HIGH A cool roster of characters and some sick music.
LOW A few glitches and stiff animation.
WTF Yooka and Laylee beating the snot out of ToeJam and Earl.
Fans of multiplayer brawlers have recently been treated to more than a few indies that take the fundamental concept of pitting a wide cast of characters against each other in arena-style combat, and Mighty Fight Federation is the latest in this bumper crop.
In MFF, players choose from one of 13 fighters. After a quick tutorial that ran me through the basics of fighting, I jumped into Arcade mode, which serves as the standard fighting game tournament ladder where players go through a series of rounds against different characters.
Fights happen in small arenas in which up to four combatants can duke it out. Every character has two lives and a health bar, and the first one to be knocked out loses. It’s simple but the brawling is satisfying, if perhaps a bit underwhelming to look at because many of the animations look stiff, lessening the impact of the moves in motion. Thankfully, the character models and environments pack a lot of personality.
Despite the animation, the fighting feels great, with standard light and heavy attacks as well as super moves on offer. Unlike most brawlers, there’s definitely some strategy needed here. Spamming the same move over and over can sometimes do the trick, but perfecting dodges and various special moves is essential. Running around the arenas while furiously dishing out combos on enemies never got old, and I loved being able to throw enemies in the air to juggle them. It’s an easy-to-learn combat system, but will definitely take time to fully master.
Aside from some great fighting, Mighty Fight‘s style is pretty interesting. Combining elements of ’80s action films, saturday morning cartoons and video game/action figure cliches, MFF is a pop-culture mishmash. There’s a werewolf that looks like a total gym-bro thanks to his sunglasses and a shirt that says “SWOLE 4 SOULS“. There’s also a skeleton wielding a scythe with a keyboard attached to it, and they even threw in two characters that seem to parody Street Fighter and Darkstalkers.
However, my favorite parts of Mighty Fight were the guest characters included as of writing. ToeJam and Earl (from the classic Sega Genesis game of the same name) and Yooka and Laylee (from the titular indie series by Playtonic) join the fight — I especially loved the latter duo. Their pre-match banter is the sort of jumbled-up speech featured in their game, and that even translates to their arcade mode cutscenes (with an appearance from Yooka-Laylee villain Capital B). The love and attention to detail presented here is great, with the devs cramming as many references as they could in the moveset, like the ability to ram into opponents in a minecart as well as a super move in which Yooka turns into a helicopter.
Also, the music kicks ass. Featuring an all-star lineup of indie game composers and even The Transformers: The Movie composer Vince DiCola, the rock and synth-heavy soundtrack is excellent, reminding me of the best movies/games of the ’80s.
Of course, with a game of this kind the real star of the show is multiplayer. Mighty Fight supports up to four players locally and online. After a few rounds of local multiplayer, I found this to be the real reason to play MFF. I was immediately transported back to a time when couch co-op was king, laughing while throwing my opponent across the stage or cringing while getting hit with his super moves. While it may lack the variety of other modern fighters, I enjoyed my time roughing up friends.
Mighty Fight Federation wears its ’80s influences on its sleeves and enters a ganere that’s already crowded with competitors, but that’s fine — it delivers on the core fighting, and its simple, straightforward approach prioritizes pure enjoyment rather than technical skill, and in my view, it’s better for it.
Disclosures: This game is published by Forthright Entertainment and developed by Komi Games. It is currently available on Switch, PS4/5, PC and XBO. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS5. Approximately 10 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, with the arcade mode completed for most of the characters in the roster. An hour was spent in multiplayer.
Parents: According to the ESRB this game is rated T for Language, Mild Blood, Suggestive Themes, and Violence. There is violence, but it’s the cartoon variety, and nothing gratuitous or horrifying.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: There are visual cues and subtitles. Text cannot be adjusted but the game is fully accessible without sound as no audio cues are needed for play.
Remappable Controls: This game’s controls are remappable.
He has a knack for talking about movies and games he‘s passionate about. If anyone ever needs an expert on Jim Jarmusch, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Donkey Kong Country, or Kanye West, he’s your guy. Don’t say we didn't warn you, though.