That's where Nidhogg comes in.
The low-tech aesthetic, while bordering on cliche at this point, really works in the games favor. The game can play on crappy computers and still run smoothly. And hoo boy, does it run smoothly. A game like this simply will not work without being able to run smooth as silk coated in butter. The name of the game is quick reactions, and that only works when your computer doesn't have to stop and think all the damn time.
The basic controls are as follows:
- Jump button
- Stab button
- Buttons to run back and forth
- Up and down change the level of the sword between three heights to block various attacks
- If you hold down, you duck
- If you hold up, you hoist the sword above your head
- If you run and duck, you roll
- If you run and tap down, you do a sweet somersault
- If you hold up and press stab, you throw the sword
- If you jump and stab, you kick down
- If you knock the other player over, you can break their neck by attacking over them
It's fast. Really fast. The game doesn't stop and at times feels almost out of control. You find yourself mashing buttons so quickly you think you'll break your keyboard. So you stop for a bit, but then you go back because damn it, you just have to play more Nidhogg. The sounds are great, the soundtrack is great, all of it just works. But it's not without drawbacks. It only has four maps, there's not much variety after you've gotten past learning the controls. And at times, it can feel like the computer is switching stances way quicker and more accurately than you ever could. But joke's on him, because you just stabbed him in the face eleven times and got eaten by a God-Worm.
To say the game is fun doesn't quite do it justice. If it's the sort of thing you're into, you'll play hours upon hours of it. The online matchmaking on PC doesn't always work, but the upcoming PS4 release should take care of some of those problems. You can also play with a friend by sharing a keyboard or hooking up some controllers. And then you will vanquish that friend and be eaten by the Nidhogg.
Personally, I give this game an 8/10, but that's just me. This is, above all, kind of a niche game. It's got the complexity of a flash game, and it's very casual. But if you're not careful, you'll lose hours in it.