Ok, let's do this
First and foremost, I'd like to say that what I think you're doing is great. While newgrounds does have fighting games, most are either janky slugfests that are sold more on sex appeal than anything, or very different, simplified takes on fighting games, which are fun, but often don't have much long term depth and bear little resemblence to traditional 2d fighters. So seeing a project like this on here is really exciting to me, as I'm a big fighting game fan.
However, I didn't actually play this version of the game. I downloaded the game because this version was taking way too long to load. So I wont be able to comment on how well this version runs or how much slowdown or lag there is. I'm mostly just going to be talking about the base game presentationwise, gameplaywise, etc. Also I played on normal damage mode the whole time.
So the first thing I noticed upon launching the game is that the visuals are pretty bad. All the wireframes used look low quality and the animations look stilted. This is especially visible in the jump animations which follow exact angles to the roof and down. But this sense of cheapness is everywhere. In the UI. In the Music (Which is alright, don't get me wrong. But it's very repetitive. Also the looping is really awkward.) And in the gameplay.
There are a lot of problems here, starting with the fact that the slow animations just make the game feel a lot less fun to play. But there's a lot more than that.
First, and probably most importantly is the combo system. First of all, the combo counter doesn't sync up with the amount of hitstun the moves actually do. This is actually a lot more than a visual issue since it determines how many normal hits it will take for the opponent to become invincible.
Much more importantly however, is the sheer ludicrous amount of hitstun done by moves in this game. The way this game is designed, basically all special and boost moves launch and set up juggles, and basically all normals give enough hitstun to combo into any special or normal. Meaning a normal can combo into itself. This made necessary the combo system your game has, where 7 normals uninterrupted by a special move will make the opponent invincible for a short while, breaking the combo (I'll talk about this more later.) This necessitates using a special move after at most 6 normals to put the opponent into a juggle state, then keep using specials every 6 normals after that, until the opponent falls through and gets knocked down, ending the combo.
I don't like this system for a variety of reasons. Probably the most obvious is that it lowers combo variety. Pretty much every character will use the same basic combos. They use their most damaging normals over and over then launch, then alternate between 6 normals and a special until the opponent falls through. Sometimes supers and boosts are added in, depending on character and meter status. All characters use a variation of this cycle. It makes characters lacking in variety, something I'll get to later.
Another problem with this system is that it makes landing basically any move in neutral lead to the same max damage combos because the hitstun allows such a long time to set up basically any combo. Land a max range kick? do the combo. Close range punch? combo. Special? Start with a juggle and combo. Grab? if it launches, start with a juggle and do the combo. It removes the decision making and variable risk reward of neutral and makes every move has the same risk and every move has the same reward.
Not only that, this reward is huge. Many characters can do massive damage without using meter at all, and with meter, the damage gets absolutely insane. This makes the game very volatile, and punishes mistakes too harshly. Of course, there are other games with massive damage combos, and even infinites, like basically the entire Marvel vs. Capcom series, but in those games you have many more SAFE options at any given time, and not all moves lead to the same combo damage.
Finally, it reduces the skill ceiling. Because max damage combos are so easy to execute, it trivializes combo skill and makes even people who haven't played for 15 minutes, like me, to become close to optimal at punishing.
And that isn't the only issue either. Another huge issue I have is that special moves are badly implemented in this game.
Every character has variations of the same special move. Just 2 directional buttons in any of the 4 directions, then punch or kick. Every character has a long, short, and midrange special as well. This reduces differences in character, just like the combos in this game do, and the remove the special intricacies that come with different special move design. I could talk about how special move design informs character design forever, but basically, in street fighter, a charge character is going to play much differently then a pure command character. Their special moves inform how they're played. Here because their special moves are all very similar, the characters feel like they're very similar.
Not only that, the special move input windows are so lenient and use such common inputs that it wasn't uncommon for me to accidentally press forward twice in a one second window or something and just do a special when I next tried to attack.
These are only the biggest complaints I have with the gameplay. I have many smaller ones as well, along with complaints about all areas of the game.
For example, the invincibility your opponent gets if you drop your combo by stringing together too many normals lasts way longer than the hitstun, so the opponent gets about 1.5 seconds to pressure you for free if you drop a combo.
And the logic counter in this game is basically a combo breaker in Killer instinct or a burst in Guilty Gear except it costs two bars of meter and does NOT reset the situation to neutral. If you use it when their move is still ongoing, you will get a free launch, and an opportunity to turn their minimun 60% damage knockdown corner carry into YOUR minimum 60% damage knockdown corner carry. This makes attacking an opponent with 2 bars of meter without 2 bars yourself to put the situation back in your favor basically guarantee that your approach will fail, and that you'll eat anywhere from 50 to 75 percent damage, depending on character.
Or 100% damage, if booster is active. Because booster could be the best option in the game. Maybe even better than logic counters. Basically, to illustrate, I want to talk about wang's booster. It gives him a crossup teleport that he can use as long as the booster is active. Wang has a large fast moving fireball that launches, but with this booster, it allows him to start a combo that can deal up to 70% damage by just teleporting to the opponent whenever a fireball hits. This allows him a safe and super deadly combo option from fullscreen. I consider this to be the worst booster in the game. One booster straight up makes the user invincible for the entire time. The rest give the cast 100% damage combos, because boosters don't count as normals or specials so are not susceptible to the normal / special limit system. This is a 1 bar option, allowing you to burst your opponent down super early. The only reason this and logic counters don't completely control the pace of the game is because this booster has a cooldown after it's used which lasts a really long time. Still, in many cases a booster means a round. having 3 bars allows your advances to become extremely powerful, because you can logic counter if you make a mistake, and booster to get 100% damage. Absolutely insane.
But I don't care about these points nearly as much as I used to. Because doing a touch of death off of a midrange fireball with Jimm is just too much fun. This entire game is a joy to play, in the most broken way possible.
Sure the skill ceiling is low, but that also means that within a few minutes of playing I can do max damage combos, and that feels cool as hell.
Sure the combo system makes the game very frustrating with one mistake leading to massive damage, but only if you're the one taking the damage. I absolutely love dealing 75% health to my opponent, meterless, for one whiffed sweep.
Sure special moves and the combo routes remove character variety, but it also means picking up new characters is super easy, and basically everyone in the cast is intuitive to use.
Sure you get invincibility for a huge amount of time after the opponent drops a combo, but dropping combos is so hard, and combos are so broken in this game, that it kind of acts as a balancing mechanism more than anything
Sure the logic counter makes attacking with low meter against a well stocked opponent so risky that it should almost never be done, but it makes the game less of a touch of death machine, and makes meter management very important.
Even the visuals add to this kind of janky, broken charm the game has, and I love it for it. And the over the top writing also makes this a lot better. It all just adds to the awkward charisma this game is brimming with.
My point is that fighting games as a genre are often taken so seriously by developers and players, like me, so it's nice to see a fighter where I can just press a few buttons and feel like the best player in the world.
And boosters. My god, what even are boosters.
Of course, there are still problems here. Even looking at this as a much more laid back game, there are still lots of problems with this game. Just to name a few:
- Practice mode options are limited. No way to create save states, no frame data / hitbox display, no option to have the dummy attack, or do different things on wake up, or after a blocked hit, or a hit. I understand these things might be troublesome to implement for such a casual game, but finding all the stuff I did in this game would have been a lot easier and taken a lot less time if these tools were available, and it would be greatly appreciated.
- Only way to view character commands is in the main menu, never during the match pause menu or during character select.
- Button remapping just doesn't work for me. It doesn't accept my inputs and is unintuitive in general. Just have all functions displayed and have the player click on which he wants to change.
- When character skins and colors are changed in the character select menu it doesn't show any change until the match starts.
- Load times in this game are abnormally long, especially for such a simple one that has so much promised future content which may slow it down even more.
- the time between when you complete a challenge in tutorial mode and the next text prompt shows up is way too long.
- waiting for the game to load would be made a lot more bearable by adding a percentage counter or something to show how much had loaded, as well as tell player that don't read the author comments, any idea that it's loading at all, and isn't just broken.
- Supers feel pretty useless when the 1 and 2 bar meter options feel far more useful and damaging. Why use a super if you have 3 bars when you could use the incredible utility and damage of a combined logic counter and booster? I feel like supers need a rework to be relevant in the current system.
There are other, smaller, more nitpicky things to say, but I won't in the interest of time. My point is that as a competitive long term fighter meant to be enjoyed and mined for depth and labbed for years to come, there are much better games than this one. But as a causal newgrounds fighter, as a pick up and play time waster that makes you feel like a goddamn champ as soon as you start playing there are few better than this game.
And that's my review. Sorry if this came off as too harsh or reductive. I really do love this game, even if it might not be in way you intended.
Anyways, my character limit is reaching the double digits now, So I have to stop. Thanks for this.