Fist Puncher is Adult Swim Games’ homage to the 16-bit, side-scrolling beat-em-ups of yesteryear. Titles like River City Ransom, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage all seem to have inspired Fist Puncher, even if this PC release takes on a decidedly more humorous tone.
At the same time, Fist Puncher (as the above video shows) is a more competent entry in the genre — a byproduct of modern gaming mechanics and development tools. That isn’t to say the experience of playing Fist Puncher is more exciting than River City Ransom, just that, on a functional level, the gameplay is tighter.
Adult Swim Games also imbues the proceedings with some much-needed RPG elements, allowing players to increase their attributes through a leveling up system. There are also perks that unlock as players progress, which give them significant advantages in battle.
But most will be drawn to Fist Puncher for the typical Adult Swim brand of humor. The developer has been packaging whimsical, and occasionally absurd, story conceits around solid gameplay experiences (both homage and original creations) for several years now, and Fist Puncher is no exception.
Unfortunately, Fist Puncher is a little thin in terms of the moment-to-moment engagements — with players mostly mowing down waves of mindless enemies — and combat doesn’t evolve past a pretty simple formula. The game offers a bevy of abilities and attacks to choose from, but a healthy diet of basic punches and a few AOE attacks will get players through most of the game.
Co-op helps keep things alive, allowing players to bring up to 3 friends along for their first punching journey, but there doesn’t appear to be an option for online play. That fist punching journey, for those that might be curious, involves rescuing four “Ms. Fist Puncher” nominees that have been scattered across a dozen or more levels.
Overall Fist Puncher has a great sense of humor, and a nice look to it, but it’s combat (thus far) devolves into a basic routine too fast for my liking. There are a few non-traditional levels interspersed throughout the campaign, but they too lose momentum quickly. Fist Puncher has its heart in the right place, but its gameplay didn’t grab me as much as the art style and milieu did.
Have you had a chance to check out Fist Puncher? What do you think of the game?
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Fist Puncher is available now for $9.99 on Steam.