Rivals of Aether, a Smash Bros. inspired indie platformer fighting game, was recently released on Steam after a lengthy stay in the Early Access Program. The game takes place in a world ruled by four elemental civilizations (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) that are constantly at war with one another. Players – in a Story Mode or in PvP – can control one of two characters of each civilization, each with their own special moves.
Currently there are 8 characters in-game – 2 for each element – though more are rumoured to be in development. Generally the theme for the characters is a damage-dealing type tank alongside a rogue-ish type that , although both of the Air characters seem a little… light on their feet in comparison to everyone else.
Just from playing the game for a couple of hours, I had a great deal of fun, though there was some definite funny business with the controls when playing on a keyboard. Rather than being able to bind the ‘Up’ key and the ‘Jump’ key to the same button as in other games, you’re forced to map them to two different keys, causing a little bit of a problem depending on your usual playstyle. For me, it was a nightmare. Thankfully, this is where a controller comes in handy. A couple of minutes spent creating a custom control profile and testing it out net me some beginner experience and I jump headfirst into an online match.
Despite my initial confidence, the match ended rather abruptly with me going over the side in quick succession. Clearly, I had picked the wrong character (Forsburn, the Fire/Smoke Rogue). Picking the other Fire selection, Zetterburn, did net me a significantly better chance in the next match. After a few close calls, I managed to knock my opponent out right before I followed him. A true ‘GG’, indeed.
All in all, Rivals of Aether definitely has potential. It has quite a large following as PC fighting games go, and the Devs have fairly regular updates, whether it be actual game updates through Steam or announcements on the Reddit for the game, r/RivalsofAether. I’ll continue to play the game fairly regularly, and hope that the growth shown in the last few months doesn’t stop.