for the first time, the game will help you learn about what makes it tick, so you can adapt to its systems and get into the fight. And if you’re a veteran, you can figure things out rather quickly, so you can master your terrain.

Blade Strangers also packs on the fun as far as multiplayer is concerned, with lots of online match-ups that run relatively well for the Switch.

It’s not the most commendable fighting game out there, but Blade Strangers is a lot of fun. And it’s a good one-two punch to go alongside the Puzzle Fighter II-esque Crystal Crisis that’s set to drop in just a few days. Now fight!

ARMS (Nintendo)

While most folks would recommend Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as the king of the fighting games for the Switch (and rightfully so), we have to give a nod to ARMS, a game that launched shortly after the system’s release. And while it’s a bit unexpected when it comes to its extendable limbs and deeper strategy, it’s a lot more fun than we expected it to be.

In the game, you choose from a number of characters that let their hands do the talking; and then drop into a 3D arena where you can try to knock them out before they get the chance to. There’s some cool stuff here, including selecting which limbs you want to go with, each with their own special abilities. What’s more, some of the characters provide their own extra spark as well, keeping things interesting with each brawl.

It’s a blast to play online. And what’s more, it’s a local favorite, too. And it actually makes proper use of the JoyCons in versus play, though, again, stick with a Pro Controller if you can.

Check out the trailer above to give yourself a good idea of just how ARMS works. We’d certainly be down for a sequel – provided they don’t call it something weird. Like LEGS or something. ELBOWS?

Pokken Tournament DX (Nintendo)

You didn’t really think we were going to leave the Pokemon out of this fight, did you? Did you? Silly trainers. Pokken Tournament left quite an impact over on the Wii U, so it only makes sense that the game do so on the Nintendo Switch as well. Nintendo, alongside the folks at Bandai Namco, really gave this the proper treatment it deserved. As a result, fans are sure to love it – if they can stop playing Pokémon Let’s Go for a good few minutes.

In the game, you’ll choose from a number of Pokémon characters and then engage in battle. A neat little system lets you fight between 2D and 3D planes, switching between them quite effectively as you execute special moves and try to win each fight. 

The controls are relatively easy to use, and take some time to truly master. So it’s got that perfect amount of balance that feels right at home, even to newcomers. As for full-blown Pokémon fans, there’s some great service here that you’re going to really dig.

Throw in a fun story mode (with a somewhat annoying announcer – just quiet down for a few, lady) and some great online versus action, and you’ve got a winner that will please both newbies and masters alike. We’d definitely take a follow-up to this one if we were given the chance.

Other Recommendations

Here are some quick recommendations you shouldn’t miss out on:

Pocket Rumble– a cool little $10 Game Boy-esque fighting game with fun characters and simple controls. A good game for kids and non-fighting masters to check out.

Samurai Shodown- the classic SNK game lives on via the Arcade Archives collection- and it’s a good warm-up for the new game coming in just a few months.

Garou: Mark of the Wolves– another SNK title that’s well worth your time, especially considering you get an all-out classic for just $8.

Nidhogg 2- an oddball fencing game, but one filled with wonderful tactics and fun local versus action. Plus, did we mention it’s weird? Because it’s damn weird.

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Deadly Alliance’s Frost Returns For Mortal Kombat 11

If you’re a fan of the classic Mortal Kombat games, you might recall a mighty Lin Kuei warrior by the name of Frost. We haven’t seen this femme fatale in quite a while, but now she’s back and more cold-blooded than ever before.

During today’s KombatKast leading into the game’s official release this evening, NetherRealm Studios announced that Frost is the final member of the core cast of Mortal Kombat 11. She’s just as deadly as she’s ever been, with ice-cold abilities that generate from her arms and chest.

She’s become a lot more cybernetic than you may recall, as you can see in the trailer below. She’s practically a head that’s fused into a cybernetic body, ready to crush anyone in her path. And you can see that with some of the abilities she uses in combat. This includes a huge ice beam that shoots from her chest, Iron Man style, to knock her opponent into the middle of next winter.

In addition, she can also generate ice blades from her hands and spin them around helicopter-style, landing several hits on her opponent. She can also freeze them in mid-air, making them susceptible to both airborne and ground combos.

And when she launches into a cinematic attack, as you can see, she hits them not once, not twice but three times with slams into icicle-laden walls.

Then there’s her fatality, and let’s just say it leans on the creative side, and could possibly introduce a new character in the future. Needless to say, a deep freeze may be on the way.

The trailer paves the way for Mortal Kombat 11‘s launch tonight on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC. And it’ll give players the opportunity to see who has what it takes to survive: Sub-Zero or Frost. Looks like it’ll be a cold day in hell figuring out that argument.

Source: Twitter

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Mortal Kombat 11 Hands-On: Still Slayin’ ‘Em

Considering the success of Injustice 2 before it, it’s not like we desperately needed a new Mortal Kombat game to come along. The 2015 release of Mortal Kombat (and its XL-sized content, featuring various movie villains and additional characters) was still keeping us plenty busy. That said, NetherRealm Studios felt the need to move on, and, boy, has it. Earlier this year, WB Games gave us the opportunity to get some Mortal Kombat 11 hands-on action.

Mortal Kombat 11 Hands-On

The game had initially gotten a surprise announcement (even though some folks clearly saw it coming when creative director Ed Boon took the stage) at The Game Awards 2018 a month prior, but this event gave us the opportunity to go hands-on with the title and see what changes were coming to the formula.

Well, the good news is that the fundamentals of Kombat still remain intact with this latest go-around. The fighting is just as bloody as it’s ever been; and what’s more, NetherRealm has found a steady balancing act with its cast, introducing older favorites like Sub-Zero, Raiden and Scorpion, along with surprise returns like Baraka and Scarlett. And for good measure, there’s new blood to be spilled, in the form of the powerful Geras. And there’s probably more where that came from.

The game has some components in common with the previously released Mortal Kombat XL, as well as a little bit of Injustice 2. The fighting mechanics will be quite familiar to some, including the ability to pick up items in the background, just to mix things up a little bit. X-Rays also make a return, as you can deliver bone-crunching attacks to opponents, with the camera zooming in and displaying bits and pieces of their skeletons breaking apart. However, we can’t help but wonder how someone can possibly finish a match with a broken sternum.

Not too much has been revealed about the story just yet, but Mortal Kombat 11 follows right on the heels of the events that unfolded in X. Following the defeat of Shinnok, Raiden, now corrupted by evil, vows to return to Earthrealm to destroy all his foes. But there’s an interesting time wrinkle that gets in the way, as a new character named Kronika appears.

She deems herself as “The Keeper of Time,” and feels that Raiden is too much of a threat to the current timeline, as he could easily throw everything into chaos. So she does everything in her power to stop him at all costs, including throwing her loyal servant Geras into the fold. However, her intentions may not seem as clear as she makes them to be, especially given the brutal nature of Geras.

That’s about all we know, but it does set the events in motion for the fighting, which is as glorious as you’d expect it to be. Like in XL (and Injustice 2, to an extent), you can set up a series of combos with your given character, mixing up punches, kicks and special attacks to nail your opponent for a few crucial hits. Likewise, they can block and return the favor, making for a nicely seasoned match each time around.

Mortal Kombat 11 Hands-On

But there’s more to Kombat than that. The X-Rays are just the beginning, creating some pulverizing moves to chip away at your rival’s energy bar. There are some neat new additions to the formula that keep it moving forward, instead of simply doing what XL did so well.

First off, there’s the Fatal Blow. With this, you can easily turn the tide of a match in your favor. This only becomes available once your character’s health drops below 30 percent (you’ll see an indication bar alerting you when this happens), and once you activate it, you can really knock the wind out of your opponent and bring them closer to your level of health.

That said, you will need the utmost timing when it comes to executing this move. The reason for this is because the Fatal Blow can only be used once per round. So if you miss, you won’t get the opportunity to do it again. Make your timing count, and don’t be in such a rush to pull it off, especially if your opponent is unleashing a flurry of attacks on you.

Then there’s the Krushing Blow. This works as an extension of the X-Ray, with a number of moves tied together to put the hurt on your adversary. Once you pull this off, they’ll perform a number of devastating moves chained together in a cinematic fashion. For instance, Sonya Blade will set up a turret, and after hitting her opponent a couple of times, she’ll drag them in front of it, where they’ll take several shots before being thrown to the ground. Over the top? Sure, but that’s Mortal Kombat for you.

If you’re on the defensive side of things with fighting, one mechanic you’ll definitely want to take advantage of is the Flawless Block. With this, you can actually time your blocks perfectly, setting the stage for striking back at an opponent with utmost agility. This can be tricky to execute, as we learned from our hands-on with the game, but it’s so worth it. It’s just a matter of finding the right moment and using it to get back into the fight.

Combined with the combos, Mortal Kombat 11 feels like it’s got its old-school nature completely intact. It does have some of the Mortal Kombat XL feel as well, but they seem to mesh together into something that feels worthwhile, even though we only played with a handful of characters.

That said, there’s something about how Geras plays. He’s a remarkable character, generating sand to his will for a number of moves, such as a bed of spikes that he throws his adversaries into, as well as projectiles that can prove quite useful in a face-off. And for his fatality, he can actually smash an opponent to pieces, sending part of their face flying off into the screen. Um, can you say, “Ouch”?

For that matter, the “old-school” characters have terrific feeling as well. Sonya Blade, here portrayed by former UFC and current WWE Raw women’s champion Ronda Rousey, is a versatile character, with up-close strikes and distant attacks that make her feel well balanced. As for her fatality, it’s a bit strange, as she launches an opponent into the air and shoots them high enough that they go flying into the blades of a helicopter, getting chopped into mincemeat. We prefer the ol’ “kiss of death” from the original game, but who knows, that could be a good alternate fatality for her.

Perhaps our favorite of the bunch, based on who we’ve tried out thus far, is Baraka. There’s something about having this beast back into the mix, mainly with how well his speed and power come together. His bladed arms are really good for raising a ruckus, and he’s also wonderful with his feet. As for his fatality, well, he rips his opponents a new one, then tears their brain out of their head and eats it like a mid-afternoon snack.

Now, keep in mind that this hands-on event didn’t include some of the newly introduced characters in the fold, such as the returning Kano or the uber powerful Kabal. So we have yet to give them a try. Fortunately, we’re not too far off from the launch of the beta for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so we’ll be able to give them a chance. On top of that, there are still more fighters yet to be introduced, and it’s a safe bet we’ll see some other returning favorites, as well as an iconic downloadable character or two.

Now let’s talk about the presentation. Thus far, we’ve only been able to play a handful of stages within Mortal Kombat 11, but they’re represented very well. One features Sonya’s combat arena in the background, with a large turret roaming about and sand kicking around everywhere. It’s very well done, and will keep you happy as you use her (or your given character) to kick some butt and take some names.

There’s also a barely lit fighting arena where you can see purple candles in the background, adding some nice mood to your fight. This is probably one of my favorites, just because of how well NetherRealm integrated lighting into the mix.

Finally, a torn-apart temple really shows just how much the world has changed following the corruption of Raiden. There are fallen monks everywhere, cast into stone. And you can actually fight around them as you take on your opponent, delivering crushing blows and maybe even throwing one or two of them around, depending on where you’re standing.

The animation in Mortal Kombat 11 thus far is excellent. Each of the characters brings their moves to life with thunderous ability. Raiden, for instance, crackles with electricity with each step he takes in battle. Baraka, meanwhile, looks absolutely menacing with his steely grin and his twisted facial design. And, of course, Scorpion and Sub-Zero are on point with their trademark fire and ice abilities, leaving their mark in each stage that they partake in battle.

Mortal Kombat 11 Hands-On

As for sound, we could barely hear the game with our hands-on session, but it’s great to have that deep voiced announcer back calling each match as it kicks off. The music is superb thus far, capturing the same mood that worked so well in Mortal Kombat XL. And as cheesy as the voices can be at times, they fit the characters like a glove, especially Scarlett, who sounds like an absolute badass. For that matter, Rousey does give Sonya Blade the right amount of kick thus far, though some fans may prefer the previous actress that portrayed her.

There are still some questions that have yet to be answered when it comes to Mortal Kombat 11. The first is how the Nintendo Switch version of the game will hold up. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to try it out during the event, though producer Trevor Traub made it clear that there’s a dedicated team hard at work on making that version handle really well.

He confirmed that a team by the name of Shiver Studios was hard at work on that version, and though there is a slight bit of compression in order to make it run, it should be just as smooth and hard-hitting as other versions of the game. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be able to take your fights wherever you go, thanks to the Switch’s portability. So it’s got an advantage over the other versions right there.

Then there are the multiplayer components. The Towers will once again be making a comeback, labeled the Towers of Time, so you can challenge a string of opponents before challenging others. Online play should work like a charm in all versions, even though it hasn’t been tested yet. Hopefully we’ll see some tournament options with the final release, as this could be a big success come EVO 2019 time, making it a key part of the yearly fighting show.

And of course, we’re left with the question of “Who’s next?,” as the game regularly asks. We know a great deal of the cast that will be included in MK11, but there are more spots open for returning favorites, as well as new faces and guest stars. Mortal Kombat gave us everyone from Leatherface to Alien and Predator, so the sky’s the limit. I’m honestly pulling for Ash from the Evil Dead series to make the rounds. However, NetherRealm has proven to surprise before, as it did with Hellboy and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Injustice 2, so we’ll just keep on guessing in the meantime.

There’s really a lot to like about Mortal Kombat 11 thus far. The gameplay has its heart in the right place (when it’s not getting ripped out, mind you), with new and classic features to please all sorts of fans. The presentation is top-notch, even upping the game that XL provided years ago. Now we just need to see how the rest of the pieces come together before the game arrives on April 23 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC.

One thing’s for sure. Mortal Kombat fans will eat it right up, like Baraka snacking on that brain. Mmmmm, brain food.

Mortal Kombat 11 Hands-On

(Hat tip to WB Games for having me down at the event!)

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