If there’s one thing I can say about Reality Fighters, is that it makes a good first impression. That’s important for a game like Reality Fighters, as you can show it off to your mates and they’ll marvel at the fact that you can capture people’s faces and morph them onto fighter’s bodies. In all honesty, that’s pretty cool. It’s a bit of a novelty, but an impressive one; and that’s where Reality Fighters will sell a few copies, because God knows it won’t sell based on how it plays.
Reality Fighters is a 2D fighting game based around augmented reality, and is developed by Novarama who are no strangers to AR as they also developed the highly successful Invizimals. The AR that forms the main draw actually works surprisingly well. To get yourself in the game, you can either take a picture of your lovely face yourself via the front camera, or someone can take it for you using the rear camera. It is however pretty selective about what it considers good lighting, so you’ll need to be in a pretty bright room. You’ll also need to ensure that there’s no glare on you face as the camera will take that as the colour of your face, making it look like you have skin grafts! Low light can also cause your fighter’s face to come out really dark, and that will carry over to the body, which it matches with the face.
Once you’ve got your face on your character, you can then customise their weight and general body shape, although height and hair colour are off-limits. After that, you can move on to their clothing. A wide variety of customisation options for your fighter’s clothing is available, ranging from a ballerina outfit to a full on banana suit. There’s certainly some fun to be had in customising your fighters; I gave my Vita to a friend to make me in the game, and we had a good laugh about how it turned out. It’s ridiculous, over the top, and a bit of fun.
Other AR features the game supports include creating your own virtual stage using one of the Vita’s AR cards, which you can place anywhere and have your fighters fight on top of that surface. You have to be pretty selective about where you place the AR card and the position you view it from though, otherwise it’ll struggle, with your fighters looking as if they’re fighting in mid-air.
Creating your own area to fight in is much more finicky than it should be, and its success rate is pretty variable. When it does work, it’s pretty impressive, but you have to be very precise. To do it, you have to hold the Vita in a level position, then rotate it so it can take multiple pictures and blend them together. Move your arms and it will fail completely, with duplicate scenery and cuts all over it. While this is fun the first couple of times – like everything in Reality Fighters, but it’s not something I really touched after messing with it a bit.
However, while all the AR implementation is the game’s main attraction, this is still supposed to be a fighting game. After spending a good bit of time playing it though, a fighting game it is not, or at least, not a good one. Bland, uninteresting and overly simple are all apt descriptions for what turned out to be a rather disappointing experience. Whereas most fighting games give you good-sized move sets and lots of combos to build off – and then add special moves for you to add-on top of that, Reality Fighters just gives you a lump of special moves, a couple of grabs, and that’s it. There’s no flair to the fighting, no skill involved, just a case of spamming quarter/half circles and a few taps of the face buttons to make things happen. When you have competent fighters like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on the Vita at launch too, it’s hard to recommend Reality Fighters as an alternative.
It’s also not up to scratch visually either, with character models looking severely deformed. It doesn’t stop there though, the audio isn’t great and while some of the characters make some mildly amusing comments, with the ability to record your own is a novel one, there really just isn’t anything to write home about other than the opening hour in Reality Fighters. The same can be said for the number of game modes on offer. With no different interesting extra modes, similar to perhaps Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s Heroes and Heralds mode, all you get is just the standard single player, multiplayer, training and mini-games.
Said mini-games provide a bilious smattering, and you’d do well to enjoy these at all, never mind keep coming back to them. They’re the most stereotypical and slightly obtuse mini games you could think of: breaking boards, punching bags and even a survival mode; although the only survival you’ll really be doing in Reality Fighters is trying to survive playing it for any decent amount of time before it becomes utterly tiresome and boring. Let me tell you, you won’t be surviving very long in that regard.
Reality Fighters is a thoroughly disappointing experience. Despite some neat presentation and AR features, it’s not an enjoyable game, it’s not pleasant to look at, and there’s not a lot on offer.