Does King of Fighters-i 2012 stack up to its predecessor?
When Street Fighter IV hit the iPhone the entire iPhone gaming community realized that it was actually possible to make a good fighting game with touch controls. It was not just gamers who realized that it was possible; developers took note as well.
Enter SNK, famously responsible for one of the most hardcore fighting games ever. On arcade, their King of Fighters franchise is well-known for having some of the most insane button combinations ever crafted. Honestly, it makes my head spin just thinking about it. Shockingly, they found a way to make it work with King of Fighters-i, and now they are at it again with the sequel.
King of Fighters has a very similar control method to that of Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter IV Volt. On the left side of the screen you have your virtual joystick, which allows you to move your fighter around the screen, jump and duck. On the right side you have your punch, kick, evade, special and HD buttons.
For a complete breakdown of how the controls work, and types of modes available in single player, take a look at our review of King of Fighters-i, because everything is virtually the same.
Executing the crazy special moves is done by tapping on the meters under your health or the portrait of your character. Most of the time, this just felt awkward because I had to pull my hand off either the joystick or attack buttons to make it happen. I also found that tapping the meter did not always work as well I would hope, and it often led to missed opportunities.
The tutorial throws a giant pile of information at you about all of the different types of combos and special moves, and barely lets you try any of it. For hardcore players, this should not be an issue, but for people newer to the series, they might find themselves a little overwhelmed.
Of course, if you played the first one, you will be familiar with how the controls work. You know how it looks. You have a strong handle on the game overall. You want to know what they added, and do the additions make the game worth dropping another seven dollars of your hard-earned money. Well the first addition is a boatload of new characters. The new game includes 32 characters, with slots for two more as DLC available.
They also added online play, which is probably the main reason to consider purchasing the new game if you own the previous version. You can play online via Wi-Fi though GameCenter. You can also play locally through Bluetooth. The multiplayer is not the best I have seen on the iPhone, but it certainly competent and fun. Just be prepared to get destroyed if you are newer player.
I will tell you one thing they didn’t fix, and that is the backgrounds are still static. With all the power available on the iPhone, there is nothing stopping them from making the backgrounds pop more, but for whatever reason, they choose not to. The characters look great, but not so much that it would be impossible for them to render moving backgrounds.
KOF-i 2012 still looks as good as the first one, and the framerate is still impressive. In fact, the framerate is probably the most impressive part of the game. For fighting game fans, it is all about precision, and this game has that covered.
The game has some great new features, and it is still a hell of a fighting game. I just don’t think there is enough new stuff for someone who owns the previous version to run out and get it right away. If you skipped the first one, than this game is pretty easy to recommend if you love fighting games.