Them’s Fightin’ Herds gallops out of early access

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Version 1.0 of Them’s Fightin’ Herds—an animal-themed fighting game that began life as a My Little Pony fan project—has officially released, following a couple of years in early access. It’s available from Humble Store and Steam.

The game puts a twist on the usual fighting game setup with a cast of adorable cartoon animals designed by none other than Lauren Faust, creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. But don’t be tricked into thinking this is just some silly gimmick; underneath that cuddly exterior is a deep and robust fighting game inspired by the likes of Guilty Gear and Skullgirls, with an emphasis on high mobility, mindgames, and flashy combos. (There’s even some special collaboration add-ons available to people who own Guilty Gear Xrd REV2, Blazblue Centralfiction, and/or Skullgirls Second Encore on Steam.)

Version 1.0 adds the first chapter of Them’s Fightin’ Herds’ Story Mode, which combines regular fights with platforming challenges, puzzles, minigames, overworld exploration, and a branching dialogue for conversations with NPCs. Each chapter of Story Mode will focus on one of the game’s characters, beginning with Arizona in Chapter 1.

Related reading: Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] is another fighting game that blends deep, strategic fighting with a beginner-friendly approach and charming characters. Read our review.

Developer Mane6 will continue working on Them’s Fightin’ Herds going forward, with future plans including at least one additional character, level 3 supers, console ports, and, as you’d expect, more Story Mode chapters. The last few years of early access have already seen it develop into a feature-complete multiplayer fighting game, with GGPO-enabled online play, combo trials, in-depth tutorials, and a training mode full of options to play around with in the endless search for new tech.

Them’s Fightin’ Herds began life as My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic, a fan-game based on Hasbro’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon. Development on that game had to halt due to a cease and desist, and when Mane6 wasn’t able to reach a licensing agreement with Hasbro, they reworked it into the original IP that we now know. Fighting is Magic clearly impressed Lauren Faust enough to get involved with designing the characters for Them’s Fightin’ Herds, though, so that My Little Pony spirit lives on.

If you plan to buy Them’s Fightin’ Herds, you can support Shindig by getting it from Humble Store using this affiliate link. Thank you <3

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Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.