Considering DHN’s coverage of Fighting is Magic has been somewhat lacking, it’s probably high time to sum up what Mane 6 has released about their game since their second livestream. You can check out the meal-sized preview of the game after the break.
The Engine (also some catch-up)
For those presumably precious few of you who haven’t heard of Fighting is Magic yet, it’s a fighting game (as one could guess from the title) featuring the Mane 6 ponies and 11 other playable season 1 characters, made using the 2D Fighter Maker 2002 (FM2k) engine. It’ll feature a story mode, along with the traditional versus mode, both local and online. If you’re in the mood for an idea of what one can do with the engine, and how well Fighting is Magic will probably run on your computer and internet connection, I’d recommend checking out Vanguard Princess (that is, if you can stomach the moé aesthetic). It’s built on the same engine, right down to the netplay (which is actually done through a third-party program, LunaPort; the name is coincidental, I assure you). The gameplay will be quite different, mind you, but it should be a decent preview of the external features. One thing Fighting is Magic doesn’t have, at least at the moment, is a practice mode; a bit of a bummer, but no real loss. Considering VP has a practice mode jury-rigged in, hopefully Mane6 considers adding it.
Probably the number one thing that has me looking forward to this game is the music. Nothing quite like some awesome music to get you in the mood to whip some tail. Aside from Applejack, Twilight, and Rarity’s themes, since the second livestream, there’s been one track publicly released, and one that’s been demoed, but not yet released. You can check them both out below:
Pinkie Pie’s theme, played in the Sugarcube Corner stage, is by the more techno-inspired half of the Mane6 music duo, Whitetail. It (and Rarity’s theme, also by the same person) has gotten a bit of flack from youtube commenters for not sounding like RainbowCrash88’s tracks, but I personally love the way the track slowly builds up to this infectious, relentless bass drum beat.
Then there’s Rainbow Dash’s theme (started here at 37:02, played in the Clousdale stage by (who else) RainbowCrash88. It hasn’t been officially released yet, but it was playtested during the EVO livestream. It’s honestly my favorite theme so far, and it wouldn’t sound out-of-place at all in a Guilty Gear game.
Further on the subject of sound is the voice acting. Currently Mane6’s voice talents include Emily Fajardo as Pinkie Pie, LilyPichu as Fluttershy, Karen Hayman as Applejack, Kira Buckland as Mayor Mare, Hnilmik as Rarity, and Meredith Sims as Twilight Sparkle. The VA’s don’t always have pitch-perfect impressions of the show characters, but the acting is solid, and there are some amusing lines thrown in there (Twilight Sparkle’s win quotes in particular are hilarious).
Of course, a fighting game is far more than just its soundtrack. There’s also the background and sprite work, the latter of which is apparently an incredibly involved process. So far Mane6 has given sprite and background previews of Twilight Sparkle’s library, Fluttershy and Angel, Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie. You can check out concept art at the links, but those in a rush can just take a glance at some (more) finished art below:
Pretty impressive looking, especially the animation. Mane6 has also released some previews on the splash art and character portraits (in a neat touch, the in-game ones react to whatever your character is doing).
The real meat of a video game, naturally, is the gameplay, which is also looking like it’s shaping up pretty nicely. Other than the first two livestreams, Mane6 also demoed the game at EVO (fighting game tournament in Las Vegas), followed by a more in-depth livestream during Pon-E3. Considering they’re both exceedingly long (though the latter is loaded with info), you can simply catch a combo highlight reel below:
Of course, if you want to be able to pull-off strings like that, you might want to check out the combo rules below:
Up first for the mane 6 are the unicorn ponies, who’ve been described by the developers as “frail, but battery-like, with fast meter charging.” Twilight Sparkle, as you could probably imagine, is very much a magic user, swinging her book around with telepathy and reading it to gain Magic Meter, and Super Meter if the Magic Meter is full. She has a variety of spells at her disposal, from fireballs to traps, to teleports. The last in particular probably indicates that she is going to have a solid mixup game.
Rarity’s strategy is looking to be highly dependent on zoning, with her Magic Meter only charging when she isn’t being hit for an extended period of time. That said, she has a variety of gem-summoning special moves at her disposal, for both anti-air and mixup purposes (her Magic Meter-using specials hold the gem in the air indefinitely, to be released at the player’s discretion). That said, it’s not as if she can’t sneak in a solid combo if the opponent is in a poor position.
Next up are the earth ponies. Unlike the unicorns and pegasi, earth ponies can short hop, allowing for more aggressive cross-ups and easier spacing. Of the mane 6, Applejack is expectedly the most straightforward, having no projectiles; heck, even her Magic specials are just stronger versions of her regular ones. However, Applejack does have a couple of tricks up her nonexistent sleeves. The Applebuck and Counterbuck specials can go through projectiles, and she can use her lasso (not unlike Scorpion, in a sense) to charge up her Magic Meter, set up combos, and for anti-air. Also expectedly, she hits like a truck if the player can set up a good combo string.
Last for the time being, but certainly not least is Pinkamena Diane “I call ’em combos” Pie. And she is very much a combo fiend, being the only one shown so far with a mid-air Super move (which launches a barrage of cupcakes, with a pie finisher). Be Right Back! is also a pretty powerful mix-up move, allowing Pinkie to show up from any direction. Finally, her Magic Meter-consuming move is her signature Party Cannon, which has a variety of effects, but can only has six Magic Meter charges per round. As a finisher, she also has what is probably the scariest level 3 Super in the game, Pinkamena, which, interestingly enough, has been kind of hinted at in the Bite-sized updates…
LH416 – Have you found him yet?… What do you mean “you have not”?!, He must not be allowed to escape the facility.AN335 – …We’ll find him.PC001 – You better, if you don’t want to end up in the moon.AN335 – Yes your majesty… I mean… No your majesty… I mean… we’ll find him.LH416 – And the PdP project?AN335 – Proceeding as scheduled.PL002- Perfect.