The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Taekwondo Game Global Tournament
This week our pick for Game of the Week is something that stuck out as especially fresh in the long-established genre of fighting games. Taekwondo Game Global Tournament (Free) isn’t your typical fighting game. It aims to portray the martial art of tae kwon do in an authentic manner, and although I’m no tae kwon do expert, I think they’ve done a pretty good job. Most fighting games have you battling an opponent until their health meter expires, at which point you’ve won a round.
Taekwondo Game doesn’t have a health meter, rather it has a stamina meter for each competitor. Both attacking and blocking use stamina, so you have to be strategic about where and when you use an action. If your entire stamina bar depletes you won’t lose the round or anything, but you may not be able to perform an action and you’ll be leaving yourself vulnerable to your opponent.
Just the strategy of using your stamina bar wisely is one of my favorite things about Taekwondo Game, and reminds me of another excellent iOS fighter, Kinetic Damage, which also eschews a traditional health meter in favor of wearing down different sections of your opponent’s body. In Taekwondo Game it isn’t about knocking your opponent out, rather it’s about scoring points for landing clean strikes, and taking care to not let your opponent land clean strikes on you. At the end of a timed round, the fighter with the most points wins the round.
The actual fighting mechanics in Taekwondo Game are solid, but definitely pared down. From a normal standing position you have a high strike button and a low strike button. Pressing either of those in conjunction with left or right on the d-pad provides additional types of strikes, and there’s even a dedicated “focus move" button which can land a devastating blow if timed properly. Overall, Taekwondo Game isn’t nearly as complex as traditional fighting games like Street Fighter or Tekken, but it’s a solid system that’s a lot of fun and easy enough for anyone to pick up on.
Along with the solid mechanics, Taekwondo Game is also a really high quality production. The visuals are fantastic, with several different environments to fight in and several different character models to play as. Obviously I’d love to see more environments added in the future, and an actual character customization system would be awesome, but I love what’s currently in the game a lot.
Probably the biggest negative I can lob at Taekwondo Game is that there isn’t a whole lot of content here, and overall I’ve found the game kind of easy so far. Multiplayer extends the experience greatly, but it’s limited to local for now, so you’ll have to actually find a buddy in real life to square off against. Honestly, that’s been the heart and soul of fighting games for decades, and there’s nothing like playing against an opponent who is in the same space as you. That said, an online multiplayer mode would be very welcome here, as would additional single-player tournaments.
Taekwondo Game Global Tournament feels like a fresh spin on fighters. It may be lacking in certain areas, but what we have here is an incredibly solid foundation to build upon. You can download and play the tutorial and local multiplayer modes for free, and if you enjoy it and want to access the rest of the game it’s a one-time IAP unlock of 99¢ until January 7th, after which point the full unlock price only goes up a buck to $1.99. As someone who loves the fighting game genre, Taekwondo Game has a lot going for it as an alternative to traditional fighting games, and I’d highly suggest everyone checks it out.