The best fighting games have the potential to turn even the most gentle pacifists into bloodthirsty warriors, eager for another round of mano-a-mano combat. Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like a good versus brawler, and there are plenty of them on mobile. Here’s our top 10…
10. Street Fighter IV Champion Edition
Capcom hasn’t gotten around to bringing Street Fighter V to mobile yet, but at least we’ve got a decent version of its predecessor to satisfy our need for Dragon Punches and Sonic Booms. Admittedly, Street Fighter IV Champion Edition was ropey at launch, bogged down by control issues and online multiplayer woes, but the developer has since ironed out many of its biggest problems with patches.
It may be imperfect, especially if you don’t have an MFi controller at your disposal, but Street Fighter IV Champion Edition is a fully-fledged versus brawler in the palm of your hand nevertheless.
9. Injustice 2
Publisher: Warner Bros
Injustice 2 achieved everything it set out to do when it arrived on iOS and Android devices, namely scale down a popular superhero brawler for home consoles into a polished, mobile-friendly package. The sophisticated combos which serve as its bigger sibling’s bread and butter make way for simple taps and screen swipes, though the depth isn’t sacrificed.
Warner Bros didn’t quite pull off a flawless victory here. While the graphics are impressive, combat is at times formulaic and the microtransactions will no doubt put some players off, but any game where you can clobber Harley Quinn with Wonder Woman and punch Green Lantern in the face as Batman is worth playing at least once.
8. WWE Immortals
Publisher: Warner Bros
Don’t let the branding fool you. This is no mere wrestling game. WWE Immortals is a mash-up of American wrestling and Mortal Kombat which thrusts the ring’s biggest stars into the thick of a fantasy storyline. It’s a side-on versus brawler and the action mostly comes down to frantic screen taps and swipes, but that’s fine if you want to blow off some steam and take in an entertaining narrative while you’re at it.
7. King of Fighters ’98
If you want to kick it old school with a classic arcade brawler, look no further than King of Fighters ’98. The SNK series once fought tooth and nail with Street Fighter for genre dominance and the debate over which franchise was superior still rages on. One thing is certain though, King of Fighters ’98 plays just as well as Street Fighter II today.
6. Real Boxing 2 Rocky
Publisher: Vivid Games
Who would have thought we’d see a licensed Rocky game more than a decade after the mainline movie series ended? Real Boxing 2 Rocky is a game nobody really asked for, but it’s surprisingly good nonetheless.
The touchscreen controls are tight inside the ring and there’s plenty to keep you busy outside of it, from mini-games to character customisation. There’s also the chance to square off against Rocky legends such as Ivan Drago, Clubber Lang and Apollo Creed, not to mention the opportunity to take control of the Italian Stallion himself.
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Some Tekken fans felt its mobile iteration was watered-down, and while it’s true that the gameplay has been streamlined, what Bandai Namco has come up with is a good fit for phones and tablets. Tekken condenses combat to make it a good fit for touchscreen devices, though much of the game revolves around collecting cards to use in battles.
The game is based on a similar formula to Injustice, and what it lacks in depth, it will make up for in nostalgia when you’re being reacquainted with series legends such as Paul, Nina, Kazuya and Panda.
4. EA Sports UFC
Publisher: EA Sports
When Electronic Arts ported EA Sports UFC to mobile devices, it replaced the sophisticated control scheme with a minimalism tappy, swipey interface, but it does the job. What it lacks in substance, it makes up for in authenticity as this is a fully-licensed product, complete with a roster of 70 real-life MMA stars. If you prefer brutal sports to superheroes and street fights, this is the brawler for you.
3. Shadow Fight 3
With its gorgeous, console-quality graphics, Nekki’s threequel Shadow Fight 3 has the look and feel of a triple-A versus brawler. The freemium business model will put some players off, but others will stick around for the story and role-playing components, even if that means grinding away to avoid investing any actual money into the game.
2. Marvel Contest Of Champions
Kabam’s Marvel Contest Of Champions is another superhero brawler that makes all of the right cutbacks to optimise it for mobile. It’s a more upbeat and faster-paced experience than Injustice 2, and the character roster reads like a who’s who of the Marvel Universe.
The game is instantly playable and boasts console-quality visuals, which isn’t to say it’s capable of competing with the high-end brawlers found on the PS4 and Xbox One. Nevertheless, you won’t find many better versus fighters on the app stores, especially if superheroes are your thing.
Publisher: Autumn Games
Autumn Games did a fantastic job porting Skullgirls from home consoles to mobile, sacrificing none of its stunning artwork and animation in transit. Packed with personality, this cartoon brawler is fast-paced and fluid and includes RPG elements for added substance. What’s more, the game works perfectly on touchscreen hardware.