Blade Strangers is out now on the Nintendo Switch, bringing a strange and interesting cast of fighters from different universes together for a surprisingly-accessible fighting game. Characters from Cave Story, Shovel Knight, Code of Princess, Binding of Isaac, and more have gathered to battle both online and through the various single player or couch multiplayer modes, all for the honor of becoming a mysterious "Blade Stranger."

Blade Strangers is a great first fighting game for players who don't otherwise delve into the genre, but you may need a bit of help to know where to begin. Here are some basics of Blade Strangers you'll need to fight your way up the ranks:

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Tutorials first

Before you jump into any of the modes, I highly recommend checking out Blade Strangers' tutorial mode first. Before you even do that, open the menu and look at the controls. The reason for doing this is that the Story Mode does not walk you through any of the moves when you start, and Tutorial Mode doesn't tell you what buttons to push to execute certain moves — it just asks you to practice them. Make sure you know the basics:

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  • Y performs a light attack
  • X performs a heavy attack
  • A uses a skill
  • B performs a unique attack

You can rebind any of these or any other buttons if you see fit. One thing to keep in mind is that the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers are a bit smaller than other controllers, and the buttons are spaced a bit more distant as well. If you're not used to fighting games on the Nintendo Switch, you may want to consider a fight stick or grip to help you play more easily.

How to play

Blade Strangers is a fairly basic fighting game. Though you can jump and perform reversals, there isn't much of an aerial game and the majority of play revolves around stringing button combos together and landing powerful unique attacks. However, it does have a fairly diverse cast of characters with different speeds, weights, damage heaviness, and ranges.

Playing Blade Strangers will largely revolve around your ability to handle fighting games. That said, it's a fairly straightforward game and good for beginners. If you're just starting out and are less experienced with fighting games, I recommend playing through all the story modes first to get a feel for each character, then start working on Arcade or Survival with a character you feel comfortable with. This will help you get to know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as learn how to counter certain other fighters.

Once you're winning most of your matches and have upped the difficulty a few times, start diving into online play and test your skills against human opponents.

Unlocking new content

Blade Strangers has a story mode with a unique path for each character, along with multiple difficulties. You'll face off against a series of opponents and end in a final fight. If you die at any stage of the process, you can simply continue from the start of the match you lost in, or quit and train before you try again.

All modes (including Arcade and Survival) in Blade Strangers are unlocked at launch, though you'll need to beat them on lower difficulties to unlock higher ones. You'll also get other rewards for finishing them. For example, finishing Story Mode with a character will unlock a new face and skin for that character. Other skins and faces can be unlocked through other modes, such as finishing a Survival Mode run or clearing a character's 5-combo challenge.

Finally, there are hidden characters that can only be unlocked by clearing Story Mode with certain other characters. For example, clearing Story Mode for the first time with any character will unlock the final boss, Lina, for play. You can also unlock characters such as Shovel Knight or Quote by finishing the tutorial with specific characters.

Any questions?

Still need help with Blade Strangers? Ask your questions in the comments!

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