So, right off the bat I will admit I can guess what a lot of you are already thinking: “Retro, this looks like a shitpost. Are you trolling us?” And I am not. I absolutely swear I am not. I admit that yes, Kyanta looks and sounds like a shitpost, but it is absolutely NOT a shitpost. It’s honestly one of the best fighting games I’ve played in years, and that’s because it’s incredibly approachable whether you’re a veteran from the days of the OG Street Fighter 2 (We don’t talk about 1…) or you’ve never touched a game like that in your life. And hey, this one is completely free, and I mean *COMPLETELY* free. There’s no money of any kind required for anything, it’s just flat out FREE. So what have you got to lose trying it?
GENRE: 2D Fighter that looks like a shitpost but isn’t
So, where do I even begin on this bizarre title? A creation of Japanese musician and artist Haramaself, it features a rather unusual world in which anthropomorphic animals live alongside humans, with its protagonist being a Ryu like character named Kyanta who is a pomeranian. From there, it’s your typical big tournament run by a big evil person, and I think that’s really all I need to say there.
While there is a “Story” mode, it’s essentially a non playable visual novel, and right now it only has one chapter and it’s…Weird. Really weird. Like awkward/made someone who I watched stream it uncomfortable weird. I’m not even gonna go into the details, it’s that weird. Honestly, just skip the Story, you don’t need to view it. We’re here for the gameplay, trust me on this one, okay?
So, I mentioned before this was a fighting game anyone could play, and that’s because it uses a deceptively simple control system that I would best describe as “Super Street Fighter 2 but easier.” Joystick/dpad is used to move, crouch, jump, and block by holding the direction facing away from your opponent when they attack, much like Street Fighter for the past several years. The four buttons you use however, are vastly different from traditional Street Fighter, creating an almost Smash Bros like setup due to a focus on simplicity. The A button is your light attack, B your heavy, X your special, and Y your super. And what move you do with any of these buttons depends on if you’re standing, crouching, or jumping. That’s it. No motion inputs like Quarter Circle, you just press a button and you do a thing. There are some additional button combinations, but they also remain relatively simple: A+B is throw and is rather unique in that there’s no “grab” animation. As long as you’re holding these buttons down, you will do a throw once you’re in range for it. In fact, everything in this game has what I would call an “Infinite buffer” meaning if you hold a button down, what that button does will happen at the first opportunity it can. As for the other important button combos, X+Y will perform an EX move a-la street fighter 3 that uses a partial super meter but is stronger than a regular special, while B+Y will do a Kyanta Cancel which is basically just a Guilty Gear Roman Cancel that spends one full meter to reset you to a neutral state. From here, you can then do another action freely. These button combos can also be set as shortcuts on any extra button/key you have, so you don’t need to necessarily do the combos either, as you can just have a dedicated grab/EX/cancel button.
And that’s it, that’s literally all the buttons you need to know for Kyanta. And due to the fact it doesn’t use motion inputs and has four primary buttons, this is easily playable on most modern gamepads, you don’t even need a fightstick to get the best experience. Heck, you could even go for a keyboard if that’s your thing. And that’s one of the other big reasons I consider this game so approachable by anyone: Simple controls mean multiple input devices can easily be used to play!
What’s really impressive about Kyanta though? Despite this simple, approachable control setup, there’s still an incredible amount of depth to the game that even a pro fighter will need time to master. Doing combos for example, not to mention Kyanta Cancels and its Street Fighter 3 esque parry where you can tap forward just before a hit to parry it and get a potential frame advantage off it. But despite the advanced mechanics, it’s still a fighter anyone can pick up and play, and easily learn all the basics of a character in a matter of minutes. And with 30 characters currently available? I’d argue anyone and everyone can find someone on the roster that fits their style.
Now, what shakes Kyanta up a bit is that it takes inspiration from Capcom vs SNK, using a Team Elimination style of battle where you make a team of 1-3 fighters, and when one’s beaten, the next in line steps up. The twist is that if you use one character, they get WAY more health, whereas using 3 characters means they all only get a fraction of the health they normally would. In addition, you also have to pick a “style” for your team which gives one of several bonuses.
The beginner friendly Stamina style grants more health, which is great on high health characters as it can make them even beefier, but it’s a good choice if you don’t feel comfy with the more advanced Styles too.
Speed lets you move faster on the ground which is *HUGE* since you can actually walk through characters. That’s right, there’s no physical collision boxes, only hitboxes that determine where attacks have to land!
EX lets you use your Super moves with only 3/4s of a gauge instead of a full gauge, which means you can get a Super out that much sooner.
Super gives you the benefits of both the Stamina AND Speed Styles, but your Super moves are disabled (Similar to Super mode in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo).
Demon disables your Super moves, but in exchange pressing your Super button will put you into a special state where you can rapidly use your EX Moves instead!
Parry is arguably the most advanced style, as a successful Parry will give you health and meter, but your ability to do normal blocks is completely disabled, making this a huge risk vs reward approach.
What shakes things up a little more than Capcom vs SNK’s approach on the team size affecting strength and style selection though? You get to pick the style for each individual character, as opposed to your entire team! This means you could lead off with a high health character using Stamina, and have your last character use Demon for EX spam. For a game with such a simple control system, team composition is incredibly deep as you have to think about what styles benefit each member of your team, and who to place where as some characters may be great fronts, but others may be best as a mid/back in your team.
Now, there is one other system I have to mention that people are going to either love or hate, and as an overly offense focused player, I personally love it: the Boko System. Boko is essentially a stun/dizzy state, but unlike most fighting games, this dizzy state occurs from excessive blocking. Every time you block a hit, the Boko gauge below your health fills. If it maxes out, your guard is broken and you’re stunned, leaving you vulnerable to followups. In addition, a combo done against a boko’d player will do more damage than normal, so if someone is really good at combos and gets a boko opportunity, it could easily mean the boko’d player’s end! In other words, you can’t just block EVERYTHING thrown at you or else you’ll eventually get Boko’d and beaten down heavily for it. This encourages a mix of offense and defense and prevents excessive blocking, something I’ve always found can kill the pace of a good match, especially against a block happy CPU player.
The flow of a match itself is much like a good modern Street Fighter title, with each player having access to a super meter that has 3 levels and can thus stock 3 uses of super moves, though half of a meter can also be spent on an EX Move. Unlike Street Fighter however, meter only builds on successful hits. One rather unusual aspect of meter building is the flashing EX icon on the top of the HUD, which indicates when a Flash Bonus is possible. What’s a Flash Bonus? Every 60 frames is a window where extra meter is gained if a hit is landed during that very brief ‘once every 60 frames’ window. This means there’s actually a timing element involved to bonus meter gain! Another big change is that there’s no chip damage of any kind: A fully blocked super will do NO damage! Though the Boko meter does ensure that blocking isn’t 100% risk free, as a boko’d player will be in a very bad state.
Whew, that’s a lot of technical talk for a game I said anyone could play, but trust me, it’ll all click into place after you actually try the game out. That said, I do realize a roster of 30 could easily leave you wondering just who to try out, and while I do recommend trying everyone, I do have some favorites in certain categories, so I’ll gladly highlight a few of them to give you an idea of just what to expect out of this crazy little fighter’s roster.
Kyanta is the Ryu/Shoto of this game. If you’ve played any version of Street Fighter ever, you should be familiar with this concept already. For those that haven’t, Shotos are often seen as all rounders who cover a lot of things, and may not excel at any of them, but absolutely shine due to their flexibility and adaptiveness. Kyanta comes with good ol fireballs, a jumping spinkick, an anti air rising uppercut, everything you would expect to see a Ryu/Shoto type have. As such, I consider him a great starting point for the game in general as you learn the ins and outs.
Get it? Investi-Gator? It’s funny because this pun only works in english, but it works all the same. Anyway, Azuma is a Zoner, he’s all about controlling distance and keeping his foe at bay with ranged options, but he lacks a good closeup game. His pistol is notorious for being a “hitscan” type attack, and not a true projectile. The shot is actually a MASSIVE hitbox that reflects the hitscan nature of his gun. He can also lay down bear traps to maintain spacing or force his foe into a jump, but definitely has some weaknesses up close. With Azuma, keeping your foe away from you is key, As such, I find he’s best as a mid/back if you’ve had a chance to build up some meter for him beforehand.
Cocorn falls under the Grappler category, meaning he specializes in grabbing/throwing. He’s a big bear with an absolutely terrifying command grab that dashes forward, snags the enemy, then does his best Zangief Spinning Piledriver impression. His super is an even stronger version of this! Also, unlike most Grapplers, Cocorn has some ridiculous mobility options in the air to help him close the gap while off the ground, a bit surprising since most grapplers tend to have weaker air games.
Spike is another Zoner, and an absolutely ridiculous one if your opponent doesn’t know how to parry. He has a slow moving fireball, and the ability to throw liquor bottles in a parabolic arc as well to guard against aerial approaches. On top of this, he can use one of each projectile simultaneously, greatly limiting your opponent’s options to approach. If your opponent hates projectile spam, they are ABSOLUTELY going to hate Spike!
The Akuma to Kyanta’s Ryu. Gyanta features a similar but not quite the same moveset, as well as the signature unblockable Raging Demon super. Like Akuma, very powerful, but also a bit of a glass cannon if you aren’t taking Stamina/Super for the extra health. Still, if you like Akuma? You’ll like Gyanta.
Kinoko is honestly just a troll character in my opinion, but they’re a hilarious one so they get a pass. She has some really good mobility, but the real star of her show is her first Super option. It causes rocks to fall randomly from the top of the screen. These rocks are unblockable and can *also* hurt Kinoko, making this move chaos incarnate, much like Kinoko herself.
What do you get when you combine Sagat’s high and low fireballs with Urien’s shoulder rushes? You get Welldone. He’s basically a combination of two of Street Fighter’s tallest fighters, and he’s really fun to play if you enjoy having variable height fireballs and a really good gap closer on top of it. He’s also notorious for very punishing combos as a “Button Checker” type character. Basically, they press a button, you press another button and ruin their day doing so.
Based on a friend of the developer, ZackyWild is an actual professional in fighting game tournaments, and as such, has very meta commentary for his win quotes. He’s a Rushdown type who is all about being in your face at all times and unleashing combo hell while in said face. His standing special is akin to Chun-Li’s lightning kick except he moves forward while doing it. He also has a mallet that summons moles which act as a sort of trap for him. Zacky’s just something else to watch, honestly.
There’s still plenty more characters, so by all means, experiment! Also, if you ARE the technical type who likes wikis that break everything down? Kyanta does have one, though it lacks some info from the latest updates: https://wiki.gbl.gg/w/Ultra_Fight_Da!_Kyanta_2
So c’mon, take the plunge. It’s free, what’s the worst that could happen? Afraid you might like it?