There are some games that aren’t exactly fighting games, but share enough qualities to merit recognition. The very general mechanics are present, those being the use of footsies, competition, and mind games, making these games feel like rather dumbed down versions of fighting games to their core fundamentals (some do this better than others). The most notable to me are Nidhogg, Lethal League, Gang Beasts, and DiveKick.
Nidhogg is a 2D sidescroller, where the two players are competing to scroll the screen. Advancement is only possible once the enemy player is killed, and each player dies with one touch of the sword provided to both. The player killed respawns after a brief period, but his/her opponent has already made their way to the end goal, which is 4 screen scrolls away from the middle of the stage where they each start. The application of instant kill, platforms, and the pressure to advance and chase makes places emphasis on thinking ahead of your opponent and taking advantageous positioning.
Lethal League can hold up to 4 players at once, and the stage is an inescapable box with a killer ball in the center. Each player’s goal is to hit the ball, sending it flying into other players and knocking them out in a single touch. However, each player can hit it back, and each consecutive hit on the ball will cause it to go faster. Positioning, reflexes, and some basic mind games will help players excel in this kind of battlefield.
Gang Beasts, like Lethal League, can hold up to 4 players. Unlike Lethal League, however, you have less control over your movements. The game is all about momentum, as it takes time and effort to get moving and to stop moving. The overall goal is to eliminate enemy players by throwing them into various stage hazards, or simply off the stage entirely. The mind games come into play with the knowledge that your opponent is having as much difficultly controlling his character as you are, and finding ways to take advantage of that.
DiveKick resembles a simplified, parodied fighting game, taking away all the specifics and focusing only on trying to land your instant kill divekick before your opponent. In fact, there are only 2 buttons: jump and dive. As silly as it sounds and tries to be, the mind games and footsies of this game are intense because of the zero tolerance for mistakes: take one hit and you lose a round. To make up for the fast paced rounds, it takes 5 round wins to take a whole match.
Currently, these games are considered fighting games in a rather loose sense. What would be a better word for these kind of games? Do they deserve their own genre of game? What other games belong in this category? Let me know if you have any thoughts! If you wish to view any gameplay of these games, I will leave some below. Beware of foul language and salt.