Icons: Combat Arena is a platform fighter that recently released on Steam. Should you play it? Well, that answer is… complicated. In this video, I talk a little bit about the development history of Icons (and Project M), its pros and cons, and compare it to another Smash alternative — Rivals of Aether. I contrast the two games in their overall design and approach, and discuss where I think Icons stands to be improved.

I think you should definitely check out both Icons and Rivals of Aether, and see for yourself what you think. Icons is going through some growing pains, but I have no doubt that it will only get better as time goes on! Rivals has really come into its own lately, and is an all-around solid game. Try them both!

Shout out to the talented folks at Wavedash Games for making Icons, and for their previous work on Project M. Also to Dan Fornace and the whole Rivals team for their excellent work on Rivals of Aether.

EDIT: There seems to be some confusion about Icons: Combat Arena’s input delay.

Most games have a few frames of input delay, fighters included. What makes Icons is unusual is that its natural time to process a command is 3 frames (according to the developers), and then an additional 3-frame buffer is added *on top* of that for a total of six frames, in order to bolster netcode. This is unfortunate because, without that buffer, the game could have a lower latency during offline matches, but they want online and offline to feel consistent with one another and so enforce the delay even when it’s not necessary.


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Project M Main Theme –

Project M 3.6 “Metal Caverns” –

Rivals of Aether – Fight and Flight (Air Armada) –

Rivals of Aether – Fiery Ambitions (Fire Capitol) –

Rivals of Aether – Oceanic Breeze (Merchant Port) –

Icons: Combat Arena – Main Menu Theme


I am AtlasOne, and my channel is devoted to in-depth and analytical gaming content. This ranges from everything to information dumps about upcoming games, to deep dives into specific developers or games. I want to create the type of content that I enjoy myself, and hope you’ll stick around if you find it interesting or enjoyable. Thanks for your interest!

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