When one thinks of popular fighting games, it’s unlikely that The Rumble Fish will come to mind. The niche franchise never left the arcades, and more noteworthy, it never officially had a worldwide release. This is finally remedied today, with the Switch release of The Rumble Fish 2.
While fighting game enthusiasts might be excited that this arcade relic is now accessible, it’s far from the innovative game that it was back in 2005. It still plays somewhat well, but it hasn’t aged gracefully. The combat is technical and requires more strategy than most fighting games. It has larger health bars and two special gauges, one for both offense and defense, making it a much more technical game than most in the genre. Still, this doesn’t necessarily translate to a more fun experience, especially in 2023 with many great fighting games on the Switch.
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of fun to be had in The Rumble Fish 2. The roster is diverse, with many ways to play. The combat is clean, and being a technical fighter isn’t a bad thing. There is a high skill ceiling and the floor isn’t too high either. Two high-level players will find tons of depth, making this a likely contender for a niche fighter in the pro scene.
Where The Rumble Fish 2 really stumbles are the features. It’s a barebones port that doesn’t add anything new to the table except for online play. Fortunately, that part holds up well, with rollback netcode. Outside of online play though, there isn’t much for players to do aside from traditional arcade and survival modes. It’s adequate, but in 2023, there are fighters with so much more content at similar price points.
The Rumble Fish 2 looks great though. The 2D sprites juxtapose well from the 3D backgrounds. The characters are full of life, with fun design decisions throughout. The physics on the more feminine bodies will get an eyeroll, and this is exacerbated by underwear shots for characters with sirts. It’s lame, but this is an otherwise great looking game.
The Rumble Fish 2
The Rumble Fish 2 holds up as a decent fighter, but lacks the variety in modes to give it universal appeal.