Nidhogg preview: fencing madness

Sporting Atari 2600-style pixel graphics, Nidhogg has two players trying to cross a room. Unfortunately, players can only advance after killing the other. In development for several years, developer Messhof is finally putting the finishing touches on his one-on-one arcade fencing title. The most common way to off an opponent, of course, is to run them through with your sword and watch as they absurdly melt into a geyser of pixels. But that's just the beginning. Players can also chuck their swords like a projectile in hopes of landing a hit or go toe-to-toe with their fists until they land a takedown and break the opponent's pixelated neck. Although the game employs only two buttons, there's a surprising amount of depth. The agility of the pixelated fighters makes for surprisingly fast combat. Like Divekick, the game becomes a deadly cat-and-mouse battle. There are a number of tactics that can be employed, aside from the sword toss. Players can attempt tackles, divekicks, and even wall climbs to try and get any sort of advantage. There are also times when the player on offense will try and make a run for it, at which point the defending player can strategically scroll himself off-screen in order to respawn in front of his opponent with a fresh sword in hand. Stages themselves add just as much to the Nidhogg experience. Certain rooms have doors that can be open and shut behind an opponent to help buy time. There are other areas that feature tough platforming sequences, which adds another degree of strategy. There were several instances where I found an opponent waiting for me on the other side of a platform, just waiting to catch me as I jumped in.

Nidhogg's victory screen

Nidhogg has been winning awards since 2011 and it's good to hear that it's finally ready to release later this year on PC, according to It's nice to find a different kind of fighting game, even if I do need to sharpen up my dueling skills.