5 Indie Fighting Games to Help Get Your Anger Out

Dec 31, 2023

Fan art inspired by Rivals of Aether

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Fighting games first rose to popularity in the 1970s and remain a staple of the video game industry. Heavyweight Champ was the first mainstream option pitting boxers against each other. As time passed, stories became more complex and fights became more gory and creative. Independent gaming companies are continuing to innovate on the genre focused on defeating enemies through brute force. Here are five indie fighting games to help you blow off some steam.

Action figures from video games lined up on table.

1. Schwarzerblitz

If you want a free fighting game beloved by players, Schwarzerblitz is for you. 

The land of Fennoscandia sunk deep into the ocean and half of Ireland has hemophages. Nuclear power no longer exists, replaced by reality-distortion resonance (RDR) power plants. It’s now 2065–a year after a major explosion caused a storm of black lightning over Europe. No one knows. Now, the Delta Team discovered the cause of the accident was a secret project called Schwarzer Blitz. 

A great part of the game is that though it’s set in the future, it’s filled with 90s nostalgia. With 3D low-poly fighters, you can choose from 27 playable characters with more than 100 skins. There is an approximately five hour story mode, allowing you to spend the day giving your virtual enemies powerful blows to send them packing. 

It has a five button system for punching, kicking, guarding, technology and trigger. You can combo different attacks to get the most effective result. The environment is entirely three-dimensional, offering eight-way movement for playable characters. 

The 39 distinct stages have animated background elements and computer-generated cutscenes that combine entertaining gameplay with a solid story. There are also training modes, a gallery mode and local multiplayer. Did we mention this game is free?

2. Rivals of Aether

Rivals of Aether takes place in a warring civilization where players can summon the elements (fire, earth, water and air) and animals to defeat their opponents. You can face rivals in one-on-one or two-player teams. You can also host a free-for-all scenario where everyone is fighting everyone. 

Its flexibility, competitiveness and an expansive training mode make this game excellent for both experienced gamers and those who want to try a fighting game. 

In its story mode, one or two players can choose from seven chapters that focus on the story of six characters: Forsburn, Orcane, Wraster, Kragg and Zetterburn. You can complete the first six levels in any order leading up to a confrontation with the Gatekeepers at the end. 

Aside from the classic story mode, you can see how many shadow fighters are in the abyss mode. You can also challenge your friends in it. You could also take on others in the online versus mode or compete with players around the world in ranked mode. 

A popular feature of Rivals of Aether is its tutorial mode which can turn you from a novice to an expert fighter. It’s a great way to hone your skills in this and other games. 

Teams playing Rivals of Aether.

3. The Black Heart  

The Black Heart is a traditional two-dimensional fighting game, reflecting the style of Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. 

It takes place in a parallel dimension where the Final ripped out the heart of the king which holds the power used to create the world. Six creatures from both worlds hunt this monster to steal the heart for their own use. 

The game is a passion project, created solely by Andrés Borghi over seven years. He completed everything from programming to writing to sound design. It saw a recent release with updated specs and features. 

With fluid gameplay, pictorical landscapes and a lot of pixelated blood, it’s a great game to dive into after a stressful day.

4. Punch Planet 

Punch planet is a two-dimensional science fiction fighter game currently in early access. You can choose from six playable characters to navigate five levels. It also has a training mode to master the gameplay. 

The game will soon offer a story mode, arcade mode and other challenges. The plot features Detective Roy who is framed for murder in a galactic conspiracy. His investigation leads to Planet K-0 or “The Punch Planet”. The planet is home to the business of the most evil creatures in the universe. To clear his name, he must explore the world and find the true murderer. 

The solid gameplay and anime-style animation makes you feel like you’re in the center of a comic book or movie as you punch, kick and shoot your way through the planet. There is a classic multiplayer mode and an online version. You can also battle against the CPU, setting it to different behavior and difficulty settings. By playing the game now, you can be a step ahead when newer features emerge, such as an arcade and trial mode and time-canceling mechanics. 

With upcoming time canceling devices, players can travel up to one second in the past to correct mistakes or make adjustments. You can also use them to perform special actions like “jump time canceling,” “absorb time canceling” and “double time canceling.” They disintegrate the character’s former self to avoid paradoxes. However, players must be wise about their use since energy directly connects to the use meters. 

Also upcoming are energy attacks where you advance your standard fighting maneuvers for greater potency. 

RGB backlit keyboard.

5. Footsies 

Footsies is a nostalgic-style two-dimensional fighting game. Its simple drawings and mechanics make it an excellent option for beginners while the traditional ground-based fighting keeps experienced fighters coming back. Hit Confirm and Whiff Punish are keys to success in this fighting game. 

It features an arcade mode, online and offline versus modes, an online lobby and Hit Confirm and Whiff Punish mini games. You can hone your skills in the game’s training mode. 

Released in 2020, you might not realize the game is modern at first glance. It’s pixelated and in black and white. However, the smooth animation and gameplay give away its newness, providing features for all generations to enjoy.

Supporting Indie Fighting Games 

Independent game studios are capable of creating unique games that take more risks than mainstream outlets. These five excellent fighters are some of the many options to help you find your new favorite game.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.