Slice, Dice & Rice is a fighting game without any of the fluff. In most cases one hit equals one kill, and so the mind games that we typically associate with the genre are pushed right to the forefront of the experience. Do you swing and hope that your opponent walks straight into it? Do you jump and catch them off guard? Or do you bait an attack and parry it? When it's at its best, the game's an enjoyably tense affair.

Developer Dojo Games has crafted a solid core here -- the fundamental rules of combat in Slice, Dice & Rice are well implemented. Certain actions counter others, and forcing your enemy to second guess themselves is as rewarding as you'd expect. Again, it's all about the mind games.

Unfortunately, you don't get those mind games when playing against the computer. In a fighter where a single blow can end a match, there's no real joy to be found in testing your skills against artificial intelligence -- it's either far too easy or completely unpredictable. As such, the story mode becomes a formality. You're going to need a sparring partner if you want to get the most out of the release.

With that in mind, Slice, Dice & Rice makes for a decent party game. Its art style's a little bleak and it can be quite violent -- which may or may not sit well with your company -- but it's easy to pick up and play at a basic, but fun level. The game doesn't seem to be brilliantly balanced, though. Some characters appear to have distinct advantages over others, making specific match-ups lopsided once you've wrapped your head around the title's finer points.

The release seems shaky when it comes to competitive play, then, but we're not sure that really matters anyway, given how barren the game's online community appears to be. We struggled to find any matches online even during peak times, and when we did eventually get paired with someone, there were some noticeable lag spikes.

But perhaps the game's biggest problem is how it presents itself. Graphically the title's quite striking, but it's let down by a complete lack of detail. For example, there are no character intros or victory poses that bookend duels, and there are no replays punctuating your masterful play. It's all very bare-bones and rather underwhelming.

Conclusion

With the online being a bit of a bust and the single player modes failing to really showcase the game's strengths, it's difficult to recommend Slice, Dice & Rice. Against a human opponent, the title's interesting and entertaining on a fundamental level, but as an overall fighting game package, it's found lacking.