While eyes are Street Fighter V, we’re going to bring up one of Ryu and Ken’s more divergent appearances. Puzzle Fighter HD, which featured characters from Street Fighter and Darkstalkers, tasked players with destroying gems to fill their opponent’s board.
You can think of Puzzle Fighter HD as a competitive versions of Columns or Tetris, with each character offering different special moves. The cute chibi art stripped away any pretext of physical violence, making it a game for all ages.
Designer David Sirlin, who was lead designer of Puzzle Fighter HD Remix, also has tabletop bona fides. Puzzle Strike is an extension of the Puzzle Fighter HD art style and borrows from deck-building games like Dominion, Ascension, and Thunderstone.
Players pick their character, and start with basic abilities, customizing their “deck” as the game goes on by spending resources on new “cards.” The difference here is that the cards are chips and, in the tabletop version, that means no shuffling (you shake a chip bag instead).
Things have come full circle now, as Puzzle Strike is available on PC via Steam. As with most digital versions of tabletop games, the rules are automated and you won’t need to scoop up your used chips and re-shake them.
If you enjoyed Puzzle Fighter HD, the concepts are similar, though the execution is more methodical. You can pick up the core game on Steam for $15 (temporarily discounted to $9.89 through December 28). The Shadows expansion is also available for $15 adding 10 additional characters.
While I am likely to pick this up given my love of Puzzle Strike (it’s my daughter’s favorite board game genre), I’d be even more thrilled for a mobile version with asynchronous play a la Ascension. If you’ve never played a deck-building game, this is a great place to start because of its unique approach to competitive play (many in the genre are more akin to parallel solitaire games that share a board). I’m a huge proponent of digital adaptations because of how they more easily facilitate rules and multiplayer. I’m glad to see this game added to that roster.