Pinch, punch, first of the month. It will be the first in a few days, so that’s a good start with the inaccuracies. One thing is for sure though, Mighty Fight Federation is a beat ’em up for one to four players. That’s an exclusive for you. But spare this carefree intro, and let’s talk shop.
Mighty Fight Federation isn’t just a tongue twister for the unfortunate soul that has to read this aloud (it’s bad enough typing it), but it’s a bona fide knuckle in the face free-for-all. As a federation, this game boasts a line-up of 13 fighters from the get-go, each with their own funky personality, but more importantly, movesets.
Comedy is a bit of a focal point, and there’s a fair amount of parodies in the game. Strikefist, for example, bears an uncanny resemblance to Mike Haggar of Final Fight fame; only the former is the Prime Minister, offering his fair share of judgment with his fists.
Seeing Hyperion gave the impression that there was a Borderlands crossover, and though a werewolf, Heckbane looks a bit like Bebop from TMNT. There is a crossover, though, so don’t fret. Yooka & Laylee make an appearance, as do ToeJam & Earl for you Mega Drive fans. They were the first characters worth playing on that basis, and it’s only now that you start wondering whether Earl and Patrick Star are the same…
It’s always a bit ominous to have the menu screen linked to Discord, and YouTube like it was an Early Access from Steam, but maybe that’s what people want. Anyway, you have the game’s typical options: Arcade, Versus, Online Play, and even Missions. They’re all self-explanatory, as are the tutorials, training and collection you unlock as you progress.
Playing through the tutorial is the same as any as you jump through the hoops to learn the basics that apply to everyone, combos, air launches and Hype. Hype is your super move. Once available, you can do a pretty move, though it doesn’t do much damage. For cinematic purposes, it’s better in a one-on-one match due to the fanfare, but in a multiplayer match, it gets in the way.
You soon dismiss everything learned in the basic tutorial, having snubbed the intermediate training at first, as Mighty Fight Federation soon becomes a button masher. However, increasing the difficulty puts an end to that, and a more thoughtful approach of hit and runs or the defensive game may be better advised.
There’s no blocking as such when it comes to defending, but you can dash out of the way with a Dark Souls type roll, plus you can press circle and kind of smash into them, causing them to pull their pants back up, giving you a chance to counter. They don’t drop their pants, you dirty sods.
They say everyone was kung fu fighting, but it’s more wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care. And throwing objects in the faces of fellow contenders. If you’re old enough or a fan of retro titles, you could compare Mighty Fight Federation to the classic Power Stone, only the objects materialise from the players.
Playing through the story was the first point of call. You choose your character and sit through a pretty cool cutscene with a little background on the player with some groovy illustrations; then, you’re thrown into the battle. Between stages, you’ll get the odd dialogue exchange between a rival, a bit like the SNK games, and then the fight begins – one-on-one and also free-for-alls.
The introductions and humour are all on par, but it’s quite messy when it comes to gameplay. Whether you will like Mighty Fight Federation all depends if you like the Smash Bros. series. While it’s not going to knock that off its perch, it has the same style of madness, only without the power-ups. For this reason, this was its downfall.
From that perspective, and not being a fan of Smash Bros. (first review back, first scandal), playing the game became a bit of a chore. All those thought out moves would be cancelled out by crazy AI, or perhaps it was a broken controller? I’m looking for excuses now… Anyway, the game fast-forwarded into button mashing to get through the Story mode.
In hindsight, it might be worth playing some of the Arcade games or, even better, the dedicated Training mode to hone your skills, then find a player suited for you. Hyperion, the omnipotent God who runs the tournament, may be the M Bison of the game, but being stuck with him in the story put off repeat plays in this mode, at least until a bit more time with other players.
The arenas are pretty good – especially the ToeJam & Earl one, but a couple of misplaced assets, and you find that they block some of the action when you’re in a corner. You can’t see what’s going on. Then again, that’s the premise of the game as it’s chaotic.
That would be one of two of the biggest criticisms. First, you can’t lock on to a player, so if you want to target the weakest to get them out of the way, you manually have to do it. You could monitor the health bars at the top, at the risk of being slapped in the chops.
The second one is the button mashing approach. Not many people will admit to it, but in this case, it happened, and you’re penalised for it with combos: you can’t interrupt them. The number of times you get in close and start building a combo only for the opponent to sidestep leaves you completely open to attack, and there’s nothing you can do.
With its self-aware comedy and WWF references, Mighty Fight Federation is a fun party game and much more enjoyable with others. There’s a cross-play option when online, though this wasn’t tested extensively. The other modes take some perseverance and time to master, especially the combo-based missions.
Again, stress is on whether you like the Super Smash Bros. style of game; if so, this would be worth looking in to. If you prefer your fighting games as one-on-one encounters or from a viewpoint such as Mortal Kombat and without all the jumping, be advised that Mighty Fight Federation is… a bit hectic.
Mighty Fight Federation PS4 Review
An entertaining party brawler that’s better with others and once you start mastering a character. It can be quite hectic, so it does require a bit of patience or at least a willingness to go to the dark side of button mashing.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS5, PS4.