Super Smash Bros may not be available on Xbox One, but it’s obviously had a huge influence on the production of Rivals of Aether, the latest game to make the most of the Xbox One Game Preview feature.

You see, Rivals of Aether is without doubt the Xbox One’s indie Super Smash Bros, with the overall idea behind it being nothing more than dishing out more damage than any of your human or A.I. opponents and a percentage meter ruling the roost. Set in a world where warring civilisations utilise the power of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, it’s fairly basic button slamming stuff and any story will quickly get pushed into the background by the manic battles that are found within. From the menus, the mechanics and the overall feel, everything is very similar to Nintendo’s big hitter with only the visual representation setting the two apart. Rivals has seemingly embraced the retro look instead of running gleaming modern day graphics and aside from the odd occasion when everything gets a bit too hectic, works well enough.

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Currently in place are only a few options, but then we have to remember the game is nowhere near finished. When things do become more concrete though, then Rivals of Aether looks like it could have a bright future with a full solo campaign giving you the opportunity to check out a Story mode or the intriguingly titled Abyss mode. Teaching you the ropes are tutorial and practice sections which helpfully walk you through both the basics and the more advanced tactics needed for success.

There are also a couple of multiplayer options in place with some local multiplayer support for up to four players and online options for you and a friend to fight through. With ranked matches, exhibition fights and friendly exchanges ready to roll, if you could urge a friend to drop the required cash on Rivals of Aether then I’m guessing you’ll have a decent time. As it stands though, the online action is severely limited with little sign of any players. This may be down to the online matchmaking not working correctly, or that there just aren’t enough players currently interested in the elemental fighter. Whichever it is, I’d guess both will be sorted come Rivals’ full release.

Multiple fantasy characters with strange fantastical names are ready for action, with Etalus the polar bear, Zetterburn the lion and Orcane the orca all being delightful beasts who accompany the elemental idea well. With the usual basic fighting controls in place, all movement, attacks, dodges and special moves are pulled off fairly easily. I find it very strange that the jump button is assigned to the Y button though. That just feels awkward from the off and consistently puts me on the back foot. It needs a change and whether a button configuration setting will be in place by the time of full release or not, I’m not sure. But it’s an essential part for a hardcore fighter to have in place.

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Obviously you won’t find yourself dishing out damage across the same old stages each time and Rivals of Aether currently plays host to seven various stages. These take you across tree top lodges, fire filled hideouts, floating armadas and more, with multiple designs allowing for different fighting tactics to take hold.

Rivals of Aether is a full on button masher that cares little for the state of your fingers. If you like that kind of thing, then it’ll probably be an idea to keep a look out for its full release. The Xbox One Game Preview hasn’t been around an awfully long time, but in its short lifespan, it’s delivered a number of titles to the masses and Rivals of Aether is quite clearly going to benefit from its time under the Preview umbrella.

You can grab it for £11.99 right now but just be aware you may be left disappointed with the current offering. We will of course bring you a full review once the game nears its full release.

Thanks go out to Xbox for providing us with the code.

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