8 games like Tekken to check out
© Bandai Namco
Here are eight fighting games that will scratch the same itch.
Looking to expand your skill set outside the King of Iron Fist Tournament? Want to go head-to-head in a new world of wacky characters? You have no shortage of awesome games like Tekken to try, each offering an all-new experience of discovering and mastering the fighting system.
Whether you're a Tekken master looking for something new or just like Tekken and want something similar, here are eight fighting games that will scratch the same itch.
1: Dragon Ball FighterZ
2D fighting over 3D backgrounds: that's the order of the day with this massively successful Dragon Ball Z game, so don't expect the same kind of dynamic side-stepping martial arts of the Tekken games. Players compete in Marvel vs. Capcom style three-person team battles, switching fighters in and out. Expect a lot of airtime, flying, hovering, and projectile attacks, as every character gets these mechanics baked into their style.
While FighterZ has a deep competitive scene, just like Tekken, it's even better if you like fighting games as a casual activity for friends. The combat is flashy and exciting, and it takes very little time to pick up the basics while still offering complexity to serious players. The story is great, too, telling an original plot with a new Toriyama-designed villain alongside the main cast.
Platforms: PS4 ($17.99), Switch ($49.00), Xbox One ($24.99), PC ($19.99)
2: BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend
BlazBlue's biggest similarity to Tekken is its cast of memorable characters and ongoing story. From 10-foot-tall red-skinned androids to squirrel girls, BlazBlue's memorable fighters have lifted up developer Arc System Works into the big leagues next to names like Bandai Namco.
So what's BlazBlue? It's a 2D fighting game series known for very fast combat, incredibly detailed animation, multiple power meters, and a heavy reliance on supermoves. The similarities come from its growing competitive scene. You'll face plenty of opponents online and different thresholds of skill. You'll also be well rewarded for focusing on one or two characters's movesets.
The other selling point of BlazBlue is its focus on a serious, ongoing, complicated story, a definite similarity to Tekken. In short, there's a tournament where the winner gets to change history, and lots of different characters want to earn the right to use that power.
Platforms: PS4 ($69.99), PS3 ($20) Xbox One ($69.99), PC ($29.99) - Some prices lower with UK edition
3: Soul Calibur VI
Soul Calibur often stands side by side with Tekken in "Which game should I buy?" conversations. Apart from a regularly shared character (Yoshimitsu), one of the biggest similarities to Tekken is Soul Calibur's character customization. But Soul Calibur takes it up a notch. Hop online and you can play against characters designed to look like anyone from Mr. Krabs to Gordon Ramsay.
As with Tekken, fights are short and highly kinetic, with a lot of emphasis on movement and positioning. Unlike Tekken, though, Soul Calibur has ring-outs, and every character has a weapon. You'll need to be prepared to study the maps so you don't get whacked over the edge to your doom.
The weapon-based combat has its own feel compared to the snappy punches and kicks of Tekken, but there's a lot to unpack as you grow more familiar with the mechanics as well as which characters need to be hard-countered.
Platforms: PS4 ($19.47), Xbox One ($15.99), PC ($59.99)
4: Virtua Fighter 5
Virtua Fighter stands out for its more realistic aesthetic. Instead of kickboxing kangaroos and river-dancing robots, each fighter is just a different human character with a distinct personality. There's also more emphasis on combos and grapples and less emphasis on projectile attacks or turnaround mechanics like rage.
Virtua Fighter plays a lot like the older Tekken games, just with more complexity in the movesets. It's common for Virtua Fighter players to have completely different strategies, even while playing the same character, so there's a lot to explore and discover even through a relatively smaller set of fighters.
Like Tekken, Virtua Fighter can be a little tough to get used to as a beginner, but it's one of the most rewarding and tight games in terms of control. Precise inputs, hitboxes, and counter-plays turn a head-to-head match into a real martial arts spar against your opponent.
Platforms: PS3 ($40.91), Xbox 360 ($17.99)
5: Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2
Alongside BlazBlue, Guilty Gear is a well-known anime-style 2D fighting game. The difference is that while BlazBlue is 2D characters on 3D backgrounds, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 takes the Dragon Ball FighterZ approach with cell-shaded 3D characters. The advantage of this choice comes out during dynamic camera moments in special moves — something that wouldn't be possible with flat 2D sprites.
The main difference between Guilty Gear and BlazBlue (and what makes Guilty Gear a bit closer to Tekken) is the learning curve. You can pick up BlazBlue with only some bare-minimum knowledge and beat the story mode at lower difficulties, but then the game rapidly demands more investment against harder difficulties or human opponents. Tekken, meanwhile, takes some work to get competent at a beginner level, but it opens up and allows you to develop your skills quickly.
Guilty Gear is somewhere in the middle. You'll take less time to get decent than in Tekken, and you won't hit as hard of a "git gud" wall as you would with BlazBlue. Best of both worlds.
Platforms: PS4 ($20.99), PC ($29.99)
M.U.G.E.N is a 2D PC fighting game supported by modders. Nearly every aspect of the game can be customized, especially the character roster. Ever wanted to see Goku vs. Devil Jin or a buffed Homer Simpson versus four different versions of Ganryu? If you can think it, you can play it. Most versions of the fighting system are fairly simple and can be played more or less like Tekken, depending on your preference.
You will have to do a little homework to learn how this system works. But in exchange for your patience, you basically get to create your own Marvel vs. Capcom-style crossover roster and set up fights between any characters imaginable. Naturally, that also means you can play as any Tekken character you want, even the really out-there ones, like Alex and Dr. Bosconovitch.
Platforms: PC (Free)
7: Gundam Versus
Gundam Versus puts the spirit of Tekken into a completely different subgenre of fighting games. Gundam Versus is a third-person mech battle game focused on dynamic movement. Gameplay-wise, it may be a bit of a leap from the norm, but if you enjoy Tekken's well-populated online scene, you'll have plenty to like with this game, as well.
Set in the massive universe of one of the biggest anime properties of all time, Gundam Versus involves teams of two giant robots fighting with glowing swords, missile launchers, and machine guns. Gundam fans can play as 90 different mechs from 17 different entries in the series.
Platforms: PS4 ($46.98)
8: Street Fighter 5
Capcom's flagship tournament fighter, the Street Fighter series is essential to any true fan of games like Tekken. Compared to Tekken, Street Fighter 5 is no less technically complex, balanced, and demanding in terms of both strategy and twitch reflexes at top-level play.
Just like the Iron Fist series, Street Fighter 5 is super fun to watch and very easy to pick up as a beginner. Some would say it's even easier than Tekken. It also offers a balanced art style that many find appealing, as it's not fully photorealistic like Tekken but not cartoony either. Finally, for those who really gel with its gameplay, it boasts an incredibly diverse and exciting tournament scene.
Platforms: PS4 ($29.99), PC ($19.99)
If your iron fist can't be quenched with just the Tekken series, these games are the cure. Give one or two a try and you'll be punishing over-extensions and air-juggling noobs in no time.