Rivals of Aether

Posted:  Aug 30, 2022
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Near Perfect
Must Play


Local multiplayer games have been a staple of gaming for as long as I can remember and one of the greatest to ever exist, Super Smash Bros. Ever since that release, the 2.5D platformer fighting genre has tried to catch up to the high bar that was set by Nintendo. Not many have done it, lots have tried, but there is one in particular that not only does it well, but feels perfect on the Steam Deck.

Rivals of Aether is that game. Developed by Dan Fornace, this take on the genre focuses more on the mechanics and fine-tunes them to a tee. With the exclusion of items, the game forces you to learn the moves, tactics, and study your opponents to hit them out of the ring. The game features a ton of different modes, as well as local and online play, but the best part is easily the Steam Workshop integration. With that, you can download new custom stages and characters to play the way you want! Want to play as Cuphead and take on Sans from Undertale on the N64 Dream Land stage from the original Super Smash Bros? GO FOR IT! The game is incredible, but it is rated Unsupported on Steam. I am here to say...DO NOT LISTEN TO THAT RATING!

Rivals of Aether on Deck

Yes, that is Cuphead vs Sans. This is Rivals of Aether.

Rivals of Aether: The Perfect 60

Due to this game's pixelated graphical style, this game is not intensive in any way whatsoever. Because of that, Rivals of Aether is the perfect game for the Steam Deck. With a max battery drain of 7W, you will be getting around 6.5 - 7 hours of gameplay while temps stay underneath 55c at the highest quality settings and a stable 60 FPS. Though, for the maximum enjoyment, there are a couple settings I would change for a game as precise as this.

Make sure that your refresh rate is set to 60, FPS cap is "OFF", and the in-game Vsync is turned on. This will minimize any input lag issues you may encounter from the triple buffering of Wayland's cap. I also capped the TDP at 4, though this definitely isn't necessary. In the game's settings, you can make sure FX quality is set to high and the rest is up to you! The game's setting is at 1280x720 natively and forcing resolution through Steam doesn't fix it, but this didn't bother me in the slightest.


And yes. You are seeing Hollow Knight vs Squidward vs Among Us. This is also Rivals of Aether.

Possible Performance Issues

Oddly, when I first tested Abyss mode, I got performance issues. The main menu would shoot down to 51-55 FPS and the FPS in that mode hovered around 58-59. I didn't feel any impact in the gameplay and was able to make it to wave 11 before I got my ass kicked. I did restart Rivals of Aether and when I went back to Abyss mode, everything was working fine. I have no idea what changed, but it could just mean a quick restart of the game can fix it. Regardless, it did happen to me, so wanted to share that just incase.


After rebooting the game, Abyss mode worked perfectly fine. Not sure what happened before.


Rivals of Aether is a damn good game and a great replacement to Super Smash Bros for the Steam Deck. With its focus on mechanics and Steam Workshop integration, the fun you can have is near limitless. And with how easy it is to run, getting a 6.5 - 7 hour battery life is near guaranteed. For some reason, this game has an "Unsupported" rating on Steam, but it works perfectly out of the box. Don't skimp out on this game if you enjoy Super Smash Bros, Multiversus, or any other platformer fighters like this!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Rivals of Aether is an amazing game to have for the Steam Deck. Runs flawlessly with tight addicting gameplay mechanics. This is a MUST HAVE for the Steam Deck.

Build Score

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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