Toribash Review: Violence Perfected

Toribash Review: Violence Perfected
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Real Fighting

Fighting games seem to be a rarity amongst all the shooter games, strategy titles and hidden-object puzzle titles. Well, Nabi Studios hasn’t forgotten about fighting fans in an age where gamers are lucky to get a boxing title every once in a while and the only noteworthy 3D fighters available are from age-old franchises from Namco and Capcom, such as Soul Calibur, Tekken and Street Fighter.

ToriBash is a truly unique one-on-one fighting game that completely throws out the typical 20-hit combo and instead replaces ridiculous arcade maneuvers for turn-based, strategic fighting techniques. The game is definitely an original foray into uncharted territory within the fighting game genre. Keep reading this ToriBash review to find out what else the game has to offer.

Concept (5 out of 5)

Two capoeira fighters duking it out

There’s no doubt about it that ToriBash is as original as they come when compared to most other fighting games. The fact that players do battle using a turn-based mechanic that advances the frames by a user-designated amount means that players have to plan out how they plan to attack and defend. The actual manipulation of the player character is handled by relaxing, contracting, extending or holding various joints, allowing for a wide variety of martial arts maneuvers and grabs…yes, grabs.

Players win a match either by scoring more points than an opponent before the turns run out or by disqualification (usually forcing a player outside the designated fighting area). Alternatively, a player can win by dismembering the opponent, however such a feat requires great skill and technique. In addition to this, players can customize their fighter as they level up and gain new ranks, earning points and having the option to buy additional colors, textures and other accessories for the fighter.

Gameplay (4 out of 5)

Two judo fighters vying for position

The entire game is played using a mouse and the spacebar. A few hotkeys can be used to quickly manipulate certain body parts, but for the most part players will designate how their fighter will move simply using the mouse. An in-game tutorial helps teach players how to perform several basic moves, including knee strikes, counter-throws and kicks, which helps a small amount when entering into the multiplayer arena where other players come online looking for a challenge.

Conveniently enough, the game lists various servers for players of varying skill levels where they can join and compete against one another. The rooms are broken down into different disciplines, ranging from Judo, Akido and Kickboxing, to hilarious game modes such as jousting and air-fighting. The physics-based engine allows for a lot of creative gameplay freedom and extends the replay value greatly.

Graphics And Sound (2 out of 5)

Ripping bodies to shreds

What can I say about the visuals and audio of ToriBash? That maybe it’s best to not look too seriously at them due to their lack of detail and quality. Still, if you can get past the polygonal model designs and simplified sound effects, there’s a pretty good game stashed away in ToriBash. In fact, not all aspects of the visuals are cringe-worthy; the motion trails and pre-move animations are showcased nicely, giving players a detailed look at what their fighter will do next before the round ends. In actuality, the final animation sets usually look quite nice…and players who know how to execute moves properly can put on an amazing display of martial arts acrobatics.

Gameplay Depth (3 out of 5)

A perfectly executed rolling-solebutt

The amount of options and gameplay modes are limited. Although, who could really expect the same amount of features from Tekken Tag Tournament in an indie-fighting title? So despite only offering very basic fighting game modes, the game’s depth mostly relies on the unpredictable nature of how each and every round will play out. The option to have the avatar fight and react in a myriad of possibilities manages to keep each round fresh and original from the previous fight. Despite the sparse options outside of choosing round times and lengths, the ability to advance one’s fighting skill by learning new moves, blocks, counters, grabs and aerial attacks actually offers up enough depth and replay to make ToriBash a game worth coming back to when fighting-fans get tired of air-juggling in Super Street Fighter IV or playing dress-up in Tekken 6.

Overall (3 out of 5)

A punch and a pose

ToriBash is a solid outing from indie dev, Hampus Söderström, and despite its limitations when it comes to gameplay options, the game still manages to hammer in the fun by the boatload. While patience and a good sense of physics-based response timing is required to get the most out of the game, just about anyone who can invest 10 minutes into learning the basic gameplay mechanics can enjoy much of what ToriBash has to offer. I recommend that gamers who are fed up with the ridiculous Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive combo-fests, and Street Fighter and Tekken special-move-spamming to give Toribash a try.

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