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The Humble Brawler Bundle doesn't contain much brawling, but is a great fighting game starter pack


It's not just me, right? A brawler (also known a beat-em-up) is a game in the vein of Final Fight or Streets Of Rage, no? A duo or trio of co-op heroes against waves of expendable mooks? Well, the Humble Brawler Bundle doesn't contain any of those.

What it does contain is a great selection of fighting games to start off the collection of someone looking to get into the genre, mostly focused around the back-catalogue of Arc System Works, who recently shook up the scene with Dragon Ball FighterZ.

It also contains a lot of Anime, with a capital A. You have been warned.

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So, what you get for $1 or more is a trio of solid 2D fighters. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R has a RIDICULOUS title, but it's the final sprite-based Guilty Gear game, offering lightning fast air-dashing combat with a lot of characters and even more refinement. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend is similarly silly in its naming, but more restrained. Not the latest game in the series (that'd be BlazBlue Central Fiction), but nothing in this bundle is.

BlazBlue is a little more measured in its combat, but balances it out with an enormous Visual Novel hybrid story mode. Lastly in the cheapo tier is Skullgirls, Lab Zero's indie fighting debut and a rock solid game in its own right. It also has a famously extensive tutorial mode that teaches general fighting game theory as much as its own systems. There's a lot of tricks you can pick up here that apply to any game in this bundle.

Up in the Beat The Average tier is Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!! with five exclamation marks - count em'. An extensive all female cast, and an interesting gameplay wrinkle in the Arcana system, where you pick what special move and spell-set each fighter goes into the next round with. In the straight-laced corner is Street Fighter x Tekken, which is exactly what it says on the tin. Essentially a Street Fighter 4 spinoff with a bunch of Namco characters paying a visit.

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At the top tier, but only $9, you've got the headlining game, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, the first in the new-generation Guilty Gear games, where Arc System Works first cut their teeth on the Unreal engine. This is where they developed their own tech to render authentically anime-like action on a 2D plane with fully 3D character models. It's a real treat for the eyes, and the most ridiculous showcase of that is the story mode, which removes gameplay entirely in favour of effectively delivering an entire anime series using the game's assets.

Lastly, we've got Rivals of Aether, an indie-made Smash Bros-like which features Ori (from Ori and the Blind Forest) among its DLC characters. On that note, all the games in this bundle are the basic edition, so if there are any updates, expansions, DLC or followups, you don't get them here, but for $9? You can't go far wrong if you've got at least one friend and two gamepads to hand. You can pick up the Humble Brawler Bundle here.

Oh yeah, if you want a really good brawler, check out Fight'n Rage, which I reviewed a while back. I still stand by my opinion that it's one of the best ever made.

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