Bringing Super Smash Bros and indie development together Rivals of Aether has players calling on the powers of nature to battle against other Rivals in fast paced brawling that is designed to provide a similar experience to the popular brawler within the genre. Released in 2017 for Windows and Xbox One the game expanded to Nintendo Switch in 2020 alongside other spin off titles set within the same universe.
The setting for Rivals of Aether and the other games within the universe is the realm of Aether where many races of anthropomorphic animals are involved in a four way war. Based around the elements of fire, water, earth and air these elements serve as the civilisation foundations and differences that has pulled all of them into a never ending conflict. With organisations like the Water Trade Company, Air Armanda, Fire Capital seeking control the world was blindsided by a darker shadow threat that would eventually bring them all together for a shared enemy.
In addition to 1v1, 2v2 and free for all games modes Rivals of Aether includes a story mode that provides background to each of the fighting Rivals and provides the story context noted above. Players can also fight against waves of fighters in an abyss mode if they are seeking a real challenge or a co-operative option instead that both serve as potential training grounds for new players.
Across all these game modes the action is fast paced and fluent as you take control of the lion of fire, Zetterburn capable of dealing additional fire damage overtime or opt for the orca like Orcane who relies on teleportation through water puddles to deceive opponents. These are just two examples of the available characters who all relate to a particular element (fire, water, earth or air) and have 3 unique abilities to counter your opponents abilities.
With nearly two dozen such characters to control the combination of matchups and playstyles ensures each fight plays differently and delivers the longevity of the game in the multiplayer space. With a passionate (and competitive) Super Smash Bros fan behind the development the fundamentals of gameplay in Rivals of Aether is similar in overall design.
Where Rivals of Aether differs though is the pacing and learning curve to correctly use character combos to activate their abilities. While there is still a huge amount of work to master a character and the little intricacies of mechanics pulling off deadly combos can be achieved in a shorter amount of time and does not require players to be mechanically gifted. This is because the foundation of your combos are relatively simple based on the directional arrow you match with your special key.
- Unique elemental characters to command into battle that each draw their power from fire, water, earth or air.
- Fight through story mode or co-operative abyss to learn the mechanics of your favourite character.
- 1v1, 2v2 and 4 player free for all multiplayer game modes.
- Pull off combos and use your Rivals 3 distinct abilities to defeat your enemy.
- Fantastically colourful map and character designs.
- Buy Rivals of Aether (Humble Store)
- Buy Rivals of Aether (Microsoft Store)
- Buy Rivals of Aether (Nintendo Store)
Review Platform: PC