About this project
ADD-ONS: To purchase additional copies of the game, just pledge an extra $10 per copy above your reward level. We'll collect info about your order after the campaign is done.
Pocket Rumble takes inspiration from the legacy of 2D fighters that precede it, especially the SNK fighters for the Neo Geo Pocket. Our goal, however, is to reduce the level of execution and memorization to the minimum necessary to retain all the core 2D fighter mechanics and gameplay elements.
This creates a level playing field for experienced players to focus on strategy and reading their opponents, and simultaneously opens up the genre to new players who may have found other similar games overwhelming. Genre veterans will be able to pick up and play without having to study move lists, and inexperienced players will be learning the strategic fundamentals of 2D fighters at a faster pace.
This accessibility is achieved mainly through streamlining controls and movesets. Pocket Rumble features the standard movement controls you expect in a 2D fighter, but has only two attack buttons, light and heavy. Each character has a small, focused set of essential normal attacks tailored to best suit their overall playstyle.
Each character has only four special moves, and special moves can be performed without any complex joystick motions. Special moves are performed by pressing either down+forward or down+back and a button, and holding it in for a short number of frames. In practice it's more like a hard press vs. a "tap". This replicates the time spent performing quarter circles, etc. in other games using only a single input, but allows players to still perform a normal move if they just tap the button instead. This also means that any time you pick up a new character, you already know the inputs for all of their specials, because they're completely universal.
Inputs can also be buffered anytime your character is in the middle of an animation, and the move will come out on the first available frame, removing the strict timing requirements from link combos and reversals. It even works with the double-tap inputs for dashing, running, etc.
Pocket Rumble will feature 8 playable characters at launch. Each character has different movement options, and gains and uses meter in completely unique ways. In general, characters are designed to play almost as if they come from different games. Honing and balancing this diversity in the game's cast is one of our core focuses.
Tenchi is Pocket Rumble's shoto, armed with a fireball and powerful antiair specials. He gains meter by doing specials, regardless of whether they connect, and uses it to perform a superpowered version of his fireball or a counter that cancels out of blockstun. He can dash forward and backward.
Naomi is a relentless rushdown character, with great reversals and a fast moving rush punch. She gains meter by charging up, in the style of old KOF games or DBZ: Budokai, and uses it to perform fearsome combination techniques that fuse elements of her specials. She has a backdash, a forward run, and a long-distance "hype hop."
Keiko's special moves issue commands to her demonic cat Q, in the style of JJBA or P4A. Using her cat depletes a bar which refills automatically over time. She can perform powerful, flashy air combos and can even air dash, but has no dash on the ground.
Quinn is an acrobatic character who can leap to the sides of the screen and divebomb his opponents, or harass them with his rekka. He gains meter for any attack that connects with the opponent, block or hit, and uses it to transform into his werewolf form. In werewolf form he gains super speed and an improved moveset across the board, and the transformation itself can also be used to cancel an attack's recovery and extend combos. In human form he can dash forward and backward, and in werewolf form he can run.
June is Pocket Rumble's most powerful zoner. With ghostly limbs that can reach across the screen and an array of projectiles, she can pester her opponents from a safe distance. She gains meter by collecting soul gems knocked out of her opponents, and can use it to enter a high-mobility mode that allows her to fly and lay down traps. She is the only character who can teleport across the stage.
Hector keeps opponents at bay with the long reach of his katana. He gains meter anytime his opponent blocks his attacks, and at full meter can perform an unblockable guard crush that stuns the opponent and opens them up for a high-damage combo. He is a slow character with no special movement options.
Agent Parker is a defensive character who turns his oppenents' momentum against them. He gains meter for successful dodges and counter hits, and can use that meter to perform an unbeatable reversal that staggers opponents and opens them up for a combo. He has an invulnerable dodge roll, but it can be interrupted by throws.
Subject 11 is a grappler who uses their psychokinetic powers to toss their enemies around like ragdolls. They have high-damage command grabs and can armor through opponents attacks. They gain meter by absorbing opponents' attacks, and can use that meter to increase the strength of their command throw. They are a slow character with no special movement options.
Matches are one-on-one, but players will choose a second backup character at the selection screen. At the start of a match, players can see their opponent's primary and backup characters, and have a double-blind opportunity to switch to their backup character by holding down a button before the round starts. In subsequent rounds, only the player who lost the preceding round will have the opportunity to switch. This brings some elements of tournament-style metagame into a simple 3-round match.
Every match you play records statistics about your playstyle and how you respond to certain situations which together build an AI that plays like you. Whenever you face another player online in ranked matches, you automatically download their ghost for that character, so you can practice against the AIs of players who gave you a hard time and maybe learn something about their tendencies or your own.
Players can opt for double-blind character select even offline, with invisible cursors that can be turned on for competitive matches.
Every move's frame data is available in the in-game move list, and there's even a frame data bar onscreen to help you learn. Even for experienced players, it's great help for timing meaty attacks, etc.
Morgana is Pocket Rumble's first DLC character. She is a magician with special moves based on the fours suits of playing cards. Each special move can be powered up from its base Jack form all the way to an Ace through repeated use. Using an Ace move resets it back to Jack, or she can save up four Aces to unleash her hidden power! More DLC characters will be revealed once Morgana is unlocked. All DLC characters will be free to download, so if we reach all of our goals, the game's cast will double over time without you paying an extra cent.
Story Mode: If we reach this goal, in addition to the standard arcade mode, Pocket Rumble will have a fully fleshed-out, cinematic story mode with tons of unique environments, character animations, minigames, and other content. Players will work their way through every character in the cast, similar to Mortal Kombat 9, and explore the full story of the Pocket Rumble universe. Each character will face standard matches, special conditions, and in-engine minigames to hone players' skills.
Geiger: Along with the Mac and Linux ports comes a special DLC character, Geiger, from Sirlin Games' Fantasy Strike universe. He's a charge-style character who can use meter to rewind time for both offensive and defensive purposes.
Remix Album: An album of tracks remixed from Pocket Rumble's original soundtrack (an example of which is embedded above), featuring some artists you know and love, will be available alongside the soundtrack for all backers in the $15 tier or above!
- Smooth McGroove, Youtube a capella master
- Eirik Suhrke, composer of the Spelunky, Super Crate Box, and Ridiculous Fishing soundtracks
- Sabrepulse, UK chiptune legend
- Patrice Bourgeault, composer of the Mercenary Kings soundtrack
- Inverse Phase, best known for his 8-bit NIN remix album Pretty Eight Machine
- Aivi and Surasshu, amazing piano/chiptune duo, composers of the Stephen Universe soundtrack
- cTrix, Australian chiptune wizard who works wonders with old school computers
- Slime Girls, summery, chiptune-infused melodic punk rock
- Arcade High, classic, pounding 80s synths with a touch of 8-bit
Here's a sample of the backer-exclusive t-shirt featuring Tenchi in his fully awakened state (you'll have to play the game to learn more about that!). Check out the reward tiers to see what else is available to backers.
The basic single-player mode in Pocket Rumble, like most fighting games, is Arcade Mode, and it works pretty much like you'd expect it to. Players pick a character and face off against the rest of the cast in succesion, culminating in a final boss. By completing certain hidden conditions in this mode, players can unearth various secrets and additional bosses.
In addition to local versus play, Pocket Rumble features GGPO for seamless netplay. The meat of the online experience is Ranked mode, which will feature both global Elo rankings and individual leaderboards for each character. Then there's The Lab, where players face a variety of crazy gameplay modes and match conditions. Think of it as the "items on" version of Pocket Rumble.
Another single player mode is Career Mode, where the player takes part in fictional fighting game tournaments around the globe, playing against AIs based on some of Pocket Rumble's top players from the beta, and eventually facing off against AIs from some familiar faces in the FGC!
Lesson Mode in Pocket Rumble features a robust set of in-depth tutorials that start from the very basics to teach new players the ins and outs not only of Pocket Rumble, but of 2D fighters as a genre, and individual character tutorials that do more than just run down a list of moves, but actually teach you how to use their properties to your advantage. With Pocket Rumble we hope to provide every piece of information you could ever need to go from a complete fighting game beginner to a high-level competitor available within the game itself, so no one one has to reference a wiki or a Youtube tutorial just to figure out the basic tools of their character.
Training Mode comes with all the features players expect from a modern fighting game, including dummy recording and various CPU behavior settings. You can even turn on hitboxes or slow the game's framerate.
Pocket Rumble is packed full of unlockables, including character colors, game modes/match types, minigames, easter eggs, and more! And all of them can be earned either in single player or through playing multiplayer matches.
What single player does exclusively feature is a slew of secret bosses accessible by completing certain secret conditions in arcade mode. There will be backer-designed secret bosses accessible to every character, and each character also has their own secret crossover rival, pulled from another awesome indie game! These crossover characters include:
Kick from Divekick
Fencer from Nidhogg
Dust from Dust: An Elysian Tail
The Kid from I Wanna Be the Guy
Candyman from Lethal League
Joy from Joylancer
Wryn from Bleed
Ace from Aces Wild
Pocket Rumble also has full mod support! You can create your own characters, modify existing ones, change the rules of gameplay, or even turn it into a completely different game, and still play online with your friends via GGPO as long as they have the mod installed too. We'll post tutorials on how to make simple modifications to the game for any aspiring modders interested in altering the game's systems or creating their own roster of fighters.
The game logic is written in Lua, so creating mods is a pretty simple process if you are familiar at all with coding. We'd love to get Steam Workshop support for these mods, and will do what we can to make that possible, but we can't promise it yet.
Finally, we're excited to announce that there will be an actual Neo Geo Pocket Color port of Pocket Rumble by veteran homebrewer Thor!
The ROM will be free for anyone to download and play using an emulator or a flash cart. It will probably only have arcade mode, and a lot of things about the game will have to be altered to accommodate the system's limitations, but we think it'll be really fun to see our game running on one of our favorite systems, alongside the games that inspired so much about it.
"I like the simple style and focus on ease of execution that Cardboard Robot is going for. We could use more of that in fighting games. And I hope Geiger turns out great!"
" Pocket Rumble is an impressive compilation of accessibility and optimization; the combination of a toggle-able hitbox viewer, a frames bar to show every move's frame counts in real time and all moves performed without complex inputs makes this one of the fastest to learn fighting games on the market without sacrificing complexity. Aside from innovations, the game was fully functional and showed a clear base in fighting game fundamentals. At a glance, I was very satisfied with Pocket Rumble pre-alpha, and hope development continues in the same vein."
" Pocket Rumble is a fun game with a lot of variety, but what I love most is how anyone can pick it up and have fun regardless of their skill. I've thought a lot about using Pocket Rumble to teach people the fundamentals of fighting games. Its controls themselves are a gem."
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk is that the game will take longer to complete than we estimate. But we're dedicated to working full time on the game, and we believe we're capable of staying on schedule. If we're down to the wire for the finishing touches we can always cut down on sleep, and if it becomes necessary to delay the game we can live on ramen to make the budget last. We're young and pretty used to all of that.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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