7 Fighting Games That Even Casual Players Can Pick Up

Justin Carreiro
Games PlayStation
Games PlayStation Xbox Nintendo PC Gaming

Fighting games can be a tough genre to get the hang of, even for the most advanced gamers. Nailing combo moves, learning fighting techniques, and competing against skilled players can make a fight even more challenging. But, that doesn’t mean new or casual players can’t just jump right in either. Some fighters make it easy for players to pick up the controller and let out their inner champion with minimal practice and quick-to-learn controls. Here are seven fighting games that even the most casual of players can enjoy with ease.

Street Fighter II Turbo

Player loading screen selecting Ryu on Street Fighter II Turbo.
Ryu looks ready to fight.

If there was one video game to play to learn the core basics of fighting games, it would be Street Fighter II Turbo. While it may look retro by today’s standards, the game still holds up with its traditional arcade style and 2D fighting moves. Each of the characters has easy-to-use controls and a basic moves list to get a feel for the fighters’ attacks. Beyond most characters having one special attack, the moves are kept minimal, so casual players can quickly learn which buttons are meant to kick, punch or move.

The game also has a few mini-games in between matches to break up the fighting. They’re pretty fun, especially if you enjoy the thrill of punching a car as Ryu. (Who are we kidding? Of course, you will!)

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Captain Falcon battling Mewto in Pokemon Stadium in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
When in doubt: "Falcon Punch!"

Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube is a fun and campy fighting game that works for players of any age. This is by no means a serious video game featuring traditional martial arts fighters; instead, you have characters like Super Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, and Pikachu having a battle on top of a giant floating turtle. (Seriously.) And, when you consider the large arsenal of in-fight weapons available to use and the many explosions of lights, you end up with a colorful fight that’s so much fun to play.

For casual players less accustomed to fighting game moves and combos, the controls in Melee are easy to pick up after the first match. Characters are limited only to button-specific special moves and melee attacks, so players can quickly become accustomed to their favorite fighters. Simply jump into a four-way match and try out one of the four unique attacks to learn.

Virtua Fighter 5

Rai and Akira fighting in Virtua Fighter 5.
Fighting + outfit combos? Yes, please.

Virtua Fighter 5 is a 3D fighting game that focuses solely on traditional fighting techniques. There are no special powers, magic projectiles, or match gimmicks to confuse players and make the round more complicated than it has to be. Two fighters competing against each other in the arena is the extent of the game’s premise and if a player wants to go deeper into game modes, there’s a quest mode and the ability to customize outfits.

Casual players can quickly learn the move sets since fighters rely heavily on melee attacks and they don’t require complex combos. Once you get the hang of the punch and kick buttons, your opponent won’t stand a chance.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo

Match between Morrigan and Devilot in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo.
Before 'Candy Crush' made us obsess over matching colors.

Sometimes a fighting game isn’t a fighter in the conventional sense. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo utilizes a puzzle-solving structure in a Tetris-like board to make attacks instead of hitting melees. Players place gems on their board to strategically clear off the pieces so that it doesn’t reach the top. And, when you clear out gems, your points rise and it triggers attacks to fill up your competitor’s board.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo is an addictive and easy game to play, especially if you’re someone who knows more about puzzles than fighting games. All you have to do is match colors and use your knowledge of Tetris to win. No memorizing combos required.

Pokkén Tournament

Lucario battling another player in Pokken Tournament.
Lucario for the win.

For those who love Pokémon, Pokkén Tournament lets players experience fights as the Pokémon themselves. The game is all about action and firepower utilizing the Pokémon’s light and heavy attacks to deliver damage. While the fast gameplay and attack graphics might seem overwhelming at first to casual players, it is surprisingly easy to use.

Pokkén Tournament’s core fighting supports quick button controls to land hits without having to delve into combos. And, when you’re ready to tackle combos, you can build on the light and heavy attacks you’ve learned to create more complex moves. Plus, Pokkén favors distance and blocking in its match, so you don’t feel rushed to jump in.

Power Stone

Player loading screen selecting Edward Falcon in Power Stone.
Collect three stones to access the power.

Power Stone is a game defined by its arenas. Whereas most fighting games keep it simple with minimal to no background influences, Power Stone includes settings that the players can fully interact with during battle. You can collect items, throw furniture, or push your opponent into background elements, like fire or fans, for damage. Everything is on the table in this game, so it’s easy to move around and make spontaneous moves.

Players of any skill level, especially casual players, have the freedom to define their match style for how they could win. Go in for quick melee attacks, use the arena, and/or run around until the stones appear? These are all viable winning strategies.

Mortal Kombat (2011)

Kung Lao jump-kicking over Cyrax in Mortal Kombat (2011).
This is a reboot you'll want to stand behind.

A fighting game’s story is just as important as the playability itself. If the plot is too complex or already too far in its chapters, new and casual players might not feel invested to start halfway in. Mortal Kombat (2011) takes players back to the beginning to reintroduce its story, with the format and updated graphics from the previous generation of consoles to make it look timely.

For any player jumping in, there’s no need to research the former timeline since the story reset and you can start with fresh eyes. Except, of course, if you’re hooked and want to learn more. (And you’ll definitely be hooked with Mortal Kombat’s story because it’s just that cool.)

Justin Carreiro
Geeky writer working in Content and Journalism. Loves reality TV, Harry Potter, gaming, horror movies, and so much more.
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