In recent years, there has been a resurgence of small scale competitive multiplayer indie games, such as Duck Game, Towerfall Ascension, and Nidhogg. Strikers Edge is the newest addition to this trend, with an unique dodgeball mechanic that allows the game stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Strikers Edge’s controls and mechanics are easy to understand, even for casual gamers. The setup is similar to dodgeball, with opposing teams on opposite sides of an impassable barrier chucking projectiles to whittle down each other’s health bars. Due to the constant threat of oncoming projectiles, it behooves the player to be constantly on the move, with intermittent stops to aim and toss a projectile of their own, attempting to lead their target and guess where the opponent is heading.
Beyond basic movement, there are two additional options for defense. A dodge roll which consumes stamina, or a shielding block which consumes a separate “block counter” which requires specific timing to perform. Stamina management is an important consideration while playing Strikers Edge, since it is used both for throwing projectiles and dodge rolling. If a player spams a bunch of projectiles in a row, there will be no stamina left over to evade incoming attacks with a dodge roll. While stamina slowly recharges, blocks are limited by their counter but don’t consume stamina. Projectiles can also be charged up and thrown for a more damaging attack, but this severely limits movement and should only be performed when the enemy leaves an opening for the player to exploit.
These mechanics are only the first layer of the tactical depth to what initially appears to be a simple competitive game about fantasy archetypes throwing weapons at one another in a pixel art landscape. These archetypes are far more than just cosmetic, as each has special abilities and strengths. These Strikers range from a wood elf archers to proud armored knights, and each has a short single player campaign that acts as an extended tutorial of sorts. The artificial intelligence is challenging even on normal difficulty, offering a decent facsimile of playing against another human player. I appreciated the world building and character specific dialogue of the campaign, but each campaign is too short and shallow to be truly memorable.
The Strikers all have the same movement speed and projectiles speed, but what distinguishes them are their special abilities, activated after a successful charged attack. This can be a Scorpion-like “Get Over Here!” grapple, or an immobilizing pin with a javelin, but for some strange reason none of the character’s special abilities are visible in the game itself. Each new character I tried out, I had to guess what their special abilities were without any help from the game itself. This important information was hidden away in the Strikers Edge official website.
Strikers Edge has robust streaming integration, as well as the infrastructure necessary for party based matchmaking in 1v1 or 2v2 online and local multiplayer modes. Unfortunately, at the time of this review, I was unable to find another opponent to play with online. This is a common problem with smaller indie multiplayer focused titles, as the main content of these games is the online player base. I had an enjoyable time playing this game in local multiplayer with a friend and would’ve loved to challenge online opponents in dodgeball combat, but the lack of a multiplayer community is an undeniable detriment.
I had a wonderful time mastering the dodging and aiming mechanics of Strikers Edge. The game has a unique mechanic and varied characters guaranteed to provide hours of competitive entertainment. However, the empty online servers and short single player campaigns makes this a game that can only be recommended if you have somebody in mind to play it with, as those moments are when Strikers Edge is at its best.
- Unique Competitive Gameplay
- Different Heroes Offer Variety
- Interesting World Building
- Empty Online Community
- Hero Abilities not Listed in Game
- Short Single Player Campaigns