Thanks to the Smash Bros. series of games, the whole idea of what fighting games can be has been transformed over the years. There have been many alternatives to these titles, and XD Entertainment is bringing Flash Party to the table. This mobile title captures the essence of a Smash game while setting the stage for its own characters. It is a competitive fighter where players can choose one of several characters to duke it out. You have free movement in a 2.5D plane with access to normal, special, and recovery moves. It has the potential to be very fast-paced, chaotic, and enjoyable.
While there are definitely fighting games that pour a lot of lore and detail into world-building and storytelling, it's not really a priority. Flash Party is the same way where there really isn't a plot to follow… so I'm just going to make one up. Centuries after the singularity occurred, all sentient organic life has merged with the digital network spanning across the universe.
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Every being has been replaced with an avatar of their own design, with a few choosing to use their new forms to engage in competitive activities. Seeing that injury no longer has the impact that it once did, a mysterious event planner arranges a flashy combat competition known as the Flash Party. Competitors who are fortunate enough to receive an invitation are drawn to the spectacle event where they can show off their avatar and its moves. Who is your plus one?
A name can create expectations and it's wonderful when it lives up to them. This is the main strength of Flash Party in that it does feel like a party. This is apparent due to the guest list of fighters you can choose from. They all fit into different weight categories which are obviously based on their sizes, but each one stands out. They have a variety of colours, accessories, and personality traits that come through in their expressive animated movements. They also have their own playstyles to master (with a clear difficulty indicator), but you feel compelled to try each one. Whether or not you find synergy with each one, they're still fun to try.
Smash games need to have fluidity and sharpness, which isn't always possible on mobile. However, this game has managed to incorporate the controls in a simple yet effective way. With movement on the left and moves on the right, you'll get the handle of it pretty fast. Tapping and swiping trigger different sets based on deliberate but still swift movement. It's also nice to see the good response time between input and action in a genre where every frame counts. If you're not feeling confident to practice in live matches, you've got the handy practice mode.
Flash Party has done a good job of creating a solid and entertaining mobile smash-like, but something like that can take a toll on your phone. As a result, the biggest issues with the game are technical ones. Make sure that your phone can handle all the game's processing. It's also dependent on online accessibility, so if you don't have a good data plan or Wi-Fi connection, you'll definitely be lagging behind. Then there's how it unlocks content. Flash Party uses a seasonal system where you'll earn rewards by playing and completing tasks. However, this means you'll need to do a lot of them with the same characters just so you can get the full roster. It's tedious but can still feel rewarding.
Flash Party is a 2.5D Smash-like fighting game about weird and wacky characters fighting in a nondescript digital future world. The game works great considering what it has to support, with its main strengths being its diverse character selection and control implementation. You'll have to make sure your phone and connection are strong enough to play it as you grind to get the full game, but it can be enjoyable nonetheless. If you have some free time coming up, attend the flash party.