Have you ever wondered what would life would be like if the Super Smash Bros. series had been conceived in an indie studio? Worry not because the answer was recently greenlit by the Steam community. Welcome to Rivals of Aether.

Set in the world of “Aether,” warring nations have taken to summoning elementals to do their bidding. As for where we come in, these elementals, known as “rivals,” are the player’s to command. Each rival comes equipped with four special moves, tailored to their own theme and patented brand of whoop ass – I’m sure this rings a bell to any Smash players out there.

rivals of aether

Six playable rivals have been announced thus far, with every one being somewhat based on an animal. I say “somewhat” because liberties have been taken with some anatomical traits, particularly with “Orcane, the Puddle Jumper.” Orcane’s pretty much a playful orca-puppy hybrid, complete with wagging tail and tendency to spill. If only he couldn’t instantaneously pop out of these spills and obliterate someone – he’d make an awfully adorable pet.

The other revealed rivals are as follows:

  • Zetterburn, the Fire’s Roar – courageous lion with a mane of flame. He’s got quite the track record as a warrior.
  • Wrastor, the Wind’s Fury – avian fighter from the Air Academy. Top of his class in both skill and ego.
  • Kragg, Earth’s Bastion – armored stag beetle that defends the Aetherian forest. The earth itself is at his beck and call.
  • Forsburn, the Exiled Flame – Zetterburn’s older brother. Wrongfully persecuted, smoke is now his weapon of choice.
  • Maypul, the Sylvan Watcher – a svelte female raccoon/lemur. She considers herself the guardian of the forest–her home.

From puddles and smokescreens to wind currents and earthen pillars, none of the four elements are without suitable representation in the world of Aether. Combat is fast-paced and combo-oriented, boasting a lesser complexity than competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee. Still, each character’s has their own unique flavor which makes them fun to watch in action.

Where did all this come from?

Well, as for the game’s conception and development, Dan Fornace is leading the charge. You may recognize him as the brains behind Super Smash Land, a Nintendo Gameboy inspired “demake” of the first Super Smash Bros. game. He along with other talented creators, including flashygoodness, the composer of Askiisoft’s Tower of Heaven soundtrack, have come together to make Rivals of Aether the best Smash-esque brawler that they can. Considering it was greenlit in just five days, the team has undoubtedly been doing a great job.

Rivals of Aether will be coming to Xbox One and PC (via Steam) before we say goodbye to 2015. They’re planning an Early Access release in August but, for now, keep an eye on their blog for updates!