Uncle Arena Fighter blog header photo
Uncle Arena Fighter's c-blog
Posts 208Blogs 9Following 0Followers 6



Uncle Arena Fighter’s (MAXIMUM EFFORT) 2018 Game Of The Year Countdown



[This article comes with a full soundtrack. If you opt in, progress to the next track when directed. Don't peek!]

LLLLADIES AND GENTLEMEEEEEEEN! Welcome, to the first inaugural Uncle Arena Fighter Game Of [My] Year Countdown and Award Show! It’s the most self-centered, unprofessional, hipster-ass countdown you’ve ever seen! This list will consist solely of games I’ve played, ranked as per my personal preferences. As you’ll soon find out, that means there’s gonna’ be no guessing what’s up next!

(Hey, since this is my first community blog on this site, you can use it to gauge my interests and get to know me, so it’s not all bad.)

There were gonna’ be extra awards too, but I ended up taking way longer to write this than I planned, so without further ado, let’s get started on that countdoooooowwwwn! Don’t expect to see any games that have sold over 1 million copies! When I said hipster, I didn’t mean hip!

And so, clocking in on my fifth favourite game released in 2018, it’s:

[Next Track]

5: Dragon Ball FighterZ!

Hah! I told you it was all gonna’ be obscure nonsense! There’s no way a fighting game could sell well! Playing a regular fighting game is just a countdown to frustration and remembering that you hate those! Play arena fighters instead. Dragon Ball’s got tons o’ those, and some of em’ are alright!

...Wait, wait, hold on, one of my producers has rushed to the stage with a correction…

...Over 3 million?! What the ffffff-

Well. That’s. Not bad news.

Okay… uh… I can do this… I can do this... oh gosh, there’s gotta’ be a way- uhhhh-

Welcome to Uncle Arena Fighter’s Alternative Game Of {My} Year Countdown and Award Show! My interests don’t match the mainstream, but you nice folks on Destructoid have probably heard of or played everything here! No need for a long preamble, let’s get right to the countdown!

[Next Track]

5: Dragon Ball FighterZ!

The big man with the ki hands tees off at number 5! This colorful cornucopia of licensed anime beauty has earned every award and GOTY placement it got. Arc System Works managed to create the ultimate licensed fighting game, with accessibility and deep chaos, faithfulness, and functionality all rolled into one big, lovely package.

The gameplay is obviously a big draw, but the visuals must be touched upon first. Arc Sys has succeeded in creating the best-looking licensed game ever, a title it may continue to hold for a little while. The game’s aesthetic is best described as “the well-animated anime episodes, how you remember them instead of how they were.” Arc’s time honing their craft with Guilty Gear Xrd has paid off in the form of a clean, timeless art style that the game industry should learn from, and likely won’t (especially the West). Also, it doesn’t just have style and grace, it has flash too. As in, literal bright lights flashing on-screen. For my ADHD-addled mind, that’s a big plus.

And the gameplay… Ah, the gameplay… While Capcom was floundering around with three-frame buffers and (very) slightly simplified inputs whilst paradoxically pushing high-level e-sports, Arc Sys has been workshopping ways to integrate beginner-friendly tools directly into their fighting games since Blazblue Continuum Shift (I think). This culminated with the recent FighterZ and Cross Tag Battle, both of which use simple, generous special motions and incorporate autocombos into regular gameplay. This not only makes beginner success a possibility, it encourages it in a way that harsher traditional fighting games don’t. The genre needs to take at least a design fundamental away from this, as the death of Western arcades and the rise of pro-dominated e-sports is making fighting games feel more and more inaccessible all the time. Capcom’s buffoonery isn’t helping…

Anyways, Dragon Ball FighterZ stands as the licensed game most fans wish they could get, and I hope it leads to similarly impressive games for other Jump properties. I wish the competitive and online scenes a healthy and happy life! They need all the best wishes they can get right now!

*Disclaimer: Uncle Arena Fighter has only played the Beta of Dragon Ball FighterZ, not the copy he owns. The official Game Of The Year Board can only accept this entry as an honourable mention.

[Next Track]

4: Monster Hunter World!

Coming in at rank 4, it’s MonHun’s breakaway hit! This mad lad needs no introduction, bringing the appeal of the long-running Monster Hunter franchise to the Western gaming mainstream. It’s a Capcom action game with all (or most) of the trappings of an MMO, and it’s got quite the charming cast of armor sets- er, monsters, and people to wear those monsters- uh, I mean, that armor! I even had my first ever online console experience with this game! It was great! I’m a sword-n’-board coward who wears skulls.

(...Or at least I was, for the few hours I played the game. Up until very recently, that’s been a… problem, of mine.)

So what the heck puts a 3D action-RPG like Monster Hunter World over the traditional 2D fighting game that is DBFZ? Isn’t that like comparing apples to oranges? Yes it is, and that brings us to the part of this show where I attempt to focus my lizard brain’s gushing into an explanation of WHY I ranked these games like I did.

I prefer MHW over DBFZ because Monster Hunter World is an immaculately designed 3D action game, and that’s my preferred genre. This is Capcom doing what I think they do best nowadays (visuals for non-fighting games notwithstanding, have you seen the RE Engine?), and that’s making some mighty fine close-range (or mid- depending on your preference) combat. Every single weapon movelist in Monster Hunter is assembled with love and care, gifting us with a perfect set of 14 ways to play an action game. And the environments are built so well, and they’re so interactable… and the monsters!

Ah, yes, a good action game is nothing without a good opponent, and these bad boys deliver! The right amount of attack telegraphing, clear behaviours that can be learned from repeated interactions, and what may be an all-time low in janky hitboxes! They’ll always be there, though. It’s like a Sonic game; it’s not Monster Hunter without some jank.

Man… imagine an arena fighter where players could play as hunters or monsters. That would be so good. I'd love to see modern Capcom take another crack at a fully 3D fighter.

Ah, well… at least we’ll always have:

[Next Track]

3: Soul Calibur VI!

Ayyyy! It’s my old arcade buddy, finally back to share good times and surprisingly easy-to-learn gameplay! Soul Calibur holds a special place in my heart, elevating itself to near-Smash levels in being easy to pick up, play, and have a great time. SC’s fast, consistent, but surprisingly varied gameplay is instantly appealing to casual scrubs like myself, while offering a million-billion moves, combos, and positioning options to the pros. SCVI is a return to form, bringing back all the old series favorites, and even a couple of crazy good guest characters! It’s a great time all around, except in the story modes, which are now low-effort trash, and everything competitive about it, which is plagued by nonsensical design decisions that imply a huge rush-job!

But I’m a scrublord, so I don’t care about that stuff! Wheeeeee!

Now. How does this game impress me more than the last games? Two reasons. One is, once again, the speedy, accessible gameplay, and how proficient this team is at making it. I believe that, from a certain point of view, the Soul Calibur games may be the greatest arena fighters ever made. The only thing that separates them from the pack in terms of immediate genre recognition is their more traditional 2.5D camera view. If more arena fighters took notes from Soul Calibur (and applied themselves more, and had more creative talent behind them, and had higher scopes, time, and budgets…), we could see the genre finally gain some legitimacy in the public eye. I desperately want to see that.

But what I like even more is THE CHARACTER CREATOOOOOORRRR! YEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Soul Calibur VI has helped me realize my passion for going in on character creators, and seeing what I can both get away with and accomplish. I have so many characters downloaded, and I’ve made a few of my own. I intend to get back to it when I have more time - the a.t.x.s. cast isn’t going to make themselves - but for now, my good memories still burn at my soul's core.

You know, 2018’s been a year of big ups and downs for me. Made my first halfway legitimate and decent game with my classmates, graduated from university, been working at a couple of physically intensive jobs that I’m feeling “meh” about... the list goes on. However, one big positive was a couple of games that came along and helped me transition through the way I feel about fighting games. Soul Calibur VI and the next game have helped me realize that all I want is style, flash, ease of access, and some decent single-player content. That’s right, folks! Coming in at the penultimate position, here’s:

[Next Track]

2: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!!

Betch-yer’ not so used to seeing this one on GOTY lists, are ya’?! Came in a bit late into the year, it did! But this is MY LIST, and I say that a Game Of The Year discussion wraps at the end of the year!

So, Smash Ultimate/Special lives up to it’s name by having everything anyone could ask for.


I also like all the singleplayer content, and, uh…

Yeah, that’s it. This game's title speaks for itself. The massive roster to unlock, the varied Classic runs and Spirit matches, all of the little visual touches and extra modes, the staggering song list, the cast of bosses, the cast of Spirits, the cast of fighters, and, of course, World of Light all come together to make a fighting game that, while only really invalidating Smash 4, still stands tall in the midst of its fellow giants. That’s why it’s at #2; DBFZ, MHW, and SCVI were all impressive, but SSBU was right admirable. It’s an appreciable testament to gaming’s history.

And with all that said, #2’s completion brings us to...

[Next Track]

The Most Honourable Mention: Deltarune!!

You thought it was ending? I’m not finished here yet! This list is a chronicle of the games released in 2018 that I enjoyed the most, and I’d be loath to exclude this little gem!

I don’t want to say too much about Deltarune just in case anybody reading it hasn’t played it, so I’ll try to be concise: were it not for the fact that it’s technically a proof-of-concept, this game would have charmed its way straight to #1 on my list. I’m kind of banking on a full version being released a few years down the line to justify this non-placement, since I really don’t want to choose between this and the real #1…

Anyways, as I mentioned, Deltarune’s charm is what raises it heads and shoulders over the rest of this list. The writing, the visuals, the writing, the music, the writing, the gameplay, and, oh yeah, did I mention the writing? I may not own Undertale, but I’ve delved deep enough into it to catch just about everything, and this game does a real good job of spinning that into something new while adding its own (similar) flavour.

And, uh… I know I said this would be a spoiler free section, but… THAT VICTORY LAP WAS THE STRONGEST I HAVE EVER SEEN! Toby Fox, you are a sick madman!

The thing at the end was also quite top.

Don’t forget, I’m with you in the dark. :)

*Notice from the Board: Uncle Arena Fighter has disqualified this clearly complete game for arbitrary purposes so that he may ensure that the last game may win. For the Game Of The Year Board’s purposes, Deltarune will be considered his second place game, pushing Dragon Ball FighterZ off the list entirely. Thank you for your understanding.

Now, before the main event, let’s recap!

[Next Track]

At #5, the best licensed game before Spiderman came out, it’s Dragon Ball FighterZ!

At #4, the Greatsword hit that couldn’t miss, it’s Monster Hunter World!

For #3, it could only be Soul Calibur VI and its character creator!

Joining the fight at #2, it’s the modern-day legend, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!

And cheering from the stands while admiring its own special medal, it’s Deltarune!

And now, without further ado, I give you Uncle Arena Fighter’s 2018 Game Of The Year:

1: Copy Kitty!!!

[Listen as you see fit. Just be aware that there's some mild music spoilers partway through.]

Everyone rumoured... No one believed… But now, you see it’s true.

After 7 long years of public development, Nuclear Strawberry’s Copy Kitty 3.0 finally released on Steam on April 19th, 2018, one day… before… God of War.


Um… well… uh…

Welcome, to the first inaugural Uncle Arena Fighter Game Of [My] Year Countdown and Award Show! It's the most self-centered, unprofessional, hipster-ass countdown you've ever seen! As promised, this list will consist of games that only I've played! Now, back to you, Copy Kitty!

Copy Kitty is a 2D action-platformer starring Boki Lamira, a teenage alien catgirl with mediocre (-looking, at first) superpowers, who dreams of becoming a famous superhero. Her bug uncle (she’s adopted) Savant gives her a modified military VR training program for her birthday (he’s cool like that) to help her master her powers, and, well, after that you pretty much just blow up robots. There’s a running plot, and an overarching narrative that’s somewhat important to the larger setting, but it’s all in service of the gameplay.

And oh, that gameplay. Your goals are simple enough, with each mission being set in a single room where you have to take out specific enemies. Boki’s power is to copy an enemy’s magical ability and use it herself. Sounds simple enough. There are 10 basic powers for you to pick up, at least 2 elemental modifiers, and a lot… I mean a LOT… of other standalone powers. A handful even have special commands associated with them for extra attacks. Powers are regulated by ammo, encouraging you to constantly pick up more and try new ones. Every single power is a different shot type with very distinct properties, and you can store up to three at the same time.

And with that, we get into the REEEEAAAAL meat-n’-potatoes of Copy Kitty: when you have two or more component powers, you can press a second (or fourth, if you’re playing with the “pro” control scheme) shot button to combine them into an entirely different power. There are over 150 powers for Boki alone. Yes, for Boki alone. Savant is playable too, and he is a completely different game from Boki, which should become obvious when you see that he doesn’t walk, he flies. Savant can hold three powers too, but he can only use one or two at once - because one serves as a base, and the other serves as modifier for Savant’s computer screen, which he swings around as a turret. Also, all 10 of Savant’s powers do something different from Boki’s. Because of course they do.

There’s an unlockable hard mode that radically alters the game and introduces new elements throughout it for both characters, a boss rush (with Normal and Hard, Boki and Savant variations), a big level editor that you can make entire custom worlds with (and do very silly things with assigning attacks to enemies), a ton of unlockable modifiers that do everything from alter the game's visuals, to its difficulty, even to what you're playing as, and on top of it all, a misnamed “Endless Mode” that was originally built to be the primary mode before Story proved more popular, and thus has tons of unique stuff all to itself. Some of the weirder exclusives include unique weather effects and a cross-promotion unlockable for Story Mode. It's a never-ending fountain of new content, the kind that only shows up once every few years. It probably sets some kind of record by being a totally linear 2D action game with what is probably around 60 hours of content. It's staggering, and I love and appreciate it all the more because of it.

This section's running a little long, but darn it, the game deserves elaboration! Copy Kitty presents a certain kind of style and charm that really gels with me. The character models may look crude to some, but I find them cute and effective. The game's flashiness may be way too much for some people, but there are settings to tone down the screen-filling special effects and brightness. I play on the default settings, as per my ADHD's preference. And the style? Oh man. This game's almost a stylish action game, with all the cool stuff it lets you do. If there were letter rankings at the end of missions, it would be there. Boki can kick to dig through some walls and nullify or reflect bullets, and that kick works in six or eight directions. Angle it downwards in the air, and you do a powerful drill kick that sends you right through enemies. So good.

Note: Gameplay is cropped.

And I haven't even touched on the power combinations! Explosive shuriken that come out in a fan when you throw them down in the air! A satellite beam! A screw attack! A screen-clearing dragon that's so badass that you get an achievement just for seeing it! I feel super in-touch with the dev team. It really feels like we share the same interests and sense of style. Copy Kitty is so charming that it's the first full-length game I've beaten in years, finally pulling me out of a gaming slump I've been in since high school.

And all those great bosses and enemies… I'll tell you what, the moment I knew the game was something really special was when I got halfway through the first world boss and they dropped an unusually large power-up. The direction this sent the fight in clinched it for me, I knew Copy Kitty was gonna’ be my Game Of The Year right then and there. I haven't even fought everything the game has to throw at me - I mean it when I say that there are a LOT of bosses - and I'm itching to return to it once my plate is cleared!

Note: Gameplay is cropped and sped up.

So. In conclusion. Do you like hype? Do you like action video games? What if I told you there was a Kirby game that seems like it was made by Treasure, Platinum Games, and HAL Laboratories teaming up? Friends, that game is Copy Kitty, and it is my 2018 Game Of The Year.

If any of this got you interested in the game, there’s a hefty demo available on Steam and Itch. I know for sure that it has the first five worlds for Boki (which is about 3-5 hours of gameplay), don’t know if it has anything else. Remember, the controls are fully remappable and the intensity of the special effects can be changed. Hope you enjoy!

*This article has been assembled and distributed by the official Game Of The Year Board for archival purposes. Due to his unprofessionalism, the Board will not be collaborating with Uncle Arena Fighter again. Thank you for your time and participation.

- Ask me anything about fighting games.

Login to vote this up!


Uncle Arena Fighter   



Please login (or) make a quick account (free)
to view and post comments.

 Login with Twitter

 Login with Dtoid

Three day old threads are only visible to verified humans - this helps our small community management team stay on top of spam

Sorry for the extra step!


About Uncle Arena Fighterone of us since 11:00 AM on 12.28.2018

Howdy. RMC here.

Big fan of action games, especially stylish action and arena fighters. Regular fighting games are an old flame of mine, though I was never any good at them. Platformers are a casual interest.

As for a bit about myself, I am a freelance writer and aspiring game designer. I'm also Canadian, and thus subject to raised Canadian game prices! Woo!

Ask me anything about fighting games. I know a little about a lot of things.