RIVALS OF AETHER is an indie fighting game set in a world where warring civilizations summon the power of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Play with up to four players locally or up to two players online.
Recent Reviews:
Mostly Positive (78) - 74% of the 78 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (4,040) - 88% of the 4,040 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Mar 28, 2017

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Recent updates View all (66)

August 15

From Hero to Rival: The Development of Shovel Knight as a Rivals of Aether Character

It’s true! Everyone’s favorite spade-swinging protagonist will be joining the Rivals cast this September! We could not be more excited to bring Shovel Knight to the game, and have been working like crazy to ensure that he not only lives up to the hype, but is true to the character you know and love.

In fact, we want to do something we’ve never done before, and take you on a little behind the scenes journey into the process of bringing Shovel Knight to life as a Rivals character. Rather than just describe the process, we want you to hear directly from the folks who made this all possible. So, we asked some of our awesome team to share their own experience in developing our latest guest character.

In this article, you’ll hear from:

Dan Fornace - Creator, Director, Designer
Trevor Youngblood - Programmer, Designer
Ellian - Pixel Artist, Animator
Marc Knelsen - Illustrator, Concept Artist

Why Shovel Knight?
The answer here is, of course, “because he’s awesome!” However, Dan had a bit more insight on what makes the character an ideal choice as a guest character. To him, there were three main draws to Shovel Knight as a playable fighter:
  • “His abilities are perfectly set up to be in a platform fighter considering he has a wide array of tools in his own platforming adventure.”
  • “The global appeal of Shovel Knight is off the charts. He is likely the most recognizable Indie Game character in the last 10 years and we wanted to create a moveset that fans have been asking for.”
  • “The development team at Yacht Club Games is awesome. After meeting them at a few events during Rivals of Aether’s development, I knew I wanted to collaborate with them somehow and a character is the ultimate collaboration.”

Of course, once the team chose to make Shovel Knight playable in Rivals, they had to actually, y’know, make him.

Settling on the Shop Design
Making a guest character is a collaborative process. Since the team is borrowing a pre-existing character from a popular franchise, Shovel Knight’s original dev team needs to make sure that the soul of the character remains intact when translating him into a brand new genre.

Trevor said, “Shovel Knight’s shop mechanic came around after we tried two other designs first, and I think it’s by far the most interesting of the three.” That iterative process was important, because the team needed to find a way to make Shovel Knight fit within Rivals’ unique gameplay while still making fans of his original game feel as though they were playing the same character.

Dan explained that this was particularly difficult with Shovel Knight because he is essentially the “Mario” of his series. “He is the balanced, traditional character that balances against the rest of the Shovel Knight cast. That would be great if we were doing a roster of indie game characters where Shovel Knight could be one of the main mascots and have a traditional moveset. But because we wanted a character that stood out from the rest of the Rivals with a new mechanic, we had to come up with ideas that gave him a unique style while also pulling from Shovel Knight for inspiration”

This is where the Shop design came in. It retains the soul of Shovel Knight’s progression and access to a wide array of tools, while making him a completely unique character within the Rivals roster. Of course, Rivals is still a fighting game, and some items that are wonderful in a platformer could have been problematic when ported to a platform fighter.

“A lot of Shovel Knight’s relics are projectiles,” said Trevor, “which didn’t really fit our vision of him, since we didn’t want another projectile-focused zoner. The task became a lot easier when we started adding Custom Knight’s relics to his moveset. Some relics, however, would be extremely busted if we kept their original functionality, like the War Horn or the Phase Locket, so we took some liberties and tweaked their properties to fit Rivals better.”

Pixel to Pixel Translation
While the character design team is busy playing with all of Shovel Knight’s moves, the art team has its own unique challenges. Someone unfamiliar with Rival’s art direction may think that Shovel Knight would be a simple character to translate to Rivals. After all, they’re both pixel art games!

Indeed, translating an existing character does speed up the concept process. The designers and artists can more easily communicate about how each move should look, because they have plenty of direct reference material from which to pull. However, Shovel Knight’s particular aesthetic presented the team with a new, but familiar challenge.

Ellian said, “it's the fact that he has armor that was the biggest challenge. As for Elliana, in pixel art it's really hard to animate "non-organic" elements while retaining the smooth animation style that characterizes Rivals. I just didn't want it to feel like those old retro games, where it's just different layered parts that moves independently. But I think we managed to avoid that without losing our style. The coolest part (and the hardest!) was being able to add Shield Knight as a summon parry. It might be the animation we spent the most time on, because we wanted her to be perfect!”

He’s So Cool!
Throughout their interviews, the team could barely contain their excitement for Shovel Knight. So, we decided to just let them gush about their work for a bit.

Dan: I think the coolest aspect is probably the simplest. His Down Air is his Shovel Drop and that move just opens up so much more of his gameplay. Whether its bouncing off projectiles or using it with the Dynamo Mail to trigger Aerial Strong attacks, there is so much you can do with Shovel Drop in both Shovel Knight and Rivals of Aether.

Trevor: I was impressed by how many different references we were able to fit in. Almost every single move is pulled from something in Shovel Knight’s game (down tilt is the only one that isn’t a reference to anything). Also Shovel Drop is just an incredibly fun move that I’m glad we could port almost directly from Shovel Knight.

Ellian: My favorite aspect of doing Shovel Knight for Rivals is how DOPE it was to work on such an iconic character. I get to make my own take on it! That's wild! Yacht Club's main feedback was "just make sure it fits Rivals, that's the most important", and having such freedom was great.

Marc: I think the only thing I can say, on my side, is that it's been really fun to draw him “interacting” with the other Rivals characters, getting to explore reaction from both him and the other characters. And that obviously I feel honored to be involved in any way with such an iconic character, being someone who played Shovel Knight as soon as it came out on 3DS years ago and really enjoying the game.

We cannot wait for you to get your hands on Shovel Knight. To stay up to date on the latest news, make sure to join our Discord and follow us on Twitter. While you’re there, let us know what about Shovel Knight has you most excited!
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August 10

Shovel Knight joins the Rivals of Aether Roster!

Shovel Knight is joining the Rivals of Aether roster this fall! In a collaboration between Dan Fornace LLC and Yacht Club Games, Shovel Knight has been adapted to compete against the other Rivals. Shovel Knight will be available in September on Steam as a $4.99 DLC addition. It comes with the playable character Shovel Knight as well as the Troupple Pond stage from his game.


Shovel Knight comes with a huge array of tools from his game and puts them all to use in Rivals of Aether. His attacks knock gems out of his opponents which he can collect to increase his treasure. By taunting, Shovel Knight can summon Chester and spend his treasure on upgrades. This allows players to customize each fight to their needs and experience even more of Shovel Knight's abilities.

We are incredibly excited to bring such a well-known and beloved character to Rivals of Aether. We are even more excited about the unique playstyle that he brings to the table. Many of his attacks seem simple on first glance but have intricacies in how you can use them, similar to his abilities in his own game. Shovel Knight's signature Shovel Drop is a big part of his game plan in Rivals of Aether and sets up for his combos.

While Shovel Knight is the last planned character addition to Rivals of Aether, the road does not end here. The team is gearing up for a Definitive Release in early 2019. This will come with all the characters, more online features, and Abyss Mode customizations for every character. We are very excited to be bringing the Definitive Edition to PC in 2019 and plan on bringing it to more platforms as well. Keep your eyes here to see where else you'll be able to grab Rivals of Aether in 2019!

Thank you for checking out Rivals of Aether. Let's get Shoveling!
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About This Game


RIVALS OF AETHER is an indie fighting game set in a world where warring civilizations summon the power of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Choose a Rival to bring into the battlefield and manipulate the powers of the classical elements and animal movement. Praised for its competitive gameplay and intensive training tools, Rivals of Aether is the perfect entry to the Platform Fighter genre.

Game Features

  • Choose VERSUS MODE to duke it out in competitive 1v1 or 2v2 fights, or jump into a free-for-all.
  • Play STORY MODE to learn the backstory behind each rival and begin to uncover the hidden mysteries of Aether.
  • Dive into ABYSS MODE to see how many waves of shadowy fighters you can defeat and reach the leaderboards alone or with a friend. Customize your Abyss Mode builds and challenge your friends in ABYSS VERSUS .
  • Take your skills online in ONLINE VERSUS ! Play against your friends or test your skills in RANKED MODE to climb the leaderboard.
  • Study TUTORIAL MODE to hone your skills from beginner to advanced lessons. Or boot up PRACTICE MODE to get your hands on all the frame data and hitbox visualizations.


Zetterburn, a son of the ruling family of the Firelands, is an experienced and hardened warrior. In battle, Zetterburn uses no weapons except for his razor-sharp claws and ability to control flame.
  • BURN DAMAGE - Zetterburn's special attacks can set opponents on fire, causing them additional damage over time.
  • WILD FIRE - Zetterburn's Down Special places flames on the stage. These flames stay for a period of time, burning any opponents who come in contact with them.
  • FIRE AMP - When an opponent is burning, Zetterburn's Strong Attacks can absorb the flames and launch the burned enemy twice as far, making for an effective killing blow.

Orcane is a playful trickster, notorious for escaping even the most precarious of situations. He can transform into water and confuse enemies with a spray of bubbles.
  • PUDDLE TELEPORTATION - Orcane creates a puddle with his Neutral Special or Down Special. He can then teleport to his puddle using his Up Special as a powerful vertical blow or an effective recovery when launched off the stage.
  • BUBBLE EVAPORATION - Orcane can turn his puddle into a pillar of bubbles with his Down Special to trap enemies above the puddle.
  • WATER AMP - When standing on top of his puddle, Orcane can consume the water underneath him to perform powerful Strong Attacks with far greater range and knockback.

The youngest trainee in the history of the Air Academy, Wrastor has never lived by anyone's rules but his own. Currently an Aerial Ace for the Air Armada, Wrastor is wrecking havoc among the Armada's enemies and generals alike.
  • WINGED FLIGHT - Wrastor can jump 4 times, making him incredible at controlling the air and recovering from the toughest falls even when things look grim.
  • WIND CURRENT - Wrastor can create a Wind Current with his Forward Special, allowing him to move faster within it and chase his targets more effectively.
  • AERIAL ACE - Wrastor performs his charged Strong Attacks in the air instead of on the ground, a first for this genre.

Kragg is a defender of the colossal Aetherian Forest. Deliberate and loyal, he is one of the infamous Wall Runners who patrol the Rock Wall. Unlike other Wall Runners, Kragg has the legendary ability to control the earth with his will.
  • ROCK HURL - Kragg can pull a rock out of the ground and hurl it at opponents. After it leaves his hands, the rock becomes a solid piece of stage that either Kragg or other players can break.
  • DEFENSE BALL - Kragg can curl into a ball and roll toward enemies. Although he can be damaged while in ball form, he cannot be knocked away.
  • EARTH PILLAR - Kragg can summon a pillar of earth to his feet regardless of where he is. If Kragg is about to fall to his death, this move can quickly turn his situation around.

Forsburn is the disgraced, eldest son of the Firelands' ruling family. After being condemned by the Fire Council and his own brother, Forsburn found refuge in a group of outsiders who had rejected the flame and mastered the way of smoke.
  • SMOKE SCREEN - Forsburn can use his Neutral Special to obscure the battlefield allowing Forsburn to remain hidden inside a cloud of smoke.
  • DECOY - Through his Forward Special, Forsburn can create a smoke facsimile of himself that can attack opponents. The illusory Forsburn breaks into smoke after being hit by a single attack.
  • CONSUME/COMBUST - By using his Down Special, Forsburn can consume his smoke clouds back into his body. After consuming three clouds, Forsburn is charged up and can use Down Special again to combust: knocking opponents away at high speed.

Maypul is the self-appointed Guardian of the Aetherian Forest. She commands fearful respect throughout the forest for her unhesitating vigilantism. She uses her agility to trap any unknown intruders before they even realize she is there.
  • WATCHER'S MARK - Maypul can use her Seeds or her Watcher's Dash to mark opponents, making them susceptible to her following attacks.
  • WRAPPED UP - After marking her targets, Maypul can use her Strong Attacks or her trusty Plant to wrap marked opponents in place allowing her to follow up with another attack.
  • SLING SHOT - Maypul can use her vines to sling toward marked opponents, allowing her to elude attacks and quickly close distances.

Absa is a famed engineer and martialist of the Elders of the Air Alliance. Despite the laws of the Elders, Absa secretly developed storm techniques in the caves of the Archai mountains.
  • CLOUD CONTROL - Absa can place a cloud using her Neutral or Forward Special. This cloud hangs in the air until Absa bursts it by tapping her Neutral Special and knocking enemies away.
  • THUNDER BOLT - Absa can charge her Neutral Special to create a powerful lightning blast that connects her to her cloud. All opponents caught between the two will be knocked away at high speeds.
  • CONDENSED STORM - Absa focuses the power of a lightning bolt to the tip of her hoof. If she can line up one of her aerial kicks perfectly, she unleashes great power.

Etalus is a legendary warrior in his native land. He is one of the last surviving members of the Harbor Guard and uses the power of ice to augment his massive strength.
  • HOME ICE ADVANTAGE: Etalus can use his Forward Special or Forward Tilt to freeze the ground beneath him in order to slide across on the icy surface.
  • ARMORED UP: When standing on ice, Etalus can use his Neutral Special to absorb the ice and create ice armor around his body.
  • AVALANCHE: Etalus can use his Down Special to shatter all nearby ice, instantly freezing any enemies who are standing on it.

System Requirements

    • OS: Microsoft® Windows® Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: 1.2GHz processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX Compatible graphics card with at least 32MB of video memory
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • OS: Microsoft® Windows® Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: 1.4GHz processor or faster
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX Compatible graphics card with at least 32MB of video memory
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 200 MB available space

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