Ape Fight Club from Nifty Ape Nation debuts fighting NFT apes

Of course there’s an NFT-based Ape Fight Club, dummy

Where would we be without 888 Nifty Apes scrapping for primate primacy?

The humble ape has been the poster animal for the crypto and NFT movement. Since the success of Bored Ape Yacht Club, the primates have been popping up everywhere in the crypto space, from copycat NFT projects to ape-inspired metaverse wearables to breedable ape NFTs.

And now there’s an ape NFT fighting game. Because of course there is.

Ape Fight Club is a 2D fighting game being developed by the Nifty Ape Nation NFT Community in the vein of Street Fighter and early-00s Mortal Kombat.

In the game, you select one of 888 playable apes as you battle your opponent with a standard array of kicks, punches, combos and special moves.

And yes, you read that right. Nifty Ape Nation boasts of 888 playable apes in its character roster.

In most traditional fighting games, just 81 characters is already considered too many and is almost a nightmare to balance and patch. NAN has almost 11 times that. In fact, NAN’s developers claim that they are making a play for the world record of having the most characters in a fighting game—a record currently held by Spike Chunsoft’s Fire Pro Wrestling Returns which has ‘just’ 327 characters.

There’s just one huge caveat that comes with that astronomical number that NAN likes to tout… all the apes appear to have the same exact movesets, at least at the moment.

Ape Fight Club’s Nifty Apes with not-so-nifty moves?

The acute eyes of the fighting game community immediately sussed out that each of the apes that are featured in NAN’s gameplay trailers not only had the same set of strikes and projectiles… they’re the same set of strikes and projectiles utilized by classic Mortal Kombat character Johnny Cage. Yikes. Monkey see, monkey do, I guess.

A huge part of what makes fighting games special — and why their rosters are heavily curated — is the varied amount of fighting styles that the different characters have to bonk their opponent on the head with. There are different fighting game archetypes that characters usually fall into… from speedy rushdown characters to slow but deadly grapplers and flighty zoners that excel at keeping their distance and pelting projectiles.

This is also a lot of what makes fighting games fun to play. Experimenting with different styles and characters to see what works; finding interactions, counter plays and exploitable tactics against a certain archetype; and building a pool of main comfort characters that you can swap between to keep your opponent guessing, are all part of the core fighting game experience.

Ape Fight Club, at least at this point, is missing out on all of that. Having 888 characters misses the point completely if they all have the same move sets. That’s like saying you have a thousand cars in your garage but all of them are 2010 Nissan Jukes.

(Note: if you have a thousand Nissan Jukes in your garage, get help.)

Nifty Ape Nation does claim that all the individual apes in Ape Fight Club will have unique fighting styles in the final version of the game… which really introduces the completely opposite problem: How do you balance a game with 888 unique fighting styles, making sure that every character isn’t too overpowered or underpowered; all their moves fit their play style and don’t give them an unfair advantage over the other 887, while making them fun to play, learn and interact with each other?

So it appears that Ape Fight Club will have to choose between having one (or even a handful of) fighting styles copy-pasted across 888 apes OR having the balancing and maintenance nightmare of 888 fighting styles, each style with completely unique moves that could threaten to break the game and/or the spirit of fair play at all times.

They can’t have their banana and eat it too.

What is interesting though is that compared to other NFT games, it appears as though you can do a lot more than simply fight with the NFT apes that you get from NAN.

NAN promises that you can use your apes in their open world metaverse game mode where you can run, jump and swim across its world, even drive around in vehicles collecting some form of currency.

NAN also teases that you can use your NFT ape’s 3D model as a rig for a streaming or video avatar in the vein of Vtubers.

If they deliver on this front (and maybe stop ripping off my boy Johnny Cage) Nifty Ape Nation’s Ape Fight Club might actually prove to be more than a bunch of monkey business.


United Gamers writers offer their unique opinions in Guild Voices to help readers understand the context of the facts. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publication or its principals.