Has there ever been a problem that couldn’t be solved by repeatedly punching it in or around the face? Honestly, as a society it’s time to bring back pure caveman (or cavewoman… because women can live in caves too) instinct and start punching things until life is normal again. Emotions? Punch things. Death? Punch everything. The knowledge of the terrifying end of all things and yourself in the inevitable heat death of the universe? Punch… well maybe not that. Fist Puncher may not solve your existential crisis, but it can take your mind off the endless monotony of everyday life with the joy of punching. You may also want to strap in for a trip to side-scrolling games of yore as this one is a modern take on the old classic Streets of Rage.
Fist Puncher starts off with a well… fistful of nostalgia that immediately takes the player back to ye olde 1990s. The bright 8-bit pixels and nonsensical plot is a great way to take the player back to a simpler time in video gaming. The player assumes control of the righteous “Dr. Karate” (who not has only a PhD in punching but an MD in brain surgery) in an epic battle to rescue some gorgeous gals kidnapped by the fiendish Milkman before the big “Miss Fist Puncher Beauty Pageant.” The city of San Cruces is held in his evil grip and only Dr. Karate and a rather large cast of characters can save them. There isn’t much more of a plot past that. You’re gonna beat up some guys on a beach, in a bar, in an alley and really anywhere that you can normally punch people in the real world. Eventually you’ll save the day and the ladies. But you’re going to punch through 50 levels first and that, dear reader, is a lot of fisting.
Fist Puncher is a lot of fun and has enough going on that one cannot really complain about the semi-expensive price tag ($10) that comes with an 8-bit game that is about punching in a variety of locations. This 2D brawler packs in not only a plethora of levels but for those who may tire of punching (never!) there are also over a hundred items that one can use, and the player can basically pick up anything in the game to use as a weapon as well. Getting tired of shooting and punching? Pick up a cow and hurl it at your enemies.
The developers definitely worked at making damn sure you wouldn’t get bored quickly with this game. You can also upgrade your character, any of the 19 unlockable fighters, and build a custom warrior. Each character has a distinctive look and ridiculous name to go along with their set of slightly different moves. Spoiler: most are punching based. One can even go so far as to purchase upgrades with real world money; morally opposing such practices in mobile games, I did not opt to. Thankfully, there is enough additional characters and items that you really don’t need to buy the extra content. There needs to be a big disclaimer at about this point in the article. While this game may seem like a fisting-ly good time, there is one major drawback.
Fist Puncher is only playable on a select amount of Android devices that either have a controller or are a NVIDIA shield-controlled device. And that means that a large number (if not the majority) can’t even play this game on a mobile device. Fret not: those of you woefully staring at your inferior devices with much jealousy and melancholy. Fist Puncher is also available on the PC through Steam. And the first appearance of this game appears to be on the Adult Swim website, although it does not seem to have the amount of content as its mobile device brethren.
I had a lot of fun with Fist Puncher. The game can be incredibly frustrating as most side-scrolling brawler games can be and there will definitely be some level-grinding needed to get past some bosses. Additionally, the game really lacks a co-op element that makes this style of game way more enjoyable. Titles like Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game (which is incredibly similar, but also a far superior game) holds up in all the places that Fist Puncher fails including the addition of a cooperative element to the gameplay. The most glaring failure being that this game will never truly be that exciting is for the simple fact that the mobile version can’t really be played by that many people. And who out there really wants to fist by themselves?
Punch your way through this 2D side-scroller and save the world with your mighty fists! A slightly overpriced but hilarious game for those looking for a modernized take on an old classic.