Hey, remember that time that Nintendo R&D1 developed a fighting game for NES? Yeah, me neither. Because it was released at the tail end of the Famicom's life cycle and was never brought over to the states. Truthfully, I don't think I was even aware that Joy Mech Fight even existed until about a week ago. But thanks to the Switch's region-free nature, I'm able to play it via the Switch Online service.
So Joy Mech Fight a one-on-one fighting game in the vein of Street Fighter. It also takes some cues from Mega Man in that it features robots, and beating one robot means you can now play as that robot.
Let me lead with a positive. Given that this game was released in 1993, Nintendo really knew how to get the most out of the 8-bit hardware at this point. There's some truly impressive stuff going on here. Visually, Joy Mech Fight looks fantastic. The colors are bright and vibrant. The backgrounds are all well detailed.
The robots themselves have no arms or legs, by the way. Instead, they are floating heads, torsos, hands and feet. It's kind of weirdly jarring at first, but you get used to it rather quickly. I would assume this concession makes them easier to animated, and thus allows R&D1 to pull off some fast fighting that otherwise would not have been possible on the Famicom. It's impressive stuff.
The fighting feels pretty fluid and good. And special moves are generally easy to pull off once you figure them out. I went in mashing and hoped for the best, and honestly - at least in the story mode - it seems pretty easy to push through without knowing what you're doing (assuming you've played your fair share of fighting games before).
You start with a super basic robot, and as each one is beaten you can choose to swap to defeated ones between rounds. I liked the one that had Wolverine-style claws and just stuck with him for a while.
After seven battles I thought the game was over, but it said I had cleared Level 1 .Wait, what? How long IS this game? I checked Wikipedia and it turns out there's over thirty robots to battle. Damn. Depending how much you like Joy Mech Fight this is either a positive or a negative. For me it was kind of like... I mean, this game is fine. But it's not exactly so compelling that I want to battle 30 robots just to clear the story mode.
I have to say - for me - this is more a cool curio than a game I really want to spend quality time with. I created a save state after clearing the first wave, but I'm not sure I'm in a big rush to get back to this one.