The Average Gamer

Fighter Within Hands-on Preview

As a party game, the Kinect-exclusive Fighter Within for Xbox One works quite well. The standard punches and kicks are intuitive enough that anyone can jump in and play and attacks unique to each character are clearly displayed in the HUD when they become available. Local multiplayer offers a series of 90-second rounds, making it perfect to rotate people in and out quickly. And of course, it’s great for trash-talking.

Here’s a video of me and fellow gamer Dan Cairns playing a preview build of the game at an Xbox One event.

At the 3-minute mark we appear to just be standing still. What we’re actually doing is charging up our “Ki” power, which you can see in the yellow bar at the bottom. As it fills up each of the three squares, you get access to moves like the Swap, which you can see at 3:54, and the Slam at 1:16.

Trying for the Slam triggers a minigame where each of you battle to fill up a meter by pushing both hands out as fast as possible. It’s a killer for the arms but crucial if you don’t want to be thrown out of the ring in smaller arenas like the Dojo.

In some maps there’s a pole in the arena. Standing near it lets you do pole attacks but also leaves you vulnerable to the unblockable Slam on Pole variant of this power attack, shown at 3:15.

Fighter Within is much more about silly fun than in-depth fighter. Aside from the Slam, most of the the power moves seem to be unblockable though it will auto-counter a spam chain of similar attacks and you can counter certain basic attacks yourself by ducking and punching forwards. Successfully grabbing the stick that’s available on certain levels (crouch and stick your arm out when nearby) will simply interrupt whatever action is happening and jump straight into your character’s stick attack.

As with the previous game from the same studio, Fighters Uncaged, your moves don’t have a 1-1 correlation with the on-screen characters, hence Dan failing to check out his character’s butt by turning around. You won’t be doing roundhouse kicks and smashing the furniture. Instead, you’re trying for motions within a recognised moveset – straight punches, hooks, low kicks, kicking out backwards for a finishing move, jumping straight up to use the pole in certain arenas, and so on.

FW_Screen_Preview_VanvsVinceAs well as these shared attacks, each character has a couple of special powers that only become available after certain match conditions are met. At 3:40 you can Loa’s Revenge Dash. Other powers are unlocked when a character is knocked down, their health is dangerously low, or other such conditions.

There’s a solo mode as well but frankly, I wouldn’t bother. The animations for each character have enough variation to keep matches entertaining to watch (see DJ Joao’s Pole Jump at 1:12 vs J-Gun’s at 3:22, and the various slams throughout the video), but the actions you perform are all very similar. I can’t imagine this being any fun by yourself but if you have active friends that come over a lot, Fighter Within could be worth picking up.

Fighter Within is a launch game for Xbox One, coming 22nd November.