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Video Game / Them's Fightin' Herds

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Adorable Animals, Serious Combat.note 

Them's Fightin' Herds is a Fighting Game developed by Indie Game team Mane6. The game is notable for a few things: first, it is probably the firstnote  fighting game to have a cast consisting entirely of quadrupedal characters. Second, Mane6 were given direct aid from Lab Zero Games (the developers of Skullgirls) as a reward for the massive success of their DLC crowdfunding, in the form of the license to use the Z-Engine. Third, despite being such a small team still on their first project, Lauren Faust took part in the game as a character designer and a writer. Fourth, and most important, is how Lauren Faust's attention was initially caught by the game:

Them's Fightin' Herds was originally a fan-made My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic game titled Fighting is Magic. Lauren enjoyed playing the game, but Hasbro issued a cease-and-desist order against Mane6,note  forcing Mane6 to abandon the project. Despite this huge setback, however, the Mane6 team decided to keep going on with their idea by creating a similar game set in an entirely new, non-copyright-infringing universe. Lauren Faust then decided to offer her help in designing new characters for that game.


The story of the game goes something like this: The land of Fœnum (sometimes also written as "Foenum") is inhabited by various sapient hoofed mammals who built societies and cultures revolving around the natural environment that their species are indigenous to. However, this wasn't always the case: for once, long ago, their lives were threatened daily by the presence of predators. These carnivorous beasts had been banished to a magical realm long ago, ushering an age of peace for the herbivores. Now, that peace has been threatened: countless numbers of predators have escaped their supernatural prison and are now threatening to infiltrate Fœnum en masse, led by the greatest and most horrible predator of all.

To address this situation, each race has sent their strongest, bravest, most skilled and most willing of their number to face the predators' leader and close the portal of the prison realm using an enchanted key. However, there's only one key, and all of these "Key Seekers" must duel each other to become the "Key Keeper."


Who will claim the key? Who will face the terrifying leader of the predators? And will she save Fœnum? You will have to play to find out!

View the first gameplay trailer here, and the 1.0 Launch trailer here.

The official forum can be accessed here.

The Indiegogo campaign (that has been funded!) can be viewed here.

Has a character page in need of work.

The game released in Early Access (mostly complete apart from the Story Mode) on February 22nd 2018. The game received a proper release on April 30, 2020. While it only had the first part of the Story Mode, the rest is planned to come out as free DLC.

Them's Fightin' Tropes:

  • Afterlife Antechamber: The Hold where the Predators are trapped is described as a void filled with portals to other worlds, including the Afterlife.
  • All There in the Manual: The Book of Lore, released in late 2015, details the backstories of each of the main playable characters. However, updates to the game's story ultimately led to it being declared non-canon in 2020. Most of it will likely be adapted into the canon in story mode eventually, though.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Winning online fights awards you with Salt, which can be spent to enter the Salt Mines, where you can earn even more Salt and spend this Salt to unlock chests that unlock new hats.
  • April Fools' Day: The forums got redesigned two times, both on on April 1st:
    • For 2018, the background was replaced by an animation of Velvet shaking her posterior (which is also used for the loading screens).
    • For 2019, the site was given a black and orange color scheme and the background was replaced by drawings of Pom and the logo was changed to "PomHub", making it look like the very Not Safe for Work website PornHub and causing potential embarrassment from onlookers.
  • Ascended Fanfic: Well, more like Ascended Fangame, but Tropes Are Flexible. Started life as a just-for-fun My Little Pony fangame, and evolved into a unique brawler that secured a commercial release and has the actual creator of Friendship Is Magic on its team. The six launch characters are also all Expies of My Little Pony's main characters.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Tianhuo's backstory makes it seem like she was at one point bullied in her life... until it's revealed that she wasn't bullied, she was the bully herself.
  • Bears Are Bad News: As well as the current Arcade Mode final boss.
  • Big Ball of Violence:
    • During Pixel Lobby mode, this is how other players see fights.
    • It's also the panther's throw animation.
  • Canon Discontinuity: When Mane 6 announced the release date for Version 1.0, they also announced that The Book of Lore was no longer considered canon, and that any canon backstory would be featured in the game's story mode itself.
  • Carnivore Confusion: It's actually the reason behind the plot! The ungulates, not wanting to be the Predators' prey any longer, locked them into another dimension.
  • Casting Gag: Tara Strong originally auditioned in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic to play as Applejack, instead becoming Twilight Sparkle. So now, she's playing as an Applejack Expy.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The Pummelin' Prairie lobby has a waterfall with a cave behind it. Said cave contains the entrance to the Salt Mines.
  • Christmas Elves: The Ice Sprites, carers of the Reine deer, resemble this, although they look more like a hybrid of The Fair Folk and The Greys (but they are still cute).
  • Code of Honour: The Longma live by a strict code of honor that forbids certain actions, like eating meat.
  • Combos: Of two varieties, the first being standard combos. If at any point the opponent could've escaped or countered, it becomes an "invalid combo", with the text changing to blue as well as a smaller number (up to 3) indicating at what point in the combo it could've been broken.
  • Conscription: Much like Turians, all Longma are part of the military.
  • Constructed World: Them's Fightin' Herds takes place in the world of Fœnum. A world inhabited by sapient hoofed animals that have formed societies. Somewhat similar to Equestria, but the main inhabitants are far more diverse.
  • Cool Key: The Predators were locked away with an enchanted key made from one of the Prophet's horns.
  • Cool Pet: The reindeer to the Ice Sprites. While the reindeer are fully sentient and have their own civilization, the Ice Sprites dote on them as their pets, and are treated well in turn as they do anything asked of them.
  • Crossover: Owning the Steam versions of Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, or Skullgirls will unlock game-related accessories for the Pixel Lobby.
  • Death World: The mountains where the Alpake Clan live. All forms of natural disasters happen on a weekly basis and it doesn't phase them one bit. The fact that Paprika nearly drove them extinct with her antics screams just how terrifying she is.
  • Downer Ending: Chapter 1 has Arizona get her hind handed to her by Oleander whether she beats her final phase or not and her bag looted of a Longma Ball. She herself also can't make sense of any of the writing on the pillar in the Temple of Gloom, putting her journey at a dead end.
  • Dump Stat: Parodied: all of the cosmetics, even the characters themselves, for the pixel lobbies contain random useless stats that have no effect on the fighting or salt mine gameplay. For example: Black Rose: +10 Oleander Attraction, +5 Angsty Poems.
  • Everything's Better with Llamas: The Alpake Clan, reclusive inhabitants of Huacaya Mountains in the High Plains. Their Key Keeper is Paprika.
  • Expy: The characters have similar fighting styles to the six main characters from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, as this was originally going to be a fan-game of that show. While they are similar in design, they often differ in personality, mostly around their character flaws:
    • Arizona the cow is based on Applejack. Many of her melee attacks are similar, and she has the lasso special and headbutt super. Personality-wise she's closer to Rainbow Dash than Applejack, with her main issues being her overconfidence.
    • Velvet the reindeer is based on Rarity, although she uses ice instead of gems and sewing supplies. She can also hold her ice projectiles in place similar to Rarity's Gem Shots. While Rarity was vain, Velvet takes these traits Up to Eleven to the point where she comes across as far more hostile and proud than Rarity ever was.
    • Oleander, the unicorn, uses a book, and has projectile, trap and teleport attacks like Twilight Sparkle. Where Twilight Sparkle learned the values of friendship, Oleander shuns companionship, and is in a possibly dangerous allyship with an Eldritch Abomination named Fred.
    • Pom, a young sheep, is assisted by a quartet of Sheep Dog puppies, similar to Fluttershy and her animal companions. Pom is a huge coward like Fluttershy, but where Fluttershy was able to shake off her shyness with enough effort, Pom is nearly paralyzed by fear every second she's on screen.
    • Paprika, an alpaca, is based on Pinkie Pie, and has a similarly random fighting style, with a magic attack that has a random effect like Pinkie's Party Cannon. She also has a killer hug like Pinkie's level 3 attack, "Pinkamena". Much like Velvet, Paprika is Pinkie Pie's Leaning on the Fourth Wall and cheerfulness traits turned up to genuinely dangerous levels, turning her into a whirlwind of manic energy and insanity that unnerves even Tianhuo.
    • Tianhuo is a Longma and is based off Rainbow Dash, with a flight-based moveset. She's notably the one Key Keeper who has no serious issues aside from a minor case of pride, having grown out of her bullying ways in the past and become a better person. As a result she takes more from Applejack and her "big sister" personality than Rainbow Dash.
  • Finishing Move: If a level 3 Super is used to KO an opponent, they will be stuck in whatever state they're left in for the duration of the KO and post-match screen.
    • Arizona throws you into the ground so hard that you're left half-buried with only your hind legs sticking out.
    • Tianhuo does a Spinning Piledriver with similar results to Arizona.
    • Velvet freezes you into a block of ice, which her pixies carve into a statue before bringing out score cards. If the move is a KO, the statue gets a perfect 10 and Velvet just stands there appreciating the sculpture (if it isn't a match-ender, the last pixie gives a lower score based on how much health remains, and Velvet smashes the statue in a fit of rage).
    • Paprika's super hug will keep going indefinitely.
    • Oleander is a weird one. Fred takes over her body and uses his full power to drag you to another dimension and crushes you. On a KO, the power completely obliterates you, but Oleander is then seen floating unconscious in an empty space, implying that her mind is gone.
    • After Pom's Raging Demon, her dog walks up and tries to bury you.
  • Fire of Comfort: Longma aren't born with their fiery manes and tails—they develop them as they grow up. This usually happens during a moment of great anger or courage, but at least one longma got hers by showing great nobility of spirit towards a former tormentor.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Predators currently in the game are large shadowy figures with demonic red eyes—Fluffers the wolf, Flopsie the panther, Cuddles the spitting cobra, and Huggles the bear.
  • Fog of War: In the Salt Mines, as the difficulty level progresses, the mines become darker, making it more difficult to navigate. In the final stage (vs. the Bear), the entire mine becomes pitch black, with only a small ring of light surrounding each player to navigate.
  • Funetik Aksent: Each of the characters in the Book of Lore have their respective accents written out this way.
    • Arizona is written with a Southern twang, along with all the other Cattlekind.
    • Velvet is written speaking Sexy Scandinavian. Oddly enough, she's the only Reindeer with a speaking role who has this accent.
  • Genre Mashup: All the character themes, along with those of their respective level are of wildly varying genres, and when winning, a remix of the level theme combining both the original genre and the style of the winning characters' theme will begin to play, inevitably leading to this trope. Listen, for example, to the gothic techno country rock variant of the Woodlands theme if Arizona is winning.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In the third phase of the Chapter 1 final boss, Oleander uses a One-Hit KO move that's unblockable and unavoidable but not uninterruptible. It is possible to win, but if you do, Fred uses his Cutscene Power to the Max and KOs Arizona anyway.
  • Leitmotif: Depending on who is winning, the Dynamic Music System changes the instruments and beat to whoever currently has the upper hand (if Velvet is winning, for example, Christmas bells can be heard jingling).
  • Location Theme Naming: Arizona's family members are named after US states. (Specifically, ones with cattle and dairy industries, mostly appropriate to their breed; Texas, for instance, is a longhorn.)
  • MacGuffin: All of the fighters are seeking to obtain the enchanted key that will lock the Predators away.
  • The Marvelous Deer: The Deerfolk of Reine, in the Tundra. They are revered and pampered by the Ice Sprites, living in a city built by the Sprites and gaining magic abilities by eating their Golden Oats, that makes the deer able to leap so high and far it seems they can fly, and giving them the ability to control wintery weather (following a Christmas-theme). Their Key Keeper is Velvet.
  • Mix And Match Creature: Tianhuo is a Longma: a half-horse, half-dragon hybrid.
  • Mook Chivalry: Predators in story mode will take turns and only fight you one at a time unless there are mini-predators as a backup. There are even some Preexisting Encounters which have you fight multiple Predators at once but hitting them all at once will not multiply your damage.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Spoken almost verbatim by the error message for the visual lobby.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Longma of Empire of Huoshan, in the Volcano. Half horse and half dragon, they can fly and wield fire magic. Their militaristic culture is similar to that of Imperial China. Their Key Keeper is the Captain of the Imperial Guard, Tianhuo.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Spectating a fight in the pixel lobby outfits your sprite with a box of popcorn for the duration.
  • Phantom Zone: The Predators were banished to a magical prison realm.
  • Planet of Steves: Apparently, every town in the Meadow is named Baaaaah.
  • Predators Are Mean: Predators are the main antagonistic force in the world of Fœnum. Long ago, they were locked away in a prison realm by the herbivores, but they've recently been coming back out and now threaten their peaceful existence. The only exceptions are the Sheepdogs, who subsist on non-sentient vermin that would otherwise destroy the Sheeple's crops.
  • Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër:
    • The world is named "Fœnum", with the œ ligature. Unusually, it's pronounced like the "oe" in "foe", rather than like the "oe" in "phoenix", the more common pronunciation.
    • The full title of the demonic character Fhtng is rendered as "FHTNG TH§ ¿NSP§KBL?"
  • Pun-Based Title: Based on the saying "them's fighting words".
  • Punny Name: The capital of The Tundra is called Rein, a pun between "reign" and "reindeer."
  • Retraux: The Visual Lobby is styled like a 16-Bit Era RPG and it uses Chiptune music.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Fœnum seems to be an entire world of them. Kind of a given considering the game's roots and the character artist.
  • Role-Playing Game: The Story Mode features some RPG-like segments between the battles, in which players will explore the world and talk to NPCs to advance the plot. Outside the Story Mode, it also works as a Visual Lobby in which online players will interact and fight with each other.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Fœnum reached prolonged peace by banishing all the Predators to a magical realm called The Hold.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: In the latter phases of story mode's boss battles, the Key Seekers use moves that aren't available in normal gameplay.
  • Shout-Out: Now has its own page.
  • Shotoclone: Notably averted. None of the Key Keepers play like a baseline shotoclone, with Oleander being the closest approximation thanks to her fireballs. But even then, she's more defensive and mobile than the usual shotoclone thanks to her teleports, and her level 2 super turns her into a Puppet Master type for a short while.
  • Shown Their Work: When Tianhuo the Longma was announced, some fans were surprised to learn that "Longma" is not a newly made-up species just for TFH; it's actually a creature from Chinese mythology.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Outside the game, even the creators will frequently drop the Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër and write the name of the setting as "Foenum" instead of "Fœnum".
  • Spiritual Successor: To Fighting Is Magic, though Mane6 never actually released it (except for a leaked unfinished demo).
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The surest way to get the Variable Mix going your character's way is to connect with a super move.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Unicornomicon, used by Oleander. It was featured as one of the earliest artworks for the game (along with a cute lamb bookmarker).
  • True-Breeding Hybrid: The longmas of Huoshan first arose from the interbreeding of horses and dragons. The actual interspecies coupling only appears to have happened once, between the dragon and the stallion known respectively as Honored Mother and Honored Father, and all modern-day longmas are the descendants of these two and born from longma parents.
  • Unicorn: The Unicorns of the Order of the Horn, in The Woodland. They don't participate in violence of any kind and believe that Light Magic will ultimately prevail (though they do not presume to know how). Oleander became their Key Keeper against their will by dabbling in Dark Magic.
  • Variable Mix:
    • Each stage theme is done in multiple styles. The music starts normal, then changes based on which character is deemed to have the advantage. There is a special, more intense track for the final round in a match. There is also a special mix used for training mode or when both players are idle.
    • The character select screen has different variations depending on which characters are selected.
    • The Salt Mines' music steadily adds instruments and ramps in intensity as the difficulty level increases, but there's never a hard cut to a different track until the final showdown begins.
    • In Story mode, the music in dungeons changes when you approach a predator, and again when you start a battle with one.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: According to Lauren Faust, the longma were originally carnivores—being partially descended from dragons—and are technically omnivorous, though they abstain from eating meat as a measure of pride.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The Hold where the Predators are trapped is described as a void with countless portals to other worlds.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The snake featured at the very end of the first salt mine cave in Story Mode. The caves themselves are filled with mook predators, with some being larger and having more health, with the final room featuring a giant wolf that attacks the same as it ordinarily does. The snake? It starts off attacking from a completely different pane of the stage, attacking you from afar with its tail and rain of poison, and is accompanied by a mook wolf. The whole battle is meant to warn the player that bosses going forward will be far more than just scaled up predators, and will require the player think and fight creatively.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Fœnum's plan to combat the predators seems to be 1) Find the Key, 2) Defeat the Ultimate Predator and close the portal, and 3) pick a Key Keeper to safeguard the key for the future. Unfortunately for the rest of Fœnum, their champions want to decide step 3 right now... through hooficuffs, if possible.
  • Weird Currency: Salt is awarded as currency which can be used to purchase color palettes and hats. This is undoubtedly a cheeky reference to the use of saying that someone is being "salty" as a term in the FGC; It's possibly also a reference to the importance of salt licks for wild and domesticated mammals.
  • Wingding Eyes: Winning the match against an opponent shows the reactive portrait of the loser having their eyes as spirals.
  • Wingdinglish: In story mode, Paprika's speech is a series of symbols including stars, hearts, and kissy lips. When asked her name, she produces a speech bubble with a picture of a vial of paprika.


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