Controlling one of eight unique characters, players will spend most of their time in player-versus-player sumo wrestling matches in a variety of curious or clever arenas. This includes battling one-another as the swinging hands of a clock glide around the arena, scrapping in the cloudy heavens atop a tower, and fighting in a parking lot while a sniper fires down on it from above.
Even without all of this going on in some of the tamer of the twenty-five arenas, Circle of Sumo is tense. Each player has access to a bone-shattering, chargeable dash move which will — should it land — knock their rival backwards. You can, of course, also grapple one another, which can lead to some hilarious situations when dashing and teamwork come into the equation.
In addition to these pitched, tense battles, Circle of Sumo also includes a surprising amount of fun little mini-games. These include a Frogger-style dash over logs as they race down a river, a surging rush through traffic, and sumo-inspired takes on football (soccer), hockey, and sprinting races.
The Frogger-esque log crossing is probably one of my favourite elements of what I played during my time with it. To see four players using the charge attack to surge over open water towards a speeding log, knowing that if they miss then they’re out of the competition, was great. It felt like local multiplayer at its best.
While the music and artstyle are well-defined, it’s the roster which impressed me the most. Each character is easily identifiable from one-another and, surprisingly for a sumo game, there’s a nice mix of characters available without leaning into costumes.
While Circle of Sumo definitely doesn’t follow the mood of Red Rope (which was a dark, co-operative horror game about two characters lashed together) it is really great that they have continued to work on adding to the local multiplayer scene.
Circle of Sumo is launching on Nintendo Switch and Steam later this year. It doesn’t currently have a Steam page, however you can follow the developer on Twitter.