Fist Puncher is a 2D beat 'em up game, highly inspired by the old 8/16bit era type of games like Streets of Rage and River City Ransom.
And it certainly wears those influences on its sleeves.
This game features very crude humor, which was amusing, for the most part, although it's probably not reason enough for you to play this game over any other. Still, it fit the theme well enough.
I have only played the SP mode, so it might be a fun game to screw around in Local Coop for a short while.
are very "retro" inspired. But, in this case, it's not retro in an innovative way... at all. The game looks quite ugly, in my opinion, but it certainly puts you in a similar mindset to when you played those older beat 'em ups, so hey... Personally, not a fan, but I don't mind it too much.
You'll visit several different looking areas, keeping the levels somewhat fresh (although only visually).
What I will say, though, is that the enemies don't really telegraph their attacks a whole lot. Every sprite movement is a bit too subtle for the player to notice when being attacked by a whole mob of them... This creates a bunch of problems, along with invincibility-frames and the mini-stuns. But I'll talk about that further ahead.
I can't say much for the music
, in this case. This is the type of game that I like to play while listening to my own music since immersion
is not exactly the focus here, is it?
The sound effects
were pretty standard, but they gave that cheesy feeling of impact, as it should, so it's all good, here.
Before moving on to the mechanics, I'll write about the structure
This game has you go through a variety of stages (usually featuring a boss fight in the end), in order to save several of the Misses of the world. Typical damsel in distress affair(or... is it?). But hey, it's supposed to be cheesy and over the top.
You have an overworld map with different paths, so you can tackle levels in different order, if you're having difficulty somewhere.
You also have several characters to choose from. While each has its own backstory, the dialogue doesn't change at all, from what I've seen, so it's mostly a reskin.
While they feature different moves, visually, they all behave very alike, which is unfortunate. Every character has the same type of moves, only changing one special ability (which is not that special), and their starting attributes.
And speaking of attributes, this also has a progression system, giving the game some very light RPG elements (not as unique as River City Ransom did, though). By killing enemies, you'll gain experience, and occasionally level up. By doing so, you'll earn points to spend in attributes (Strength, Speed, Defense, Special Meter and Health Pickups), and also gain Perks. These don't change the game very much. Essentially, they just give you a special ability to choose from, and multiple lives later on.
All in all, it felt very shallow, since it barely altered gameplay, aside from the numerical standpoint. And it had one giant flaw
The fact that experience was NOT shared. So, once you leveled up a character, you'll be making all other characters weaker by comparison. Which means that if you want to try out the different characters, you'll have the replay the levels to get to the same level. Otherwise, you'll just change to a weaker character that takes way too long to kill enemies, for no reason.
This is really bad design, from my perspective.
It renders the characters completely useless, in single player. Sure, it can be used to give the game replayability, but the game already stretches itself way too thin by having an 8 hour campaign that gets very repetitive...
It would have been much greater if it gave a shared pool of point to apply to different characters. That way, the player could feel free to try every character at will, right after unlocking them, and without feeling much weaker.
I don't understand this design choice... if you think it's no big deal to you, then it's fine. I don't.
So, how's combat
Well, very basic. You punch fast, kick slowly, run and jump. Then you have a couple of special abilities, which are usually limited to a Dash attack, and Spin attack, and a projectile. There are also jump kicks and things like that, but overall, the combat was very spammy.
And you don't really need to try and change your strategy around. It's basically about using the Dash attack while you have stamina, knicking enemies down and jumping onto them. You can also grab enemies, but since you're always assaulted by a bunch of them at once, it proves to be useless, and you're better offer just attacking multiple enemies at once.
And unfortunately, the majority of the game plays like that.
All the enemies are VERY similar, although some had guns, others dodged a bit more, some self-exploded, etc. But they barely required different approaches. And do make things worse, every difficulty option just played the same!
Instead of creating harder battle situations, with different types of enemies, they simply increased their attributes, thus making it harder.
An uninteresting and uninspired way of doing difficulty, in my opinion.
Then, there's the stun and hitbox problem.
Bosses are usually just bigger versions of the standard mobs (with a couple of exceptions, of course), but since they're huge, you can just attack their head, and they'll be unable to attack you, since you're above their range.
As I said previously, you can't tell very well when enemies are stunned or not, so, if you try to combo your attacks, you'll simply be attacked back, out of nowhere, with no chance of escape. And Bosses can very easily 2 hit you, so that's not a good option, is it?
So, again. Just jump around, use the Dash attack and punch him 2-3 times at most. Then run away. And repeat. And it's about 5-6 hours of this.
It feels way too generic to me. The game didn't seem to try and make gameplay interesting in any way. It took the classic beat 'em up formula, and used it straight up, with close to no addition.
Well... that doesn't make a very good game. That game isn't awful or anything, and I enjoyed it when I started out. But it just drags, and drags... The characters could have altered that, but didn't. The progression system could have been interesting. Again, missed the target.
So, you're left with very little.
Then, there are a few deviations from the typical level design. There's a level in which you ride an ostrich through a desert mine field. Dude, that's badass! You simply have to focus on dodging the mines on the ground. But then again, you die in 2 hits...
I personally didn't have a problem with this level in particular, but some people did.
Then, there's a level in which you have to attack the thugs, but avoid hitting the lawyers, or they'll sue you. And one punch equals to a failed level, and you'll have to restart. The problem is that the AI of the lawyers is ♥♥♥♥ing annoying. Seriously. There are more lawyers than enemies on the screen, in a small space, and they jump in front of you out of nowhere. I spent waaay too long in this level. It made no sense, the way it was implemented. And there were a lot of frustrating levels like that.
While the idea of breaking up the pacing is very nice, the levels didn't seem to be very well tested, and ended up being a frustrating mess, for the most part.
There are levels about deactivating bombs, trying to send ninjas off of a truck's roof, etc.
Some were funny, and I liked the ideas! But the execution was poor.
So yeah. If you really like any kind of beat 'em up, then give this one a go. It's not awful. But if your standards are a bit higher, look another way. It does everything "by the book", with little to no innovation, and even the basic mechanics are dubious, with dodgy hitboxes and stun-frames. It also stretched itself thin.