If Sumotori Dreams is a game about sumo wrestlers learning to walk, Kaneko’s NekoFight is a game about capoeiristas struggling with melancholy. NekoFight is a simple ragdoll fighting demo, but the participants seem to be as much victims of world-weariness as of a gravity simulation.
The Saddest Control Set
The game and documentation are in Japanese, but the controls are simple enough that players who can’t read the language shouldn’t have a problem. The arrow keys cause the Blue fighter to shamble around the arena forlornly. The X and C keys control the left and right legs (respectively). Tap X for a moment, and Blue’s left leg will twitch. Hold X for longer, and the sullen polygon model will whirl into wild spin kick.
Holding X and C at the same time causes Blue to spring into a mighty backflip, usually flying out of the arena and into the moat around it (the game’s only disqualifier). Tapping the keys just right causes Blue to fall over and lie prone on the ground. Then use the arrow keys to make Blue grope around wearily.
I Just Want a Hand to Hold
Probably the most interesting of the game’s mechanics is the grab. When the Yellow enemy fighter is close, press and hold the Z key. Blue will reach out and take Yellow by the hand, or leg, or head, whatever’s available. Now the two are joined into a single ragdoll, each affected by the motions of the other. Drag Yellow by the head, wrestle. Use a kick to launch Blue into midair, then release Z to send Yellow flying. Lie down near the water and, when your opponent shambles close enough, grab an ankle and tug it over the edge.
What’s the Point of it All?
NekoFight provides little in the way of direction or challenge, and your opponents are as eager to off themselves as you are. This is another game (or toy) that requires one be willing to create one’s own amusement. Try playing without using the arrow keys. You can effect a kind of walk by alternating between the X and C keys. Better, try to force your opponent from the arena using only the grab button.
You can also turn gravity off by toggling the third option on the pull-down menu. In the midst of a kick, this might send the fighters careening around the arena. More often, it will leave them floating in space, flailing their limbs, forever.
For players who think they might enjoy the antics of robot ragdolls who got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, NekoFight is good for hours. And it’s totally free.
Download NekoFight (12.0 MB)