Punting dudes off ledges in the Steam demo for this comedy prop combat game is bringing me a lot of joy

I hadn't heard of En Garde, which started as a 2018 student game, until it showed up at today's Future Games Show, but I'm very on board for the French "swashbuckling action game."

En Garde sees legendary swashbuckler Adalia de Volador swashbuckle her way through the minions of the tyrannical Count Duke with her sword, and more importantly in my opinion, a lot of comedy prop combat. I'm most immediately reminded of Chivalry 2 and Sifu, but I'm getting fond memories from the whole physics fighting game family tree, back to Power Stone.

There's an En Garde demo on Steam now, which of course I immediately installed. It's fun, and it isn't easy when engaging multiple enemies. 

Tapping one button attacks, so that's simple, but there's no block button to hold down when you're being swung back at: You can either parry by pressing a button when a prompt appears, or dodge, and some attacks must be dodged rather than parried. The parry and dodge windows are generous, but I started getting mixed up when I had two or three guards crowded around me. To make fights manageable, enemies are easily stunned by kicking boxes and other objects at them, and nearby enemies are "surprised" when you do this, giving you a window to attack.

Why would a soldier be surprised by seeing someone kick a box? Well, that's just something they're scared of. At one point a terrified guard barks: "She's using the environment!" It's a No One Lives Forever-style parody of videogames, too.

You can also kick the enemies themselves into objects, like weapon racks which then fall on top of them, and there's a whole tutorial section about kicking enemies off of ledges and into bodies of water. I also picked up a bucket and tossed it onto a guy's head at one point, which is a classic move.

I wouldn't say no to more contextual environmental attacks, though. When I got outnumbered in the demo, my response was always run around the arena looking for a box or table to kick. There's a skill in Sifu that lets you tap a button when you're next to just about any object—bottles, chairs, loose weapons—to bank it off of someone's head, and I was pining for that.

There's more to En Garde that what I've seen in the tutorial, of course. According to the Steam page, stylish sword fighting fills a "Panache Meter" that can be used for special skills, and falling chandeliers are promised.

En Garde will release on Steam this August.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.