Fist Puncher Preview

Indie game developers Team2Bit, winners of IGN‘s The Next Game Boss, recently finished their Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the development of their new game Fist Puncher for PC and Xbox Live Indie Games. The game is aretro-styled, side scrolling beat ‘em up” in which players control one of a team of vigilantes to get through a series of levels by punching, kicking, using special attacks and utilising weapons dropped by enemies. It also contains RPG elements, tons of unlockables and plenty of secrets.

I was recently able to go hands on with the Kickstarter backer Exclusive Beta of the game and this is what I thought from my time with it so far.

There are definitely strong influences from classic beat ‘em up games like Double Dragon, River City Ransom and Castle Crashers. In many ways, the gameplay will be fairly predictable for fans of the genre. You have separate buttons for blocking, charging, jumping, punching, kicking and grabbing. Each character has some basic moves in common, but also their own specific moves that can be used by entering buttons in a specific order in quick succession. Where the combat is no shock, pretty much what you would expect from a side scrolling beat ’em up, many of the game’s other aspects are a refreshing departure from similar titles.

Even in this early build of the game (the full version will be coming towards the end of this year) there is already a huge range of very varied levels. The map is littered with levels, each of which has a very distinct look to it. From the training level set in a dojo, to levels in a playground or even a nuclear power station, each one has a consistent style, but remains visually unique. No two levels have looked or felt the same, and it doesn’t just end there. While lots of the enemies have similar AI, the character designs are tailored to the level, including level specific weapons, which really help to differentiate what would otherwise be repetitive enemies. The developers have been running polls for extra levels to be added on their Facebook page, and I am really looking forward to the first additions, Hitler’s Birthday Party and a Nudist Beach.

I have played through all of the current levels, which took me several hours. The game’s character intros, the NPC dialogue and the level design all have a great sense of humour. It makes fun of genre tropes and takes some of the stereotypical character types and pushes them as far as it can. Along with the levelling up system, which has progression trees tailored to each characters personality, the game kept me playing right until I ran out of levels.

There is still plenty of time in Fist Puncher‘s development and I am anxious to see where they take it. There are lots of things to be done, including changing the current placeholder sound effects for example, but so far it is really shaping up well. I cant wait to see how the game comes along in the next few months.

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