Ultra Deluxe 2D Arcade Mega Fighter (Game Review by Brandon Kempf)

  • Designers: Ryan Paul & William Madden
  • Artists: Vincent Patrick & Shutterstock 
  • Publisher: WizKids
  • Players: 2
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Times Played: 3

I never was very good at 2D fighting games. I was one of those annoying button mashers who just moved the joystick all around and hit every button that they could in hopes of pulling off a combo at some point and maybe, just maybe, winning a match, it rarely happened, but I usually had a good time trying and annoying my opponent. So it’s kind of needless to say that I mostly skipped over the board game versions of these classic arcade style games, until Ultra Deluxe 2D Arcade Mega Fighter landed on my doorstep. 

UD2DAMF — yeah it’s kind of annoying even when you break it down into an acronym, so we won’t — is a head to head card playing game that tries to mimic that feeling you had when playing those fighting games. Through use of cards, you are going to be able to start and continue combos that can do damage to your opponent building towards ultimate abilities, all in the hopes of knocking out their fighters before they can knock out yours. 

To start off, everyone is going to select, or draft, three fighters for their squad. One of those fighters will be the frontline fighter and the other two will be on the sidelines, but can be swapped in and out as needed and as you have the ability. Also, each player is going to be dealt five of the button cards. These button cards are what you will be playing during the game to use your actions. The button cards come in a couple different varieties, some are strictly buttons, some are cards that can block damage, and some are combinations of both, where when you play them you choose which you are going to use them for. 

Each fighter is going to have three actions that they can do, two basic attacks and one super attack. Each fighter will also have two abilities that may be ongoing, may be activated on their turn or may be activated on an opponent’s turn. Managing and remembering these abilities is pretty important if you want to be successful. 

On a player’s turn they can do three of the following actions. You can repeat actions, you do not have to do three different ones. First thing you can do is Start a Combo. Each attack on the fighter’s card has a combination of buttons that need to be played in order to complete the attack. To start a combo, you simply play two button cards to complete an attack on your frontline fighter. Secondly you can chain a combo. Using cards you have already played, you can continue on with attacks. So, if you played a B/Y combo on your first attack, and your fighter’s second attack is a Y/R, you can simply play the R, to continue the combo and use the next attack. Thirdly you can swap fighters. If you have a swap token, you can use it to swap one of your sideline fighters to the frontline. You can taunt your opponent in order to gain two super tokens. You need super tokens in order to use your super attack, and some abilities. Lastly, you can draw a card, if you want to draw another card for that action, simply spend a super token. 

Each fighter has a set amount of health points, when dealt damage, simply add damage tokens to the fighter equal to the damage done. If the fighter takes one or more damage during their opponent’s action, they may take a super token as long as they did not block any of the incoming damage. At most per turn you can gain three super tokens this way, so if your frontline fighter is attacked and the sideline fighters also take damage, you still only gain one super token. Damage can be mitigated by playing block cards, you can stop all or some of the damage if you have enough block, you simply discard the block cards used, or use one swap token in place of one block. At the end of a turn, all the cards played for combos are discarded and the player draws three more cards before play proceeds to the next player.  

Play proceeds like this with each player taking three actions per turn until they have eliminated each of their opponent’s fighters. That person is now the UD2DAMF champion. 

I am starting to understand why folks enjoy these styles of games, both in the old 2d style and other styles like Summoner Wars. There is just something fun about lining up your team against another team and seeing who finds the appropriate strategy first. You’ll be doing a lot of that with UD2DAMF. With fifteen different fighters in the box, each with different combinations of abilities and attacks. Some will work well together, and you’ll find yourself attacking with one here, swapping to another, and using the other’s attacks. With the way the combo system works here, you can keep combos going between fighters, so knowing what cards you have available and how you can best use them each and every turn is important. 

UD2DAMF definitely looks the part of the 2d fighting game. With the retro art style and the pun-y names for all of the fighters, my personal favorite being Tyranosorcerer. The abilities and attacks for each of the fighters is well thought out and fit the motif for each of them. I mean come on, the Mecha Pope has a Pray Gun as an attack. It’s fun and light-hearted with just enough strategy and depth to make you want to keep playing it and trying new combinations of fighters. I like the cardboard fighter boards, it would have been easy to just go with oversized cards, but these are nice sized cardboard. Large enough that I had zero issues reading the print on them, with my reading glasses of course. The rules were well laid out and well written, the only issues we had were with a couple of fighters and trying to figure out timing of abilities, but we just went with our best guess based on how everything else worked out, we’ll wait for the FAQ for fighters later. 

The fighters are pretty well balanced, although there are some that will work a lot better together than they will with others. That has to be typical of these types of games though, as who wants to always have the perfect combination of fighters known. That’s what you would use each and every time. If it were like that a game would just boil down to who drew the right cards at the right time. Which can sometimes happen, especially as you get down to the end of the game and you have lost one or two of your fighters. You are scratching and clawing and just hoping to pull the right cards that may save you, but the fates aren’t always kind. It’s kind of like me pounding on the buttons at the arcade or on the Playstation controller, it isn’t always gonna work out.

There is a variant for a different blocking scheme, instead of having blocking being a reactionary thing where you will have to decide whether to spend cards to stop the damage as it is happening, you have to decide ahead of time what kind of defense you are going to go into your opponent’s turn with. If you end up not using the cards dedicated to block, you discard them for more cards, super tokens or swap tokens. I’m not sure how I feel about the variant yet, but I’m definitely going to play with it a bit more as we continue to play it.  

We do plan on playing this one some more. Unlike a lot of review titles, this one had my opponents requesting that I hold on to the game so we could try it out some more with different fighter combinations. I believe that word on the street is that WizKids is releasing UD2DAMF in April. So between now and then, if you see me, just throw me a quarter and press the 2p button. I’ll happily mash some buttons with you and see if I can come up with the right combos to defeat you. 

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

I love it. 

I like it. Brandon K


Not for me…

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