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Cool Clash

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

P-p-p-p-p-patience breaker!

Product: Cool Clash | Developer: Foxy Robot | Publisher: Foxy Robot | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Fighting, Hardcore | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.01
Cool Clash iPhone, thumbnail 1
Much like shoot-em-ups, soccer sims, and card battlers, the one-on-one fighter is a genre that has long been stuck on a creative plateau.

It's very difficult to take genres that have become stale and inject them with new ideas, and it's often because the gameplay they offer is widely regarded as the only way for those games to play.

Take the left trigger, right trigger shooting of Call of Duty, the endless grind of Rage of Bahamut, and the hellish ordnance of DoDonPachi - these are the standard, and any deviation makes for a lesser game.

But Cool Clash looks to completely reinvent the brawler, and specifically with touchscreens in mind.

It has lofty ambitions then, but its execution is sadly sub-standard and the end result is a game that feels as if its changed a few known quantities, just for the sake of being a bit different.

Rainbow Edition

The first bold decision is that the roster is tiny. I always prefer either a limited choice of fighters so I can learn every nuance of the entire character set, or a gigantic roster for surprises at every turn.

For me then, it's either vanilla Street Fighter II, or it's Capcom Versus SNK.

None of the roster in Cool Clash is particularly memorable though, and their designs are all over the place.

This criticism is equally true of the menus. Multiple font types mingle awkwardly on the same screen, and arrows pointing left and right on the character select don't actually move the menu along.

The UI clutters the screen when fighting, too, and the camera fails to track the combatants at times. However, animation is stunning: there are loads of frames for each of the handful of characters on offer. It's a real treat in motion.

Away from the presentation and into the play, it's disappointing to see most of the game's ideas fall flat.

Instead of virtual buttons for moves, Cool Clash has you swipe in different directions to perform standard maneuveres. Blocking is a swipe back and down, throw becomes back and up, and there are two attacks for forward up, and forward down.

But it's let down by having a slower pace of the play, and occasional input lag. I found myself swiping furiously (the touchscreen equivalent of button bashing) very frequently.

Movement is still handled by a virtual stick, but character positioning seems largely pointless anyway. Super moves that end games instantly are assigned to a virtual button that only appears when available so it's easy to hit it by mistake, and they take so long to execute that it's easy for opponents to counter them.

Combos are simple - but again they're very slow to pull off, as are the jumps. The slower pace and minimal aeriel action makes for a focus on ground game, which is admittedly somewhat of a rarity.

Why bother?

There's no one-on-one multiplayer, leaving me to wonder why I'm supposed to get good at the game in the first place. The single player is also free of story, so I'm not sure why I want to root for the characters I pick.

I could forgive all of this and write it off as a more casual-friendly game, yet Cool Clash does nothing to welcome in those new to the fighting genre. The Training mode is straight out of the PlayStation days: it's you and another character in a ring, with no timer and unlimited health. You can try out combos, but it's never going to teach you what those combos are or, more importantly, why and when you should be using them.

If you're going to try and revolutionise the way we interact with fighting games, you need to teach me where I'm going wrong, how my strategies should be changed, and how I can improve. You can't just turn on God mode and hope I'll pick up the basics.

The most elite fighting hardcore should check out Cool Clash for the ground game, and marvel at what might have been had the technical excellence displayed in the animation permeated to every aspect of the game's design. Hell, they should grab it just to support a developer that's trying to rock the boat a little.

But everyone else can let this experience pass them by without missing too much, as they've arguably been doing to the entire genre for the last five years.
Cool Clash
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 22 August 2013
An interesting exercise in re-designing the fighter for touchscreens then, but ultimately an exercise that fails to solve the issues of the interface
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