Whenever an indie game comes out with pseudo-retro graphics, some people groan due to the saturation of the market. However, a lot of them do turn out to be really good games since they’re mostly a refinement of old standing formulae of game development in genres that used to be ignored upon the advent of better graphics and other technologies. As long as indie developers put effort into it, then they come up with a pretty good game, so long as they don’t run out of funds. Fist of Awesome is one such title that stems from this idea of refining what’s already been there for decades.
Fist of Awesome by I Fight Bears (yes, that’s the name of the developing studio) looks a bit like Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery in terms of graphics and how the protagonist Tim Burr the plaid-wearing lumberjack is modeled. He has a sentient fist that snarks back at him and punches anything and everything that gets in the way. This game is a flashback to the beat-em-ups of old, when Double Dragon and Final Fight were kings. However, you’re not beating the crap out of bad guys in this one, but bad animals with bad attitudes. Tim Burr literally travels through time and fights moose and bears in this game. This game is all about going to the woods and senselessly kicking animals in the nuts for fun.
Before offended parties start phoning PETA to report abuse, take note that these are psychopathic talking bears who live in a world where humans are displayed in zoos. Everything about this game is just ridiculous, and that’s why it’s good. The gameplay is simple enough to understand, as well as the controls. You can walk around, jump, punch, and kick. If you kick an enemy, you can stun them as they get hit in the crotch. When they’re stunned, you can walk up to grab them, then you can deliver more hits without them fighting back. If you jump forward towards enemies, you can hit them with a flying kick to knock them down. You can also hold punch then release to do a super attack.
You can hit multiple enemies all at once if they’re standing in roughly the same location, just like in old school beat-em-ups. As you progress through levels, Tim gains levels and becomes stronger. You can then allocate a point to a stat after every level, whether on health, power, speed, or super. There is also an Arena Mode that lets you replay previous levels and try to beat them again to get bonus experience points, as well as give you random challenges. This game replicates how hard old beat-em-ups could get with mobs of enemies that you’ll have to run away from so you can take on one enemy at a time, but that is if you can get enough space to do that.
The controls are simple and responsive enough for the most part. However, they do misread inputs in the mobile versions, but those problems are less evident on the Ouya with a physical controller. If you are up against the really hard mobs of enemies, you will need to have good controls, which can make the mobile versions a bit more unfair. Aside from that, there really isn’t much else wrong about this game since it has been made to be as simple as it can be. That’s what this game is all about, just good old fashioned simple fun.
If you’re into classic 2D beat-em-up action, then Fist of Awesome actually does live up to its own name. The ridiculousness of the plot actually helps in making it fun to play, although not much can be said about its replay value since there’s only the Arena Mode to give it any. Fist of Awesome is now available for the iOS and Android, as well as the Ouya.
Tested in Android. Final Score: 7.5/10