Friends vs Friends Delivers Arcade Fun But Longterm Doubt
First Published: April 1, 2023

Cool but now what?

Janet Garcia

Quick, chaotic, and competitive Friends vs Friends is an upcoming free-to-play, card-based arena shooter anyone can enjoy — if only for a few rounds. The game design is sound and the loop is good and easy to grasp, but Friends vs Friends feels like a fun afternoon more than a must-play, long-term game. It’s quality but I don’t feel compelled to put a lot of time into these sprint-paced matches.

Friends Are Foes

Published by Raw Fury and developed by Brainwash Gang, Friends vs Friends features 1v1 or 2v2 online matches consisting of 3 -5 short rounds per match. You can play against friends, randos, or AI across several different maps but all of them are small arenas with a rooftop and train station being just two examples.

Pick a character and enter the match with a hand of 5 or 6 cards. You can use 3 cards per round and unused cards carry over to the next round so choosing when to play them is part of the strategy. But if you're like me you'll use them all immediately in an attempt to quickly gain an advantage. At the start of each round, you get a hand of cards.

Cards Create Chaos

Next to the comic book inspiration, bold lines, and vibrant colors that make up the art style, the card abilities are the coolest part of Friends vs Friends. Cards act as buffs for you or debuffs for your opponent from placing a turret to giving your enemy a giant head, making them an easier target.

Your main incentive to keep playing is earning experience to unlock new characters and cards to make more deck combinations. These card abilities definitely feel like they can amplify each other or counter what your opponent puts down; that more advanced understanding of your deck will come with time and skill.

Friends vs Friends’ match speed lends itself to casual play but may create challenges for long-term player commitment and investment. I think its replayability will take clearer shape when the season roadmaps are revealed. For now all we really know about the seasons is that there will be no microtransactions for progression (cosmetics only). 

Friends vs Friends is solid but its arcade nature isn’t compelling to me for more than a few sessions. The enjoyment it provides doesn't seem diverse or deep enough to stay entertaining beyond those initial matches.

Friends vs Friends has a 2023 release window for PC.