Niche Spotlight – Icons: Combat Arena – A Modern Take on Super Smash Bros. Melee

This is Niche Spotlight. In this column, we regularly introduce new games to our fans, so please leave feedback and let us know if there’s a game you want us to cover!

A subset of the Super Smash Bros. community are so passionate to how the older games played they still play Super Smash Bros. Melee to this day – competitively even.

Some fans and developer veterans created a company, Wavedash Games (inspired by the movement glitch perfected by fans), and they’re making a game that is greatly inspired by SSB: Melee. Their missions is to create the game “we’ve all been waiting for.”

Featured above, you can view the game’s debut gameplay video.

The new game, Icons: Combat Arena, is a lot like its spiritual predecessor – right down to the character animations, movements, and even the attacks. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not hiding the fact that it takes the best from other games.

An open beta for Icons: Combat Arena is planned for sometime this fall – with a release tentatively set for early next year. For now, you can sign up for the beta here on their official website. A console release is planned, but not until after the PC launch is completed.

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Brandon Orselli


Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.

  • Just Some Guy

    This game looks sooooo good!
    ($0.03 has been deposited into your account)

  • CRES

    I really hope they have more character besides just “Not-Mario,” “Not-Captain Falcon,” “Not-Fox,” and “Not-Marth.”

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Forgettable characters, weak looking combat, and boring stages…aren’t there a bunch of other better knockoffs?

  • chocodino

    at least if by some sort of fate I have to play this, I will be able to play decently using “Not-Marth”

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    I think you mean “Not-Lucina”.

  • CRES

    Lucina wasn’t in Melee, and besides Lucina is a “Not-Marth” herself so would this new character be “Not-Not-Marth” then?

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    Just because someone wants to fuck Melee; doesn’t mean their dick doesn’t want to fuck it in a different way. More “Unofficial No-Marth” since what you said would make her Marth.

  • >”prettier”


  • Josh

    >The new game, Icons: Combat Arena, is a lot like its spiritual
    predecessor – right down to the character animations, movements, and
    even the attacks. That’s not a bad thing,

    >blatant theft and exportation from source material

    >not a bad thing

    This is a joke, right?

  • Jettythesunfish

    I don’t know about you guys but I really cannot stand Smash Bros. Melee fans. That aside, I’d say this game looks TOO derivative…but considering how other indie games seem to be taking from other franchises. meh…

  • Himegami Aisa

    Wavedash is just the Project M devs deciding to cash in after Nintendo didn’t remotely give a shit about their mod. I had to laugh at the trailer, you can’t make a blatant clone of a 15yo game with a non-copyright-infringing coat of paint look exciting or even interesting by playing generic epic music and using buzzwords like LIGHTNING FAST.

  • SuuLoliBoob

    I don’t like to assume the worst from the website i like to read. So please let this be a not so well put together joke. Fuck, even Sony’s copy-paste SSB clone still had some form of creativity. This just feels and looks like they took every asset from SSB and just gave all the characters/arenas the blandest looking designs.

  • Llama Adventure

    Just let Melee die already.

  • RichardGristle

    At least it keeps the autists confined to one place and away from the actual fighting games.

  • Himegami Aisa

    They’re not confined when they buy their way into tournaments.

  • Mechonis
  • luggage lad

    Even the name is stupid.

  • MonsterGogo

    What the- Battleborn, is that you?!

  • I hope we get a good smash clone.

  • The banner image on the main page that links to this article already looks like cancer to begin with.

  • PChandler

    Looks and sounds just like a mobile game, and a freemium one at that. Sad!

  • TheOnceAndFutureKing

    I like the concept, but I really don’t care for the weird Guardians Of The Galaxy knockoff looking characters.

  • I want to be 100% clear here.

    No contact between the developers and me took place before I wrote about this game.

    I saw it and thought it was a shameless, almost direct copy of Melee. I tried to write about it without make fun of it too much.. when I was writing I was leaning more towards openly making fun of it but I decided to hold back a bit and just present it as is.

    I try to only put cool looking games in the spotlight and this one was clearly a misstep, apologies. I’ll make sure that I’m more careful in which games I pick moving forward.

  • Looking at the game again and comparing it to Melee again.. I think you’re right. This was actually just in the headline and not in the article itself, so I’ve changed the headline to remove that.

  • To be fair that game had so many characters and they focused a lot on that whole super system that restricted KO’s to only those super moves. I also thought the super system was dumb but I knew people who liked it /shrug

  • NukeA6

    I’d like it better if the characters didn’t look like they were made by Disney Marvel.

  • Tubsiwub

    I was about to question this article, but I see that everyone already has. Have a good day.

  • Snorlaxation

    If I want to play Melee, I’ll play melee, (or Project M or whatever the new one out is) but this doesn’t quite give me any incentive to choose it over them.

  • Snorlaxation

    It’s never going to. Too many of the fans continue to play and enjoy it, and with so many people complaining about it and even Sakurai trying to distance himself from it’s exact mechanics, that’s only caused love for it to solidify and grow somewhat.

    It’s really not that big of a deal, even if some of the character designs were hideous (Yoshi)

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    I thought they were just medieval fantasy characters with scifi tech tacked on.

  • SuuLoliBoob

    That’s exactly what i meant when i said they at least had creativity with it and made it into a decent game. I also personally liked the game.

    Also, didn’t exactly mean sony’s game was Copy-pasted. That was me just being to tired.

  • Neojames82

    I loved Melee and all, but fuck me do I hate the god damn tourneytards for it. Then again I want to say this for all the Smash games, they were and NEVER will be hardcore fighting games. Hell they are barely fighting games in general and really were meant to be fun party games, nothing more.

  • This game is what happens when one trick ponies develop a game.

  • 2501

    Melee is trash yo.

  • Nagato

    For what it’s worth, this is the next project by the Project M team.

  • Lea Pastillaroja

    The artwork is atrocius and a fuck ton of the movements are literally lifted assets from Melee

  • Snorlaxation

    Oh. Well,… thanks for the heads up

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    I’d rather keep playing Rivals of Aether and Brawlhalla.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    2 are already out.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    Ever play the Onimusha one? Wot is balance?

  • Envy Noson

    I was waiting for SJW Captain Marvel to show up.

  • Matthew Hartley

    Why are the sound effects so piss weak? One of the things I feel Smash got spot on was the energy it portrayed through sound, be it the ott announcer or the general sfx. Everything felt weighty and powerful. This sounds like someone lightly blowing in your ear when some gets hit.

  • Fandangle

    Don’t get the hate. Looks like a decent clone. Nothing I’d really pay attention to though. What it looks like is is some melee tourneyfag’s attempt to one up sakurai because “MUH MELEE!” Looks like a perfectly average, unnotable game that most people wouldn’t be interested in unless they’re looking for a melee ripoff.