8 Best Indie Fighting Games

The fighting game genre is going strong and showing no signs of slowing down. With the Super Smash Bros and Street Fighter series producing some of the greatest fighting games of the 2000s, it's not hard to see why people still flood to play these experiences.

However, while the triple-A fighting game scene is booming, there are a lot of smaller indie titles that are just as good, but often overlooked. From some admittedly iconic indie fighting games to unique titles with an engrossing hook, these indie fighting games may not have the same budget, but they absolutely go toe to toe with their competitors.

8 Lethal League Blaze

Lethal League Blaze is a truly bizarre and wonderful fighting game. Well, perhaps "fighting game" is too general of a term to label this game with. In fact, Lethal League Blaze is more of a hit-a-ball-and-hope-it-smashes-your-opponents-face sort of game.

You still pick from a phenomenal roster of cool dudes, dudettes, and everything in between to battle your opponent with, but it’s just less with fists and magical powers and more with skateboards, baseball bats, and an assortment of other bat-like objects. There’s truly nothing else quite like Lethal League Blaze on the market.

7 Rivals Of Aether

Have you ever wondered what Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would look like as an indie game? Well, it’s with pixel art and called Rivals of Aether. In all honesty, to call Rivals of Aether a Smash clone would be disingenuous to this brilliant indie brawler.

While of course there are similarities, the fluidity in combat, various modes, amazing character designs and more make it stand out. To make the experience even sweeter, Rivals of Aether allows you to play as both Ori and Sein and Shovel Knight. There’s so much to love about this fighting game that it may just nudge Super Smash Bros. Ultimate down a ranking in your top ten.

6 Brawlout

While we’re discussing indie fighting games that take the Super Smash Bros. formula and tweak it ever so slightly, let’s talk Brawlout. Not unlike Rivals of Aether, Brawlout offers a Super Smash Bros.-esque experience with a range of brand-new characters and indie game guest stars.

You’ll be able to control the Drifter from the effortlessly stylish Hyper Light Drifter as well as Juan from Guacamelee!. The combat is brilliant, offering new players an easy way in and veterans of the genre plenty of skills and techniques to master. While comparatively Brawlout has a smaller roster of characters and maps, it more than makes up for it with its unique setting, humour, and charm.

5 Skullgirls 2nd Encore

Skullgirls 2nd Encore is ridiculously stylish. One look at its launch trailer will show you just how gorgeous its onslaught of fluid animations and backgrounds are. It is one of the more satisfying indie fighting games to play, with the impressive amount of movesets allowing you to unleash a flurry of beautifully animated attacks.

While Skullgirls 2nd Encore is one of the most impressive fighting games from a mechanical point of view, it is its gorgeously designed characters that make it such a standout experience. From the aptly named Umbrella to the enormous Big Band, these designs feel instantly iconic. Suffice to say, Skullgirls 2nd Encore’s roster is made up of some of the most unique in the entirety of the fighting game genre.

4 Super Drink Bros

There is finally a way of ending the tireless debate of whether Pepsi is better than Coke – it is, absolutely no question – or if Sprite is superior to 7up – it isn’t. Enter, Super Drink Bros, a fighting game in which the characters are soda cans. This novel concept may sound a little out there, but it, fortunately, translates into an incredibly satisfying fighting game.

Whatever drink you decide to control, you can be sure it has enormously buff arms and legs. These lethal weapons, in collaboration with magical abilities – because of course -, are your arsenal against the onslaught of generic brand soda drinks. You’ll fight in gorgeous 3D arenas, dash around to dodge attacks, block when necessary, and punch when possible. It’s ridiculously fun, more so than it has any right to be, and well worth your time.

3 One Strike

One Strike is – like it sounds – a fighting game where you can take out your opponent with just one strike. Set in feudal Japan, One Strike is one of the most intense fighting experiences available. Each and every move you make needs to be carefully considered, as should you go one step too far you may find your head rolling on the floor.

One Strike succeeds because of this core mechanic, but it’s also just a gorgeous game. Each of the game’s limited backgrounds is stunning, bringing to life a traditional Japanese art style through the use of pixel art. With a handful of characters to choose from – each of which plays drastically different from one another – and a few modes to really sink your teeth into, this small but sweet indie fighting game is truly gripping.

2 Pocket Rumble

Fighting games are often rather complex, presenting players with numerous ways to attack their opponent from the outside. If you don’t understand Bread and Butter Combos, Chip Damage, Chicken-guard, and the Bacon Maneuver – only one of those is made up -, we completely sympathise. Fortunately, Pocket Rumble is here to make things easier for you.

Pocket Rumble’s whole philosophy is to offer newcomers to the fighting game genre an accessible entry point. It does away with all the complex combos and needless button presses and instead offers a simple control scheme. It’s all contextualised by gorgeous visuals and a fun roster of maps to fight in. While it isn’t the most in-depth fighting game, those looking for something a little easier may want to give it a go.

1 Ultra Space Battle Brawl

Not unlike Lethal League Blaze, Ultra Space Battle Brawl offers players a fighting game centred around hitting a ball with your bat. However, whereas Lethal League Blaze is all about hitting your opponent with said ball, Ultra Space Battle Brawl combines the thrill and frantic action of a fighting game with Brick Breaker-esque gameplay.

Amazingly, it works and is unbelievably satisfying to play. With each character having a unique ability to help them gain the upper hand in combat, this fighting game offers a unique experience when compared to its contemporaries. While UItra Space Battle Brawl may never see a sequel, the charm and brilliant world-building packed into this indie gem still make for a perfect one-off fighting game experience.

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