GAME NAME: Reality Fighters
PLATFORM(S): PS Vita
RELEASE DATE(S): 22 February 2012
Reality Fighters is one of the few launch titles for the Vita which use the motion control and augmented reality functions extensively. Essentially a 2D fighter based on the ability to customise to the heart’s content, Reality Fighters offers something very new and different but that is not always a recipe for success.
Reality Fighters allows players to fully customise their own character. Take a snapshot of your, or anyone’s, face and a new character is created. Facial appearance, weight and voice for the character can be set afterwards and there are a variety of clothing options from ridiculous jester outfits to the more common ninja fighting kit and everything in between. The opportunity to mix and match means you can create yourself a hipster ninja wearing bell bottoms and clown shoes.
Players can then choose from one of fifteen different fighting styles which includes the conventional Muay Thai and Boxing or the unlikely Superhero and Sorcerer options. While the styles all have a unique feel to them each is still limited to only a few attacks, leaving the experience somewhat hollow. There are two punch moves, two kick moves, throws, an ultra combo and a super combo in place for each combat type. The move animations differ per style but the execution is exactly the same.
Once a fighter has run through the creation process players will find a number of different modes to choose from. Survival mode has you fighting against opponents until either your time or health runs out. Time Attack mode requires you to destroy as many objects as possible in a limited time while avoiding harmful objects. Both these modes are fun alternatives to the Story mode but offer little in the way of variation.
Story mode is narrated by the one and only Mr Miyagi (the character of Karate Kid fame, not the actor who portrayed him). Mr Miyagi will send you on a number of missions in the form of fights against his old students, who range from ballerinas to Rastafarians. The story mode does a decent job of putting you up against the different styles as you make your way towards sensei status. Along the way you gain points and unlock new stages and new clothes, as well as weapons and vehicles towards the end of career mode. Spending points on customisation improves your fighter’s stats and makes him more effective as you go and this is something that can be done after each Story mode level.
The most impressive aspect of Reality Fighters is in terms of the stages, or backdrops to fights. As mentioned, the game makes use of Augmented Reality which means that your fights can take place on your kitchen table, the floor, your garden or even on your sleeping dog’s back if that’s what you want . There are also some built-in stages like the Taj Mahal, which is visually excellent, but staging fights in your own house makes for good fun. The AR cards packed with the Vita can be used to maximise the effect of AR, meaning you can zoom in and out of the fight as you please, whereas not using the AR cards shows the fight from a top-down point of view.
Where Reality Fighters falls seriously short is with its gameplay. While it flows nicely and is smooth enough, it gets old really fast. Each fighting style may be unique but the effectiveness is roughly the same. The back and front touch screens are used for special moves and ultra moves but making use of this feature isn’t a requirement. The difficulty, particularly in the Story mode, is far too easy and mashing a couple of punch-kick combos will be enough to see you through. Unfortunately this means that the game is very short-lived and it can be finished in a matter of hours.
The visuals are good, Augmented Reality is an enjoyable addition and even the online fighting works pretty well. Plenty of customisation and gear to unlock extends the game’s life slightly but the repetitive nature of the gameplay and the lack of depth make Reality Fighters a fun but rather one dimensional experience which, in any reality, won’t keep you busy for long.