Super Powered Battle Friends Gets Update, Drops (For Now) Linux Support

Yesterday I happened to be browsing through the backlog of my Steam library. A little notification from the lower-right of my screen tells me one of the games I have had uninstalled for a while — Super Powered Battle Friends — has been updated.

For those unaware, Super Powered Battle Friends (SPBF) is a pixelated platform fighting game that heavily borrows elements found in the Super Smash Brothers series, although certain features haven’t been incorporated yet, such as grabbing, teching, and running. It’s been in Early Access for about a year now. Currently there’s six characters and five stages, with a training mode along with local and online multiplayer. An interesting tidbit is that the game is built with Unreal — I’ve never come across a 2D game made with Unreal Engine before.

Checking the patch notes, it seems that a few days ago the game had a pretty big update. Included in the update is a new character by the name of Theodore — a large cat in shiny armor that specializes in grappling the enemy. Online multiplayer, while not working previously, has been restored, and players can voice chat or message each other. And now players can make use of the Steam workshop to download additional palettes for characters. Some other additions include:

  • Some characters can taunt
  • Character changes, from their moves to how their special attacks function
  • Sudden death mode when the game ends in a tie
  • Many bug fixes

Yesterday’s update brought further bug fixing, improved lighting, a minor upgrade to the engine, and basic GameCube controller support. The problem, though, is because of the way the workshop is implemented, the team has had difficulties compiling the game on Linux. As such, Linux players are forced to use Proton until they can get this fixed. Their news post mentions:

Unfortunately with all this work comes one pitfall we had to deal with as a team. Our native Linux support is being temporarily dropped in favor of Steams built in Steam Play/Proton support. We spent the last month trying our best to get our new workshop backend to compile native builds for Linux but we haven’t been successful yet. As soon as this changes we will be supporting Linux with native builds once again!

One of the things I can boast about SPBF is that they had day-one Linux support. Heck, I even got to test the game before it was put on the Steam store, and the Linux support was great. Thanks to Proton, though, I don’t have much of an issue with this, and I’m sure it won’t be long before Cache Grab Studios gets the compilation issue fixed.

As far as Proton compatibility is concerned, the game runs fine. I’ve occasionally encountered a few hiccups, one of which randomly froze the game — I’m not sure if that’s Proton’s fault or just the game itself. The music is set to zero when first launching the game. And because DirectInput isn’t currently implemented, my DualShock 4 won’t work. A temporary workaround I’ve found is to configure the gamepad to emulate the keyboard. The developers have told me on their Discord group that DirectInput will be incorporated soon.

After months of silence, I assumed the game was dead. There hadn’t been an update since November. I’m glad to see I haven’t wasted $13 with the new update.

Is the game still worth your time? Not right now. Not for the full price, anyway. The game is still very much in its infant stages and I personally feel it needs a lot more baking time before anyone invests into this. But SPBF is currently on sale for just a little over a buck for a week. Unless you’re saving that buck for your next set of shaving blades, I’d say the sale price really isn’t that bad.

Alternatively, if you’re craving for a Smash Bros. fix, another game that has much more skin and bone to it is Slap City. Proton compatibility works great; just disable native GameCube controller support with the launch parameter:

-disable-native-gc
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