Rumble Fish 2 review: A game that fights itself with flaws galore

Dimps /

Title: Rumble Fish 2
Developer: 3Goo
Publisher: Dimps Corporation
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed on), PS4/5, Xbox Series
Release Date: December 8, 2022

The Rumble Fish 2 is a 2005 arcade game that has received a console port for the first time from 3Goo and Dimps Corporation. It’s a throwback to the style you’d see in Street Fighter 2 and was basically a retro title when it was released. There are some interesting details in the game, but unfortunately they stop at minor visual nuances while the gameplay remains extremely mundane.

I was a big fan of Street Fighter 2 as a kid and then Marvel vs. Capcom as I got older, so I was interested to see how the Rumble Fish 2 would hold up releasing out of Japan for the first time. The story is a fighting game basic: 13 fighters from across the world come together to fight in a tournament to see who is the best. The name of the tournament, Fight For Survival (FFS), had me uttering another phrase with the same acronym unfortunately through my entire playthrough.

The character design does admittedly have a wide range of variety. Each of the game’s 13 characters are completely different with their own special moves and/or stances. I ended up using Mito the most, as her sword stood out to me on the select screen. She was an easy character to pick up and use as the sword allowed her to play “keep away” with defensive jabs. Mito could also bum rush characters with rapid strikes on the offensive. Each of the characters had a similar setup, and the wide variety was appreciated.

Combat was extremely clunky regardless of character. For a fighting game, there is little that can be done with actual bad fighting as that is the entire premise of the game. Unfortunately, The Rumble Fish 2 suffers from such poor optimization and clunky combat that it ends up being dead in the water. I tried multiple characters but still ended up with the same result. Strikes would miss entirely but end up registering as a hit. Others would slice right through my enemy and would not register, so combos ended up being impossible to perform as a result.

Rumble Fish 2 review: A game that fights itself with flaws galore
Dimps /

There are forward and backward dash moves that help augment offense and defense. The offense does a tad bit more damage and knockback, while the defense allows you an extra second to counter. What’s confusing in the game is the assigned dodge button. The confusing part is that it only works half of the time and it is how the game intended it to be. Now, if I’m going to dodge, it should be a dodge. Rumble Fish 2 goes halfway with it. Dodging in the game only gets you out of the way of high attacks. Low attacks still hit. This made no sense while playing and even less when you see it visually on screen. Seeing my character take damage for a move I clearly “dodged” only augmented my frustration. These issues along with the clunky and delayed combat completely took the focus away of some minor details that should have gotten more attention. Remember, this game is from 2005. As a result, the inclusion of damage to the characters’ clothing as the battle went was noteworthy. However, this lasted about 2 seconds as the input delays and hitbox issues drowned it out.

Power move bars have become more and more routine in fighting games. Landing blows fills a meter allowing you to unleash a “super attack”. There are offense and defensive moves in Rumble Fish 2, and neither truly do anything special. The offensive one is easy, as you simply hit strong punch and kick together to throw out a heavy attack. The issue is that it is so incredibly slow that they rarely land. Defensively the move functions as an extended reverse dash allowing slightly more time for an attack. I even had a hard time landing my super offensive move when utilizing it directly after my defensive move for more time. Even with instant timing I found an approximate 50% land rate – that’s not acceptable.

Rumble Fish 2 review: A game that fights itself with flaws galore
Dimps /

Three different game modes are in Rumble Fish 2: Arcade, Time Trial and Survival. The former sees an extremely brief “story” mode ending up with a final boss that I swear was meant as a sarcastic burn to players. As noted, the game’s input delay and hit boxes are very, very bad. This makes filling up the special meters take way too long. The last boss in the game begins with fully loaded offense and defense bars, which she uses consecutively to wipe the floor with you. Time Trial is exactly that, how fast can you beat the game? Survival is simply beat as many enemies as you can until you die.

Not only are the game mechanics so poorly implemented, but there is no explanation on how to use them if they even were utilized properly. I played through The Rumble Fish 2 with several different characters, and there simply wasn’t anything redeeming about it. So many flaws and input delays barely made the game playable. It’s a shame too because it would be ok if these were minor issues, but they are so prominent that they impact every avenue of the game. As of now, I’d stay away from The Rumble Fish 2.

The Rumble Fish 2 (Nintendo Switch)  Score: 3/10

The retro vibe and  attempt at nostalgia can’t save The Rumble Fish 2 from itself. Poor design, hit boxes, input delay and lack of direction see it suffer a K.O. by its own hand. 

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.