FIST OF AWESOME is a successful Kickstarter indie gem developed by upstart British studio I Fight Bears (basically, it’s the brainchild of the wonderful Nicoll Hunt). Released in the year that the indies starting gaining more of the limelight than ever (2013, brah), FIST OF AWESOME faces some stiff competition in the quirky, evolved bedroom coder format (is it a format? I don’t think so, indie is indie…you get what I mean shup!). I feel, however, it stands head and shoulders above many and proudly alongside others. It’s very fair to say I’m rather not the patriotic type. No, sir. However, there is a strange element of pride in relation to the fact that a truly British kind of game (I’m talking the good alt-comedy, Spectrum game, kinda way) can break on through and still make a mark on the global stage. That’s exactly what this achieves, in this reviewers humble opinion.

 

A big reason as to why I absolutely adore this particular indie title, is the storyline. It is absolutely insane, in a completely magically positive way. You take control of a lovable lumberjack by the name of Tim Burr, who gets thrust through time and finds the world has been overrun by intelligent human-hating bears who want you dead and fast. The player discovers this through Tim’s fist, who has developed its own consciousness. I know, great right? Bingo.

 

The feel of the game resides in a very special place, which taps into both the heart and mind’s connected fortress of untainted nostalgia. Immediately the game reminds you of everything you love about video games, or at least did with me. What’s that? Oh, y’know – it is fun. It’s more than fun. It’s a total blast! Undoubtedly perfect for any retrobate who scans the virtual pages of RGG, for sure. The likes of the works of Jeff Minter are realised in an all new manner with FOA. For anyone who ever felt the glorious days gone-by of the shareware scene can finally re-experience, or indeed experience for the first time, what made them so darn great for many retro gamers, much like the reviewers on this very site – myself included. 

 

Gameplay wise, it’s all rather straightforward, instantly gratifying and easy to pick-up and play. Which is a sign of any great video game of any era. If you’ve ever loved, or simply played, the great side-scrolling beat ‘em ups of the past, you’ll be more than at home here. The game takes its cues from the likes of Double Dragon, Streets of Rage and co., then boils it down into this beautiful little package. 

 

No matter how you decide to play, control pad or touchscreen; the incredibly solid system to which FOA is built will never have you blaming anyone but yourself for a death. The Ouya version makes fantastic use of the control layout, with perfect button mapping, which unfortunately isn’t something every game on the console can honestly state. But much more remarkably is the unique manner in which the game plays with the touchscreen controls on iOS (I played via iPad). There is no awkward overlaid buttons that are found on many of the classics ported to the App Store. Nope, instead the game utilises touch to the fullest extent, creating this unbelievably fluid and natural feel all the while being nothing but. It’s part magic, part science. Like an Asgardian creation. Words can honestly not truly describe unless you play it for yourself, but the responsive swipes, holds, etc. that produce Tim’s manoeuvres are just so pinpoint the tightness of the controls are elevated to an all new level. 

 

There is a levelling up system within the game which places it in a similar category to the likes of Knights of the Round and Guardian Heroes (two of my all-time favourite games, no less). It’s as you’d expect, really: the more bears you punch in the face and combos you build up, the more points you gain, which ups your EXP to allow you to level up health, attack, etc. Good move, I Fight Bears! I like it! The very first play through of the game shouldn’t exactly be taxing, partly due to the aforementioned levelling up system. As you smash your way through various levels and quickly get a foothold of enemy attack patterns, it becomes a simpler task when disposing of enemies out of principle. Yet, it’s when you beat the story for the first time it dawns that you’ve only been rockin’ the game on EASY! That’s when Hard Mode kicks in (if you should so choose), the same again happens if you’re to beat Hard Mode. I don’t know if there’s a fourth, honestly – as I’m not awesome enough. That’s all good though, as it’s just another point into the lastability column, as far as I’m concerned.

 

There is also an alternative mode of play outside of the main story. Battle Arena’s allow you to battle streams of enemy sprites as a character of your choice (unlockable via playing the game). It’s a fun addition that only opens the doors for future additions and is indeed something that is being looked into for the Grizzly Edition of the game (or the future free update for current Ouya adopters). The game is crammed full of cameos and little Easter Eggs for the player to uncover, which is always something I appreciate – right down to their early beginnings on Atari. It mainly gives another sense of ‘I gotta play this again, what if I missed something’. It all adds to the general engagement.

Now, with The Portal reviews, I tend to be more liberal with the graphics of a game. When reviewing retro titles I always tend to keep things in context, when talking contextuality of an indie title it’s never just about what is the best technical achievement, because not every game is a Crytek game, folks. Art direction needs to suck me in, which is why the likes of Platformines have already gained what some may term as overly high scores. Well, I’m sorry. But I’m not. Because if the overall design of the game, the look of it, helps add to a sense of enjoyment, I’m gonna rank it up there with the best of them. FIST OF AWESOME sits in this weird part-NES, part-Atari styling. It’s absolutely lavish old school nature is reportedly born out of necessity, but much like with film (Chunking Express, Clerks…I wont go film student on you so I’ll stop before I get ahead of myself there), that alone can enforce the altruistic nature of something along the lines of this game. After all, isn’t that what indie is all about? Something heartfelt, honest and personal? FOA delivers.

 

It looks bloody great, as basic and beautifully blocky as it all is. It’s very plausible to make something crude yet deep, ala South Park, yet in reality much harder to pull off. This game? It pulls it off. From that superbly crafted opening that has you walk along fighting crudely drawn (in a positive manner) sprites of evil deer’s as the credits casually scroll onto screen in-time, you really do know you’re in good hands.

 

Musically speaking, the soundtrack is killer. That tremendous chiptune sound that we all know and love fills your ears and only backs up that sense of a time had but since lost that we all crave to claw back. The game also has its own title theme with lyrics. So, you know. It’s pretty darn cool. The other sounds in the game are mostly mental obviously intentionally-compressed screams and shouts, that blast alongside the sounds of fists landing against fur in a way only a video game could have it sound. If it doesn’t make you want to start shouting “GARGH!” or “FIST” next time you get into a brawl outside a pub, I dunno what will. Certainly not Donkey Kong. Coz that don’t have that kinda sounds. Silly.

 

FIST OF AWESOME’s biggest strength and undoubtedly what will be its most appealing factor is its intentional comedy. A comedy that only begins with those cleverly ludicrous sprites and backgrounds. Nicoll Hunt, the maker of FOA, is a big fan of comedy and is a man who one day wishes to do stand-up. If this game is anything to go by, he’s a heck of a funny guy. The allusion to South Park has already been mentioned, mainly in reference to the choice of animation. However, everything from the Comic Strip to more recent works of the alt-comedy of today can be felt living vicariously through the virtual world that Tim Burr inhabits. It’s truly remarkable and will often have you genuinely laughing out loud, which will cause anyone in the vicinity to ask why you are doing so, to which you have to then explain: “something funny in the game”. Which only results in puzzled looks. But if you’re not entertained, I’m sorry, but you have no bone of funniness in you. 

With FIST OF AWESOME, Nicoll Hunt/I Fight Bears has crafted something utterly compelling and truly post-modern in the most artistic sense possible. Nothing can quite match the experience that the game provides, yet the comfortable feeling the player has when jumping in feet first is something that can only described as entirely familiar. That’s why I said what I did at the start, yo’! In all fairness, there is not much of a distinct difference between the two versions of the game I have played and it stays true to being great and the same core on both platforms. If only that could be said with all ports. But it’s great to know if I’m sat in my room in front of my TV, I have a way to play. Or if I’m out and about, again I can still play. The version available for mobiles/tablets has a large number of unlockable achievements and there is also online leaderboards that equate it back to those glory days of the arcade.

 

In the launch trailer and promo materials for FIST OF AWESOE, it was marketed as a game featuring: Graphics, Sound & Gameplay. It doesn’t lie, that I am here to confirm. Nicoll Hunt takes pride in creating the worlds finest time-travelling-lumberjack-em-up and I am very much inclined to agree. It is, it’s the best of its genre. Even more so, it’s one of the most enjoyable, engaging and downright entertaining video games available anywhere, on any system, right now. Fact, I tells ye’. It proudly harkens back to the days when beat ‘em ups were the coolest games in town, giving its own unique take on the genre which spawned classics such as Golden Axe, with references that only start with the industry for which it is a part, crossing media barriers of film and more.

 

To put it bluntly, ladies and gents? FIST OF AWESOME is, well…Awesome!

 

If you would like to know more about the development of the game, check the article right here in the portal where I got to interview the hero who made this work of genius. FIST OF AWESOME is OUT NOW on iOS, Android, Ouya and GameStick and is available to Pre-Order on PC and Mac. Man, woman or child, beard or not, go play this game. I implore you.

 

Game Details

Name: Fist of Awesome

 

Format: iOS/Android/Win/OSX

 

Genre: Scrolling Beat 'Em Up

 

Developer: IFightBears

 

Year of Release: 2013

 

Reviewer: Olly023

 

nicoll hunt ouya fist of awesome ifightbears retro game geeks indie ios iphone ipad review indiedev gamedev retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming gamers games gaming videogames bears beat em up
nicoll hunt ouya fist of awesome ifightbears retro game geeks indie ios iphone ipad review indiedev gamedev retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming gamers games gaming videogames bears beat em up
GET REKT, BEAR!!
nicoll hunt ouya fist of awesome ifightbears retro game geeks indie ios iphone ipad review indiedev gamedev retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming gamers games gaming videogames bears beat em up
The party was pretty wild...

FIST OF AWESOME is a truly special, magical game. It’s a game that you should perhaps never (ever) put in lowercase (much like Baby and corners). It’s a game that will remind you of everything, yet be like nothing you’ve ever played before. It’s a game with a time travelling lumberjack. It’s a game where you punch bears in the face, over and over. FIST OF AWESOME? Is quite frankly…awesome.

 

Now, let’s set the record straight here. Warning: REVIEW SPOILER ALERT! This review is 100% most certainly going to be overwhelmingly positive. For the sake of journalistic integrity, the world must know this: no, I wasn’t paid off – nor did I even have a review code of any form for FOA. Nope. I, Olly023, was a diehard fan of FIST OF AWESOME long before the nucleus of this very site (RetroGameGeeks, and what!?) was even gestating. Or something. As soon as The Portal was talked about, it was clear as day that I was the guy who would be reviewing this game. Much like I shot gunned Zelda II long ago for the regular reviews, I needed this. I needed to let the universe hear me shout from the rooftops about how much I bloody love FIST OF AWESOME. Yes, it’s a near unhealthy obsession, a scary adoration that refuses to die off. But there is very good reasons as to why I love the time-travelling adventures of my new(ish) bearded hero: Tim Burr! 

 

This review shall briefly summarise exactly what those reasons are… 

 

Before that, though – I shall introduce the slightly differing format of this review. Unlike many multiplatform reviews that can be found right here on RetroGameGeeks, this particular journey into the depths of The Portal for the sake of a review, is actually reviewing the game across two distinct platforms: Ouya and iOS. Why? Well, just because, really. I recently (in time of writing) purchased the amplified touch-control version of the game to play on my beloved iPad, after having hours of fun with its console counterpart. 

FIST OF AWESOME is a successful Kickstarter indie gem developed by upstart British studio I Fight Bears (basically, it’s the brainchild of the wonderful Nicoll Hunt). Released in the year that the indies starting gaining more of the limelight than ever (2013, brah), FIST OF AWESOME faces some stiff competition in the quirky, evolved bedroom coder format (is it a format? I don’t think so, indie is indie…you get what I mean shup!). I feel, however, it stands head and shoulders above many and proudly alongside others. It’s very fair to say I’m rather not the patriotic type. No, sir. However, there is a strange element of pride in relation to the fact that a truly British kind of game (I’m talking the good alt-comedy, Spectrum game, kinda way) can break on through and still make a mark on the global stage. That’s exactly what this achieves, in this reviewers humble opinion.

 

A big reason as to why I absolutely adore this particular indie title, is the storyline. It is absolutely insane, in a completely magically positive way. You take control of a lovable lumberjack by the name of Tim Burr, who gets thrust through time and finds the world has been overrun by intelligent human-hating bears who want you dead and fast. The player discovers this through Tim’s fist, who has developed its own consciousness. I know, great right? Bingo.

 

The feel of the game resides in a very special place, which taps into both the heart and mind’s connected fortress of untainted nostalgia. Immediately the game reminds you of everything you love about video games, or at least did with me. What’s that? Oh, y’know – it is fun. It’s more than fun. It’s a total blast! Undoubtedly perfect for any retrobate who scans the virtual pages of RGG, for sure. The likes of the works of Jeff Minter are realised in an all new manner with FOA. For anyone who ever felt the glorious days gone-by of the shareware scene can finally re-experience, or indeed experience for the first time, what made them so darn great for many retro gamers, much like the reviewers on this very site – myself included. 

 

Gameplay wise, it’s all rather straightforward, instantly gratifying and easy to pick-up and play. Which is a sign of any great video game of any era. If you’ve ever loved, or simply played, the great side-scrolling beat ‘em ups of the past, you’ll be more than at home here. The game takes its cues from the likes of Double Dragon, Streets of Rage and co., then boils it down into this beautiful little package. 

No matter how you decide to play, control pad or touchscreen; the incredibly solid system to which FOA is built will never have you blaming anyone but yourself for a death. The Ouya version makes fantastic use of the control layout, with perfect button mapping, which unfortunately isn’t something every game on the console can honestly state. But much more remarkably is the unique manner in which the game plays with the touchscreen controls on iOS (I played via iPad). There is no awkward overlaid buttons that are found on many of the classics ported to the App Store. Nope, instead the game utilises touch to the fullest extent, creating this unbelievably fluid and natural feel all the while being nothing but. It’s part magic, part science. Like an Asgardian creation. Words can honestly not truly describe unless you play it for yourself, but the responsive swipes, holds, etc. that produce Tim’s manoeuvres are just so pinpoint the tightness of the controls are elevated to an all new level. 

 

There is a levelling up system within the game which places it in a similar category to the likes of Knights of the Round and Guardian Heroes (two of my all-time favourite games, no less). It’s as you’d expect, really: the more bears you punch in the face and combos you build up, the more points you gain, which ups your EXP to allow you to level up health, attack, etc. Good move, I Fight Bears! I like it! The very first play through of the game shouldn’t exactly be taxing, partly due to the aforementioned levelling up system. As you smash your way through various levels and quickly get a foothold of enemy attack patterns, it becomes a simpler task when disposing of enemies out of principle. Yet, it’s when you beat the story for the first time it dawns that you’ve only been rockin’ the game on EASY! That’s when Hard Mode kicks in (if you should so choose), the same again happens if you’re to beat Hard Mode. I don’t know if there’s a fourth, honestly – as I’m not awesome enough. That’s all good though, as it’s just another point into the lastability column, as far as I’m concerned.

 

There is also an alternative mode of play outside of the main story. Battle Arena’s allow you to battle streams of enemy sprites as a character of your choice (unlockable via playing the game). It’s a fun addition that only opens the doors for future additions and is indeed something that is being looked into for the Grizzly Edition of the game (or the future free update for current Ouya adopters). The game is crammed full of cameos and little Easter Eggs for the player to uncover, which is always something I appreciate – right down to their early beginnings on Atari. It mainly gives another sense of ‘I gotta play this again, what if I missed something’. It all adds to the general engagement.

RGG Scores

Graphics                    8
Sound                                8
Playability                       10
Lastability                         9

Overall                  9 out of 10

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Verdict:- Whether you own a touchscreen iOS/Android device, or you're a part of the amazing indie revolution revelling in your Ouya and/or GameStick, you'd be a fool to pass up on FIST OF AWESOME.

 

From the day I first played it, I had a strong feeling this was going to be a new obsession of mine. Lo-and-behold, whaddayaknow?

 

But don't let my overwhelming positivity fool you, or rather jade you. It's all real. I'm dead serious. If you're that kind of gamer that remotely gets a kick out of the same things us retrobates at RetroGameGeeks do, I assure you: you will love this game.

 

Buy it immediately, play it even sooner. If that's even possible. Just do it, Nike style.

transbot master system rgg retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming tec toy brazil brasil retrogamegeeks.co.uk retro games sega nintendo sony xbox atari sonic mario zelda metroid cod

Second Opinion:- Transbot prides himself on knowing when a game is a great one, he should of course because Transbot is in itself the very definition of that greatness.

 

What I am trying to say here is that this game ticks every single possible box on the 'must play' checklist of things to get your gaming on with. It has a unique yet familiar look about it that screams Retro and what's better still is how it actually plays: Like a dream! And a good dream at that, like one where Angelina Jolie finally does something worthwhile with that mouth of hers.

 

 

Transbot Scores:- 9 out of 10

olly023 sonic the hedgehog clip art judge transbot rgg retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming retro game geeks review sega sony nintendo xbox pc atari 3do neo geo capcom ea jamalais
nicoll hunt ouya fist of awesome ifightbears retro game geeks indie ios iphone ipad review indiedev gamedev retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming gamers games gaming videogames bears beat em up
Strike a pose~!
nicoll hunt ouya fist of awesome ifightbears retro game geeks indie ios iphone ipad review indiedev gamedev retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming gamers games gaming videogames bears beat em up
Kinky!
nicoll hunt ouya fist of awesome ifightbears retro game geeks indie ios iphone ipad review indiedev gamedev retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming gamers games gaming videogames bears beat em up
It all started so well for Tim...
nicoll hunt ouya fist of awesome ifightbears retro game geeks indie ios iphone ipad review indiedev gamedev retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming gamers games gaming videogames bears beat em up
Until the animals got all douchey!

Now, with The Portal reviews, I tend to be more liberal with the graphics of a game. When reviewing retro titles I always tend to keep things in context, when talking contextuality of an indie title it’s never just about what is the best technical achievement, because not every game is a Crytek game, folks. Art direction needs to suck me in, which is why the likes of Platformines have already gained what some may term as overly high scores. Well, I’m sorry. But I’m not. Because if the overall design of the game, the look of it, helps add to a sense of enjoyment, I’m gonna rank it up there with the best of them. FIST OF AWESOME sits in this weird part-NES, part-Atari styling. It’s absolutely lavish old school nature is reportedly born out of necessity, but much like with film (Chunking Express, Clerks…I wont go film student on you so I’ll stop before I get ahead of myself there), that alone can enforce the altruistic nature of something along the lines of this game. After all, isn’t that what indie is all about? Something heartfelt, honest and personal? FOA delivers.

 

It looks bloody great, as basic and beautifully blocky as it all is. It’s very plausible to make something crude yet deep, ala South Park, yet in reality much harder to pull off. This game? It pulls it off. From that superbly crafted opening that has you walk along fighting crudely drawn (in a positive manner) sprites of evil deer’s as the credits casually scroll onto screen in-time, you really do know you’re in good hands.

 

Musically speaking, the soundtrack is killer. That tremendous chiptune sound that we all know and love fills your ears and only backs up that sense of a time had but since lost that we all crave to claw back. The game also has its own title theme with lyrics. So, you know. It’s pretty darn cool. The other sounds in the game are mostly mental obviously intentionally-compressed screams and shouts, that blast alongside the sounds of fists landing against fur in a way only a video game could have it sound. If it doesn’t make you want to start shouting “GARGH!” or “FIST” next time you get into a brawl outside a pub, I dunno what will. Certainly not Donkey Kong. Coz that don’t have that kinda sounds. Silly.

 

FIST OF AWESOME’s biggest strength and undoubtedly what will be its most appealing factor is its intentional comedy. A comedy that only begins with those cleverly ludicrous sprites and backgrounds. Nicoll Hunt, the maker of FOA, is a big fan of comedy and is a man who one day wishes to do stand-up. If this game is anything to go by, he’s a heck of a funny guy. The allusion to South Park has already been mentioned, mainly in reference to the choice of animation. However, everything from the Comic Strip to more recent works of the alt-comedy of today can be felt living vicariously through the virtual world that Tim Burr inhabits. It’s truly remarkable and will often have you genuinely laughing out loud, which will cause anyone in the vicinity to ask why you are doing so, to which you have to then explain: “something funny in the game”. Which only results in puzzled looks. But if you’re not entertained, I’m sorry, but you have no bone of funniness in you. 

nicoll hunt ouya fist of awesome ifightbears retro game geeks indie ios iphone ipad review indiedev gamedev retrogamegeeks.co.uk retrogaming gamers games gaming videogames bears beat em up
Sounds tasty...

With FIST OF AWESOME, Nicoll Hunt/I Fight Bears has crafted something utterly compelling and truly post-modern in the most artistic sense possible. Nothing can quite match the experience that the game provides, yet the comfortable feeling the player has when jumping in feet first is something that can only described as entirely familiar. That’s why I said what I did at the start, yo’! In all fairness, there is not much of a distinct difference between the two versions of the game I have played and it stays true to being great and the same core on both platforms. If only that could be said with all ports. But it’s great to know if I’m sat in my room in front of my TV, I have a way to play. Or if I’m out and about, again I can still play. The version available for mobiles/tablets has a large number of unlockable achievements and there is also online leaderboards that equate it back to those glory days of the arcade.

 

In the launch trailer and promo materials for FIST OF AWESOME, it was marketed as a game featuring: Graphics, Sound & Gameplay. It doesn’t lie, that I am here to confirm. Nicoll Hunt takes pride in creating the worlds finest time-travelling-lumberjack-em-up and I am very much inclined to agree. It is, it’s the best of its genre. Even more so, it’s one of the most enjoyable, engaging and downright entertaining video games available anywhere, on any system, right now. Fact, I tells ye’. It proudly harkens back to the days when beat ‘em ups were the coolest games in town, giving its own unique take on the genre which spawned classics such as Golden Axe, with references that only start with the industry for which it is a part, crossing media barriers of film and more.

 

To put it bluntly, ladies and gents? FIST OF AWESOME is, well…Awesome!

 

If you would like to know more about the development of the game, check the article right here in the portal where I got to interview the hero who made this work of genius. FIST OF AWESOME is OUT NOW on iOS, Android, Ouya and GameStick and is available to Pre-Order on PC and Mac. Man, woman or child, beard or not, go play this game. I implore you.

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