Fists will fly, swords will clash and worlds will collide when Blade Strangers lands on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PC (via Steam) on August 28th, bringing with it accessible controls, gorgeous visuals and numerous modes. But while this one-on-one crossover fighting extravaganza features fan-favorite characters from games such as Cave Story+, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, Shovel Knight and Code of Princess EX, how will you decide which warriors to master first? Every fighter has what it takes to be a champion, and each one has his or her own strengths and specialties. Here’s a brief look at the game’s 14 formidable fighters to see what they bring to the table.
Solange, the heroine of Code of Princess EX, is armed with the mighty (and rather massive) DeLuxcalibur sword that gives her a long reach in battle. “She’s a character that is fairly easy to control and get the hang of, so she’s a great starting point for new players,” says director Toshinobu Kondo of developer Studio Saizensen.
Ali, the thief from Code of Princess EX, is fast and unpredictable. “Ali is very tricky,” explains Kondo. “She can wield continuous supers and can disrupt her opponents by using bombs. Her combos feel great, too.”
Practitioner of a style known as UMA (Ultimate Manimal Arts), Master T brings his strength and toughness from Code of Princess EX. “He is a strong character when used by players who are good at reading their opponent’s moves,” asserts Kondo. “He fits perfectly with players who have confidence in psychological warfare. When using him, don’t think! Feel!”
Joe the Liongate
Also from Code of Princess EX, Joe the Liongate hides his face behind a mask, but his prowess with a sword can’t be denied. “Players must use his magic bullets skillfully and execute his moves with style,” Kondo comments. “We believe he is a good fit for players who have some fighting-game experience and consider themselves to be more intermediate than beginner.”
The title character of the Umihara Kawase series, Kawase is a teenage girl who uses a fishing line to startling effect. “She is a very unique character who can freely move from one side of the screen to the other by using her fishing lure,” Kondo explains. “Although she requires some technique to be successful, she’s a very fun character to use after players gain more experience with her.”
Kawase’s childhood friend Emiko fights alongside her gigantic cat, Shakemaru. “She’s a character that’s good at throws,” notes Kondo, “so for those players who like to play ‘keep away,’ she’s a purrrrrfect choice!”
A time-traveling police officer, Noko is a descendent of Kawase who specializes in combo attacks. “Aggressive players can use her to corner their opponents against the wall and give them the final knockdown!” says Kondo.
Curly, the female robotic soldier from Cave Story+, is armed with several types of weapons. In particular, her machine gun makes her an excellent choice for fans of long-range attacks. “Being able to shoot up and down and to the front is a huge threat,” Kondo states, “but players will need to be aware of rapid firing too much, as their opponent can read it and jump in to deal some damage of their own.”
Like Curly (his Cave Story+ ally), Quote is good at keeping opponents at a distance by using weapons such as the Polar Star and the Fireball. However, his Blade attacks are also fairly effective at close range, making him a rather balanced character.
Shovel Knight, the titular hero from the popular action-platformer, is a strong fighter who’s especially dangerous at short range. He can charge up his shovel if you hold down the Skill button for a second or two, and he has some effective grapples. He’s also remarkably adept in the air, where he can use an air dash and his downward-thrusting Shovel Drop.
Utilizing many items and attacks from The Binding of Isaac, this weeping warrior has surprising and unusual maneuvers to catch foes off guard, including bombs, a pickaxe and a headbutt. His small stature means he’s a little tougher to hit, too.
The star of Azure Striker Gunvolt is quite literally a run-and-gun fighter. He has projectiles to, ahem, strike from afar, as well as a dash maneuver for rapidly closing the gap between himself and his opponents. Additionally, he can manually charge up his special meter to more effectively unleash his powerful electricity-based Ultra Skills.
An original Nicalis character making her first video game appearance, Helen is great at countering opponents’ attacks. “Helen is a threatening character in that her opponent is always forced to make difficult decisions,” says Kondo. “For opponents who are given the option and make an incorrect move, Helen will make them pay for it severely.” Though equipped with a shield, Helen blocks by holding Back, just like everybody else.
The evil entity known as Lina is the final boss in the game, as well as a playable character. “Lina is a very fitting boss, a character full of unique attacks,” Kondo reveals. “She’s the most technical character in the game, but once players are able to master her, she’s very strong and fun to play. She’s probably a better fit for players who consider themselves to be more advanced.”
With such a varied lineup of fighters, you’re sure to find someone that’s a good match for your personal style of combat, regardless of what type of player you are. You’ll have the chance to try them all—or just stick to your favorites—when Blade Strangers arrives on August 28th for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PC! Like to get physical? Pre-order the Switch and PS4 versions now at retailers including Amazon, Best Buy and GameStop.