Developed and self published by Mattrified Games, Battle High 2 A+ is a fighting game in which players control students from a school known as San Bruno. It isn’t an ordinary school however since the students you play as have power over different elements and ‘manifest them as well.’ There, a dangerous gang known as “The Rivals” resides. Made up of the most popular and dangerous students, they rule the school, under the radar of the faculty, striking fear into others. Some strive to stop their reign of intimidation while others just try to survive.
Going into Battle High the first thing I realised is the similarities to Street Fighter, especially the older games. Some characters have slight similarities you can see in the character designs but it’s mostly the visuals and gameplay itself that will remind you of it. There are 4 different game modes for players to choose from on the game: Arcade, Versus, Challenges and Training. Arcade is the story mode of the game where you play through each character’s story and find out back-stories to them. Training is self explanatory, you go into an environment against a dummy AI where you can practice combos and using different characters. Challenges allows you to go into a mode which will give you different combos to pull off which are displayed on screen so this is good for practising with characters. Finally, you have Versus; it is a PvP mode for the game so you and a friend can face each other. Sadly the game is local only so you’ll need someone with you and a second controller if you aren’t wanting to face the AI.
There is a good variety of characters in the game (14 in total) each with their own styles. Some characters may share similar abilities but another special attack may be different, for example there are two characters which perform a small AOE/Barricade attack which blocks moves but their second special attacks are completely different with one being close-range and the other being ranged. Each character also has a different Super attack which can deal massive damage to the opponent and can help to keep combos going, the majority of Super attacks I could pull off were close range so they can be pretty tough to pull off quick if you don’t know the button combo for that character well. Also, there is a difficulty setting for the AI on the options, it may just be me but I didn’t really notice a difference in the way the characters behaved. The AI can spam quite a bit sometimes as well such as a ranged attack getting used 4-5 times in a row and although it does a good job keeping you from rushing in it does get a bit annoying with other characters with defensive specials.
The visuals in the game are (as mentioned earlier) very similar to Street Fighter II. The visuals on the characters are very reminiscent of the old days of fighting games and as also mentioned earlier some of the characters have some resemblances to characters from Street Fighter, be it in their attacks or their design. Possible inspiration taken from them? Either way it was pretty cool being able to play or see a certain character and be like: ‘Hey! That move is similar to … cool!’ but at the same time it left me with the feeling of wanting to pick up an actual classic fighting game and blast through it. Don’t get me wrong the game does a good job capturing the feel of an older fighting game but for people which have played them especially those that might get a bit nostalgic it can leave you wishing you was on that instead. The only real issue I have with the visuals is the levels themselves (which there is a decent variety of which take place around the school I might add) doesn’t fit the graphical design of the characters. The characters are classical 2D visuals but then you get the levels being designed all in 3D with smooth textures and I kind of feel like it’s off putting and doesn’t blend everything on screen together.