A quiet corner of the Fighting games scene is blowing up thanks to the release of Your Only Move Is Hustle. Yomi Hustle, as adherents call it, is an indie that viciously strips the Fighting genre apart and puts it back together in a turn-based format that still has all the hallmarks and features you’d expect.
At its core nothing changes, this is still a game about moves and counter-moves, frame-focused interactions between distinct characters, and mastering movesets. Yomi Hustle, however, makes it turn-based with simultaneous execution. You still have to plan and choose what you want to do, but there’s no memorizing of combos because everything you execute is frame-perfect as you planned it.
The fighting game is stripped back to the rich strategies at its core. Your decisions are fundamentally strategic, about which move is best, not whether or not you can physically input a combo fast enough.
What plays out from those basics are incredibly over-the-top fights between wild characters with insane, Dragonball-Z style movesets which send enemies flying in wild arcs or pummel them into the dirt with repeated strikes. There are currently four full characters: Cowboy, Ninja, Robot, and Wizard. The game community, however, is already modding the crap out of this thing, and Steam Workshop support is planned in the future.
Yomi Hustle was inspired by the way people play tool-assisted speedruns, using outside software and hardware to achieve absurd, inhumanly perfect or otherwise unattainable scores. (See this Zelda run (opens in new tab), or this Doom one (opens in new tab), for good examples.) The trick is that you get that inhuman precision in character control all the time.
To be very frank, I haven’t wanted to play a serious fighting game against other people in years. Yomi Hustle, however, offers explosive fights that are not just incredible entertaining, but fun to watch. Lightning-fast combat plays out at an approachable pace, and every combo feels like a new, unique chain of attacks that you might have never seen before. For the first time in a while, I’m just enjoying being here and losing a lot.
It’s not just local and online multiplayer, however. The singleplayer mode is a full-on fight choreographer where you control the motions of both characters. There’s no AI to fight against, just a delightful set of tools for creating wild fight replays between two chunky stick people.
Yomi Hustle is made by a solo developer who goes by Ivy Sly, a self-described (opens in new tab) “disabled slovenly idiot” who despite that particularly negative bit of self-talk made a pretty dank videogame that lots of people seem to like and so should perhaps reassess their self-image.
You can find Your Only Move is HUSTLE on Steam for $5. You can also try an older, free version on itch.io. It has less content than the Steam release, which, to be clear, is only $5.
Anyway, here’s what a complete shutout looks like, via Twitter (opens in new tab).