It's fascinating that for the longest time, it was just accepted wisdom that fighting games should be one on one affairs, where health points go down, and where memorization of move-lists and combos was king. Nintendo's Smash Bros wasn't the first game to do something different, of course, but it was the one that established a whole parallel genre built around the notion of numbers going up instead, fueling exponentially greater chaos.
The latest to step up for a shot at the silly party-fighter crown is Slap City, coming from Ludosity, the eclectic little outfit that gave us the likes of Ittle Dew, Card City Nights and some pointedly DOS-tinged throwbacks like Princess Remedy and MURI.
Being such a busy little studio, with titles spanning a baffling array of genres, Ludosity have built up quite a stable of character designs over the years. Most of them being cute as a button, they're a great fit for the genre. Slap City plans to take the whole lot of them (currently just five in the Early Access release) and throw them into a big dumb slap-fight, because they've already tried card-battling and that worked out pretty okay.
Right now there's not a huge amount of content to the game, hence the low price point. Ludosity have enough experience under their belt to have a full development road-map worked out, viewable on the Steam store page for the game. By the time the game fully launches in an estimated 8 months, it'll contain 8 characters, 24 stages and a full single-player campaign, but the price will have increased to $15.
Still, there's a small but respectable product even in this early state. Five playable characters, 12 fighting stages, 2 Slap Ball arenas and full online multiplayer are present and correct, along with local play, obviously. It'd be a pretty daft Smash-like if there wasn't.
Slap City is available now via Early Access for £4/$5.