A few years ago, MMA – especially in the form of the UFC – looked bound to take over the world. While the sport is still very popular, I think its popularity has stalled slightly for reasons not of the moment. Despite the sport not having the personalities it once had (with the exception of the Rouseys and the McGregors of the world), I still enjoy the sport. That’s why I’ve been keeping an eye on Fight Team Rivals, an MMA Management game, for the last couple of months. Now that the game is soft-launched in Ireland, I got a chance to play around with it, and so far it’s pretty fun. Developer Three Towers Games Limited has been working for quite some time on the game, and I think it shows since Fight Team Rivals looks pretty good and seems to have a pretty coherent design idea behind it.
The gameplay is all about training and preparing your fighter and then watching the fight unfold hands-off (although you have some rudimentary tactical decisions before the fight). You can train them both in terms of fitness stats and also in terms of learning various disciplines, each with their own distinct set of moves. Hard to say how much the discipline actually matter in fights since I haven’t played the game that much to know, but I hope the a clash between a thai boxer and a boxer will be different than between a thai boxer and a streetfighter.
You can fight in offline events that range from one-off fights to normal tournaments to tag team tournaments and so on. Add to that the ability to fight against friends’ teams or random online teams, and you have a pretty good variety of content. The fights are fun to watch, but I think I would have liked to see more than one round so I could perhaps change my fighters’ instructions.
Fight Team Rivals’ timing is quite good since Punch Club ($4.99), the boxing tycoon game many are talking about, is making fight management games hip again. The developers have told me they are still adding features to the game in an attempt to flesh out the management part even more. Apparently, you’ll be able to upgrade your gym’s training and medical areas as well as hire and manage coaches and support staff. The developers seem willing to keep on expanding the game, which is good news since the game I’ve been playing is already pretty good.
Fight Team Rivals is Free-to-Play, but other than the typical rhythm of leveling up-making money-leveling up more, I haven’t seen anything egregious (too early to say, of course). No word on worldwide release date, but the game is soft-launched in Ireland, so go check it out if you’ve been looking for a good management game with an MMA theme.