title=Fist of Fury
Don’t let life get you down, put your punchin’ gloves on and show the world you’re a champion in this retro boxing game.
In these economically egregious times, we all need a little release from the fiscal pressures dumped upon on our already strained shoulders. Even I need some respite from the current monetary melee, having just conducted a thoroughly British argument with my thoroughly British bank manager, both of us politely snarling, in a disturbingly reserved manner, down the phone line.
Allowing you to take your troubles to the ring, Fist of Fury is a retro-style boxing game for the iPhone. The game features five muscle-bound walking clichés for you to attempt to beat the pulp out of.
Before you’ve even set fist to face, or foot in ring, however, you’ll be struck down by the inordinately long load time. For a game that has the technical depth of a caveman dressed as a robot, it’s surprising that Fist of Fury takes so long to load.
Once past the loading screen comes the disappointment of seeing what took so long to load. The graphics on the title screen, like those in the rest of the game, look unfinished, more akin to placeholder graphics in a beta version. Only moments into the game, it’s apparent that very little effort has been spent on its visual design.
In the ring and on level one, my opponent was a beefy, retro-styled juggernaut. And yet this juggernaut, the boxing ring, and even my own character reminded me of something. A quick Google search later and it’s clear that Fist of Fury bares a striking resemblance to Nintendo’s NES classic Punch Out.
The audio in Fist of Fury, however, doesn’t bare any resemblance to Punch Out’s glorious blippy bloppy sound effects, nor is it reminiscent of the NES classic’s oddly jaunty music. Fist of Fury features no musical accompaniment and the sound effects, while satisfyingly 8-bit and tinny, are few and far between.
A Hollow Victory
Fists of Fury pits your character, the imaginatively titled John Doe, against five gargantuan opponents. John stands square in the center of the screen, riveted to the spot, perhaps through sheer fear. The only option open to the player is to keeping throwing punches while attempting to dodge your opponents’ onslaught of fists.
Tapping the left and right punch buttons cause John to flail the appropriate fist in the general direction of his enemy. It feels ineffective and devoid of any strategy. For your defense, by leaning the iPhone left or right, you’re able to dodge your opponents advances.
As there’s no tell, or indication of any sort, for when your opponent may punch, nor is there any strategically effective method to dodging and attacking beyond that of randomly leaning left and right, while bashing each punch button alternately. With the gameplay being so lacking in depth, each win in Fist of Fury feels frustratingly futile.
Note that I’ve not mentioned options or settings because there are none. There’s no way to change the game’s difficulty, no tutorial or control overview (understandable, given Fist of Fury’s strategic simplicity), nor is there the opportunity to change your character’s name or add a profile picture.
While the sound and graphics aren’t necessarily awful, they don’t bring anything new to retro-style gaming and are more of a rushed rip than an outright homage. The control mechanism and general game mechanic — no efficient strategy beyond whacking the punch buttons — is a disgustingly poor attempt at mimicking the depth and effectiveness of 8-bit boxing games.
At this point, my only hope is that this review shames the developers of Fist of Fury into either taking app development and their customers seriously, or throwing the towel in and leaving the industry. To summarize, I’ll be blunt as a punch square in the face: Avoid this awful game.