Killer Instinct - Xbox One

Release Date:

September 23, 2014

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.


Killer Instinct on the Xbox One is a free downloadable game available from the Microsoft Xbox One Store. Choose your ultimate combatants each with fluid animations, unique combat tactics, and enthralling special attacks as you preform waves of attacks and sever your rivals head on. For a free game there is no better download out and available on the market. If you love what you get from the 'demo' then you should feel happy to spend the extra to expand the experience. Overall, our experience of 'Killer Instinct' on the Xbox One was a happy one, this game is recommended for all the fans who enjoy games like Mortal Kombat, the Tekken series and so on.

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  • Developer(s):
    • Double Helix Games
  • Publisher(s):
    • Microsoft Game Studios
  • Release Date(s):
    • September 23, 2014
  • ESRB Rating:
    • Teen
  • Player(s):
    • 1-2
  • Online Player(s):
    • 2
  • Online Play:
    • Optional
  • Add-Ons:
    • Available

Technical Information

  • Required Disc Space:
    • 29.69GB Minimum
  • Supported Video Output:
    • 1080p
  • Game Format:
    • Free Digital Download
  • Average Playing Time:
    • 38 Hours
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Xbox One


'Killer Instinct' on the Xbox One is an legendary fighting game which was developed by Iron Galaxy Studios, Double Helix, Rare and published by Microsoft exclusively for the Xbox One.

'Killer Instinct' first blew up video game consoles everywhere back in 1994 when it made its debut on the arcade unit and Super Nintendo. Since then the franchise has plunged gamely on, releasing a pair of sequels in 1996. The series has been lauded for its commitment to brutality but it seemingly feel behind the times, due to better competition. The franchise was quiet until 2013, when Double Helix Games released an upgraded version of the storied fighter for the Xbox One. The title was a free to launch game for the Xbox One arcade. The game is split into two different seasons and it takes place several years after the second 'Killer Instinct' title, which was released back in 1996.

Despite the fact that it had faded pretty far from the popular culture mindset it was hard to shake the feeling of quality nostalgia that memories would give us. 'Killer Instinct' was one of those seminal games for many of us 25 to 30 year old gamers, and while it may not have been the pinnacle of head to head fighting it was still pretty close. So when we first heard that we were getting a 'Killer Instinct' sequel for the Xbox One we couldn't believe our eyes. Along with the other big fighters coming out ('Mortal Kombat', 'DC') we felt luckier than ever. But we know how nostalgic titles of the past can fail when they are rebooted and so we put the game in with a little bit of trepidation on our side.

First we want to talk a little bit about how the game was released for the XB1. Rather than going the traditional route, with in store games for sale,the developers decided to launch the game for free via digital download. Anybody with an internet connection can go ahead and download the game. What you get with the free version of the title is an entire story mode, and all of the game modes, but only one character: Jago. Some may consider this a unique demo, but we are comfortable calling it a 'limited title'. You get most of the game, outside of the characters. At this point you can either take the game as it is or you can start putting money into the title in order to expand the content. You can individually purchase different characters, which in turn unlocks their story lines, or you can buy all of them for a single $20 bill. A $40 option allows you to unlock all in game media (costumes and accessories) as well as gives you access to the original 'KI' arcade. Now, having talked about the meat of the demo, let's start looking at the game as an experience.

Upon booting the game up with only your single available player, you have to make some decisions in regards to where you want to spend your time. If you are playing alone you will probably find it tough to spend much time and still be entertained. You can face off against a ton of AI in the survival mode or you can just play against the CPU in 1 v 1 matches until you get bored. There is also the training mode, appropriately called the Dojo. Let's talk about the Dojo.

The Dojo mode operates initially like tutorial but it quickly turns into an excellent training mode that will give you all of the material you need in order to master the game. You will play through 32 different lessons on the way to mastering the material that will make you frustratingly good at the game. You'll learn the basics of the system, how to work through different combo progressions, and even how to translate these skills to other fighting games. What the Dojo is, really, is an elaborate training school where some of the best online fighters will end up training. And it's free with the demo, for Jago.

Being that 'Killer Instinct' is a free title it is easy to imagine that the game itself suffers from poor execution. After all, the developers are literally giving it away. While the game is free, the truth is that it plays as good as any AAA fighting title. You have your basic moves, combos, and specials as well as a few new wrinkles on the genre. You can use counter breakers, shadow breakers, shadow counters, and even lock outs. To put it simply, the game gives you a move for every single situation. The tactical fighter will always have an answer, and so there is good reason to feel confident when you head to the online match making. And we love that this reins in the possibility of simply button mashing your way to a victory. Even the luckiest button masher will be overcome by a smart attacking angle.

Fighting your friends is one of the best things about these fighting games. But fighting against opponents online is where the real action is. Ranked play is probably as good as it has ever been for the entire genre. The game is well coded and lag, so long as it is not a fault of your internet, is seemingly nonexistent. If you only have Jago unlocked then you will be outmatched against a bunch of players who have played your character a million times. There are tons of different strategies for each individual character and it is both your curse and your blessing in the game that you are able to delve into them.

The graphics themselves don't pop off the screen because of how realistic they are, that has never been 'Instincts' style. Instead the character models are gorgeously etched with detail. The backgrounds are well made and in full 3D. Each character looks like a monster of a being and we can believe in their power.

For a free game there is no better download out and available on the market. If you love what you get from the 'demo' then you should feel happy to spend the extra to expand the experience. Overall, our experience of 'Killer Instinct' on the Xbox One was a happy one, this game is recommended for all the fans who enjoy games like Mortal Kombat, the Tekken series and so on.

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Microsoft Game Studios

Release Date:

September 23, 2014

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