By , on May 8, 2012

Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Responsive controls scale from casual to high-level play.
  • Multiple game modes to test your skill; tonnes of unlockables to earn.
  • Online play for ranked random match-ups or battles with friends.


  • Backgrounds still static 2D. No iPad compatible executable; universal or specific.
  • Learning resources lacking; barely interactive tutorial and complex combo challenges.


The King of Fighters-i 2012 is a must have for those who do not own the first release though less of a necessity if you already have KOF-i; even still, it's worth grabbing for the online competitive play and significant roster increase.

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When The King of Fighters-i first found its way on to the App Store and managed to rival its the Street Fighter titles, it was all I could do to contain my joy. Once again, developers had managed to defy conventions and turn a game that requires insanely precise controls in to something not only playable, but also competitive.

The King of Fighters-i 2012 keeps the ball rolling and in much the same way that Volt did for Street Fighter IV. More to the point, those expecting a change-up in mechanics, better visuals or anything you'd normal expect of a sequel, think again - this release is all about the multiplayer and with 12 more characters rounding out the total to 32, it's an International rumble of epic proportions.

Despite the potential for abuse of the 'easy' special move button, the deeper mechanics, including the huge combo attacks available to players through move canceling means there's a high skill cap for those who seek it. This is aided by the game's silky framerate and responsive controls that mirror Capcom's Street Fighter setup (punch, kick, and 'special' buttons, with super specials activating via bar / portrait taps). It's by no means an arcade stick, but you don't feel as though you're fighting for control either.

While there's a slew of single-player modes, including team fights, one-on-one battles, survival modes and challenges to overcome, the real spirit of KOF lies in its competitive online scene. Players can connect to servers via Wifi to compete against opponents in their region (it seems full international play is spotty or not completely rolled out at this time), having the option to accept or decline the random match-ups. Direct bouts with friends are also available and community forums are positively buzzing with people looking for regular opponents.

But like any rose, there are a few thorns, not the least of which is the aforementioned learning curve for those looking to go beyond simply spamming the buttons hoping for victory. On the artistic front, the game still looks relatively stunning, but its rendered down sprites and static backgrounds have not improved, nor is there a Universal or iPad specific executable, making it blurry on larger iDevices.

Ultimately these are nit-picks of an otherwise exciting fighting game for the iOS. If you do not yet own the game, this is a must have if you love your competitive brawling; if you're upgrading from the original, there's less incentive, but it's still a good investment for the online play.


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