This week on CPCG (that’s, uh, Cheap PC Gaming) we have a game that is unlike any other I’ve ever come across. It’s a fighting game like nothing you’ve ever seen in that you don’t have a punch button or a kick button. Instead, you have to create the punches and kicks (and jumps, grabs, arm rips, decapitations, etc) yourself.
You do this by clicking joints so they bend, relax or hold, and from these movements you build up to your character moving, attacking, etc… This makes even the simplest punch or kick a bit of a mystery if you play without going through the in-game tutorial, which is only exacerbated when you watch a YouTube video of some fights. These can demolish your confidence if you try the game for a second first and have no clue what to do, especially if you’re easily shaken. Naturally, then, there’s one below this paragraph for you to watch.
You play the game by contracting/extending/holding the body parts andor joints you want to, then pressing space, after which the game time will advance a set time (10 frames by default), then you do it again, and you have a certain number of frames until the game ends. A ‘ghost’ shows what will happen in the next move as you’re choosing what to do, so you can have a vague idea of what might happen.[drop]You might think that, if you have any comprehension of how Toribash is played (which you should, since I just told you) and haven’t yet gotten used to it (if you’ve tried it), that the people featured in the above video are, in fact, gods amongst us mere mortals and should be worshipped as such. However, you’d likely be over-estimating the amount of work that goes into learning the game. I felt the same way once, when I was younger and fresher faced, with nothing but the change in my pocket and the gaming PC in front of me, but after a while of tinkering about in practice mode (which is a mode in which you can either practice against a dummy, control both fighters yourself or, theoretically, play some local two player) something just clicked and I wasn’t quite as bad as I was before.
As with all games, it takes quite a lot of practise to get into it, possibly more than you might put into most other games, but once you do it’s deeper than you could possibly expect. The main part of the game is the multiplayer, in which there are various types of matchup. These range from Aikido, to Judo, to swordfights, and they all require vastly different techniques and tactics.
For example, Judo tends to favour grabbing people and forcing them down to the ground, as the server is configured to disqualify anyone to touches the ground outside the small ring. Swordfights tend to entail cutting bits off of each other until the time runs out by swinging your arms (the hand of which is replaced by the sword blade) in the general area of your foe if you’re new, or even blocking, jumping around and just generally being a ninja if you’re good. It’s nice to have a variety of setups that can affect how you play so drastically within the same game.[drop2]Toribash is free (though there was once a time when it wasn’t) and available for Windows, Linux and OS X from the Toribash website. It’s also available on the Wii via Wiiware, if you’re into that kind of thing, and it’s not a bad version of the game, either. I’ve been requested to include the required specs for games, too, so you can expect that in the future. However, I can’t find any specs for Toribash, so I’ll just say this: I used to be able to run it on my old Acer Aspire One netbook (the first model) that had a terrible 8gb solid state drive and had trouble just running Windows XP, so chances are you can play Toribash without any problems.
Unfortunately, I can’t record myself playing the game right now (I’m not great anyway, so it wouldn’t be of much use), but next week I may or may not be recording video and commentating it myself, with my sexy, sexy voice/wheezing monotones.