Street Fighter: Duel


Review by · April 22, 2023

For me, combining the venerable Street Fighter fighting game series with RPG mechanics sounds like a dream game, though the overall experience becomes unfortunately tempered in the case of Street Fighter: Duel due to its mobile limitations and prominent gacha elements. A fraction of fun still can be found if you have the patience to wait it out, but this title will only appeal to the cross-section of diehard SF and RPG enthusiasts out there. For those gamers, Street Fighter: Duel serves as a rather mindlessly entertaining diversion while we wait for the much-hyped Street Fighter 6‘s eventual release this June 2023.

Set around the Street Fighter IV games’ time frame, the bare-bones story of Street Fighter: Duel finds Shotokan martial artists Ken and Ryu embarking on what amounts to a road trip. On their travels, they fight the forces of the nefarious Shadaloo and the new mystery organization SIN. Unfortunately, that’s it for the plot. The paper-thin story merely serves as an excuse as to why Street Fighter: Duel is happening in the first place. It makes even the typical SF fighting game story modes seem award-winning by comparison. Beyond occasional snippets of dialogue during the game’s few-and-far-between story scenes and the unlockable character bios, as you acquire them and gain more tiers, any real sense of the characters and their personalities stems from your familiarity with them from other games. It’s a shame for series fans, as the Street Fighter cast is a colorfully eccentric and overall likable bunch.

The character Draw screen from Street Fighter: Duel.
You may get lucky and draw your favorite characters!

When starting Street Fighter: Duel, you must choose either Ken or Ryu as their starting character. However, as far as playable characters are concerned, they’re far from limited to just the SF showrunners. The main “draw” (so to speak) of Street Fighter: Duel is that you can pull and collect various World Warriors to fight in a four-person party comprising three active fighters and one reserve party member who gets tagged into combat. These characters are ranked: grade C, original characters to the game; grade B, higher tier characters from SF, such as Sakura or Ibuki; and grade A, rarer characters from the SF series, such as Chun-Li or Dhalsim. Naturally, grade C and B characters are more accessible to pull than their A counterparts.

Pulling characters often means gaining multiple versions of the same character, though having this happen or getting a ton of grade C characters isn’t the worst thing that can happen in Street Fighter: Duel. That’s because you can use a special mode called Awaken to either dismiss grade C fighters for valuable resources or to combine characters of the same rank or faction, an element associated with a particular character, such as Elena and Makoto’s thunder alignment. Doing so will sacrifice one or two characters but strategically strengthens another in their place. By Awakening characters, you can raise their grades even higher. Grade B fighters can often rise to grade S+, while you can often strengthen grade A fighters above that threshold to the highly vaunted grade SSS.

Cody is in line for an ability promotion in Street Fighter: Duel.
You strengthen characters through resource usage.

When I started playing Street Fighter: Duel, the only grade A fighter I managed to pull for the longest time was Crimson Viper. However, by contrast, I pulled several grade B fighters such as Sakura, Ibuki, and Ken. Through Awaken, I was able to have a whole roster of grade A and grade A+ characters at my disposal while waiting to pull stronger initial characters. By the time I somehow managed to pull the powerful Juri, I had also acquired Yang, Decapre, and Poison. These four became my chosen party for quite some time until I finally had the opportunity to raise Sakura and Ibuki into their S+ grades through Awakening. Eventually, I sacrificed my S+ Sakura to Awaken Poison to SS, gaining even higher levels. Of course, such strategies entail returning to the drawing board regarding who my party should include besides her.

Aside from strengthening characters through Awaken, you can also raise their maximum levels. Increasing character levels raise their stats, such as health and attack power, so it’s vital to level up as much as possible. Unfortunately, the resources for leveling up characters are limited and require patience, especially when gaining higher levels if you’re playing the game for free. Once acquiring my S+ and SS characters, I paused in advancing the story mode at times because I needed to collect resources such as breakstones, which are needed at certain character levels to strengthen special abilities. For example, after losing Sakura so I could strengthen Poison, I started to focus on leveling up a new character, Elena, to fill her party spot. Such tactics also take a good chunk of time to accomplish. I often find that I can go as far as possible with a sufficiently leveled party, then hit a wall regarding progression. Then I have to wait several days to acquire the resources needed to get past that hurdle, only for the process to repeat itself later. It’s important to note that Street Fighter: Duel is playable for free, as I did, but it requires you to be highly patient, especially the further you advance.

A fight screenshot from Street Fighter: Duel.
Time to get your fight on!

Fights in Street Fighter: Duel takes place with your party of fighters squaring off against an enemy party or a boss character. You can either manually control things using the touchscreen or have the game automate your actions. Regular attacks occur until the proper sequence gets inputted for a combo that’ll do even more damage to an opponent. You can also learn powerful EX-Moves based on various characters to gain a further edge in combat. I’m partial to Ken’s for offensive capabilities and Sakura’s for its healing component. You’ll also unlock multiple “assist” positions as you progress. These assist characters give stat bonuses to connected active party members. You can strengthen your characters by equipping various pieces of armor, and even level up many of the more powerful armor pieces to increase their overall effectiveness. Fights play out until one party is ultimately defeated, with a defeat for your group getting tallied if time runs out or your last fighter falls.

Aside from the main story mode battles, you open up many other activities as you progress in Street Fighter: Duel. You can opt to “explore” training grounds where you’ll fight battles and solve increasingly complex puzzles to clear the area. You can fight through hordes of enemies in Shadaloo City or advance through a multi-stage tower challenge called Supreme Fist that increases in difficulty with every level you reach. Deploying some of your characters on bounty assignments nets you valuable awards, and you can also open up PvP and Guild actions if you’re so inclined. There are even different training regimens that can strengthen characters or abilities. Those extras aren’t even delving into the optional events within Street Fighter: Duel, such as the unique Monster Hunter crossover that happened a while back. These optional events all provide unique rewards and challenges. Unfortunately, for even these extra activities, you’ll find that the pesky “wall” I mentioned previously can occasionally block your progress through them.

Crimson Viper explains the rules of the Supreme Fist challenge in Street Fighter: Duel.
The UI is quite stylish.

Visually, Street Fighter: Duel is a colorful game with excellent character sprite work. The game’s art direction is eye-catching and very on-point for the Street Fighter series, with the UI and overall style also reminding me a bit of Persona 5‘s aesthetic. As a SF fan, I love the character designs! The music also fits nicely with Street Fighter in general. It has nods to Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter V. RPG music enthusiasts will undoubtedly appreciate that Yoko Shimomura (credited as Shimomura Yoko here) worked on some of the tracks, such as the fantastic “Shadaloo Campaign.” I also love the voice-acted snippets of battle dialogue during fights. Strangely, the sound effects and music sometimes cut out for me while playing. For what it is, the script itself has a decent translation, though specific segments are unintentionally amusing, such as Guile and Abel representing defending townsfolk in need. I particularly like the uncovered bios you unlock through acquiring and Awakening characters to higher ranks.

Street Fighter: Duel isn’t a terrible game by mobile gacha RPG standards, though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish it just had been that much more as a diehard fan of Street Fighter and RPGs in general. On the plus side, playing the game for free is plausible if you choose to go that route, but it’s definitely a trial in patience. Still, I have fun playing Street Fighter: Duel in little bursts at a time, and it’s certainly keeping my attention on the series as we enthusiastically await the next main fighting game installment from it. Unfortunately, that’s all we can ask of Street Fighter: Duel because it is undoubtedly not Street Fighter 6.


Collect and manage your very own team of Street Fighter’s World Warriors, large number of activities to partake in outside of main story mode, great visual style and music.


Story is pretty nonexistent, music and sound effects sometimes cut out, patience is needed to really play for free.

Bottom Line

Street Fighter: Duel is a serviceable mobile RPG to distract yourself with in short bursts of time, but it never aspires to the greatness of the fighting game series it’s based on.

Overall Score 73
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Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling is a reviewer for RPGFan. She is a lover of RPGs, Visual Novels, and Fighting Games. Once she gets onto a subject she truly feels strongly about, like her favorite games, she can ramble on and on endlessly. Coffee helps keep her world going round.