Rivals of Aether: Is it Worth It?
The Other Platform Fighter
I have known about Rivals of Aether for a while now, but I only recently picked it up because I wanted to see what the other fighting games out there were like. I’ve done a Brawlhalla feature in the past, and I have stated multiple times that it is probably my favorite of the genre. I won’t be comparing the two, as I believe it is fair to treat games separately. I also was not in contact with the devs despite my best efforts. Rivals of Aether again is a 2D platform fighter with pixelated graphics. The game has lore and story to go along with the madness of the combat, and it has it’s very own story which I found to be incredibly unique. With all that being said, let’s find out if this game is worth the $20 price tag.
Like all of these platform fighters, the game features normal or light attacks as well as heavy or signature attacks. I like Rivals of Aether’s combat system the combo strings are straightforward to put together, and the signatures are super in-depth. My favorite part is that your signatures have a staying effect that lets your plan combos out more strategically. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is the difference between getting 2-3 hits to getting 5 or more. This will give you a massive advantage over your opponent if you time your moves right.
My biggest gripe with Rivals of Aether, though, is the controls. I am a PC player, so I always prefer to play on Keyboard and Mouse as I do in Brawlhalla. Rivals of Aether, however, isn’t very KBM friendly and I was forced to use a gamepad, and I think it made my gameplay suffer. I don’t mind gamepads, but I just don’t feel very comfortable with them, and it makes it that much more challenging to play.
Rivals of Aether is probably the only fighting game that has tutorials for each character, as well as more in-depth moves from beginner to advanced players. You can play through the tutorials and learn quite a bit before you jump into the casual or ranked game modes. There are also DLC characters that you can purchase in the steam shop, but you can try out their tutorial for free. Just something to keep in mind.
Rivals of Aether also has couch co-op which means you can play with your friends, just like in Smash Bros. If you aren’t much for couch co-op then fear not, you have a lot of online options. Rivals of Aether also has Friendly matches and the opportunity for a 2v2 game mode.
Ranked and Casual
I didn’t like the way ranked was structured in Rivals of Aether; you can decline your opponent's challenge. While this might seem like a great feature, it allows you to cherry-pick opponents and makes matchmaking take far longer than it needs to. It could be that the player base is too small for them to have a set ranked matchmaking, but I think it needs to be added. Ranked is supposed to be challenging, fair, and balanced, but challenging none the less. Casual is a whole different story.
I played a ton of casual matches, and they honestly feel anything but casual. I think this is due to the way ranked is structured, but I never felt like I was just chilling and playing Rivals of Aether in my casual matches. I would get ultra combo’d, and three stocked pretty often, which is more a lack of skill on my part. Regardless of my lack of skill, a casual game mode should be an easy-going and fun time.
This may be the most critical I have been about a game in a long while, and it doesn’t stem from a place of hate. I did enjoy Rivals of Aether, and I will continue to play it, but is it worth the $19.99 price tag? I honestly am going to have to say no this time. While it is a fun game, I think I would be better off playing Brawlhalla or Smash Bros. The lack of fluidity in ranked and the hardcore playstyle of casual does not make it a beginner-friendly game. The lack of a solid KBM structure and having to play on a keyboard was kind of a bummer to me. In all, I was let down by the underwhelming nature of Rivals of Aether. After purchasing the game, they also have DLC characters for purchase. While this makes sense for the cross over characters which are Ori and Shovel Knight, it doesn’t make sense for the Rivals of Aether original characters. I want to unlock characters in the same way you do on Super Smash Brothers Melee, doing the story, doing challenges. I am typically always against a paid game having even more paid DLC. I ripped on R6 a few times for it, and Rivals of Aether doesn’t get special treatment. Like I said before, Rivals of Aether isn’t worth the purchase and I will highly recommend Brawlhalla over it. Remember to follow us on twitter @GamingIronclad and thanks for reading! Farewell, traveler.