Reviews - Updated on March 30, 2022

Metroidvania reviews appear on our site almost every month, but today’s guest is special. Firstly, this is the Chinese console metroidvania – a rather rare instance in our area, since many games from the Middle Kingdom do not reach the West. Secondly, the project was still at the development stage, it turned out to be good enough for Sony to support the authors as part of the China Hero Project initiative. And thirdly, the main character of FIST: Forged In Shadow Torch is a hare with a huge iron fist. Is it possible to deprive such a game of attention?

Doomfist

The hare’s name is Rayton, and he is a former Resistance fighter who lay low six years ago and hasn’t taken up arms since. He retired immediately after the animals in Torch City lost the war to the Robot Legion. He had to return to duty at the moment when his only remaining friend was kidnapped by those same robots. Then he put on a huge iron fist and set off on a long journey, where he would meet with an old acquaintance.

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch: Обзор

There were no Russian subtitles in the pre-release version, but they were planned to be added with the first day patch – if they had time.

The story is hardly original, but it is presented in an unusual manner. First of all, the magnificent style captivates – you hardly saw Chinese dieselpunk anywhere else. The artists paid a lot of attention to the backdrops, and from time to time FIST turns into a generator of luxurious screenshots – especially in a location reminiscent of noir works. Only here, neon signs are made up of hieroglyphs, and animals are depicted on advertising posters instead of people.

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch: Обзор

Beauty!

Anthropomorphic animals perfectly complement the atmosphere – as Biomutant has shown, not every game can be saved by cute fluffies, but here nothing needs to be saved. All the main lines are voiced, and I have not been able to figure out which of the voice acting is better. In English, the protagonist speaks in a low voice, like Max Payne, which goes well with his scowl. But from time to time you stumble upon characters whose lines seem to be read from a piece of paper with an inappropriate timbre. In the Chinese version, there are fewer such situations, but the protagonist does not sound so colorful. Fortunately, you can switch between voiceovers on the fly.

But the gameplay of FIST is hardly surprising – this is a standard, even textbook metroidvania without any frills. We explore locations with a side view, regularly stumble upon obstacles that can be overcome after obtaining some skills, we fight a lot. You can only fight here in close combat, just like in Axiom Verge 2 and Guacamelee! At first, only a fist is available, but later the rabbit acquires a drill and a lightning bolt – the first it wields almost like a Big Daddy from BioShock, and the second resembles an electric whip.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

They tried to make fights in FIST diverse – there are enough types of opponents, and there are plenty of abilities. By collecting currency, you can purchase new combat skills in special terminals, including combinations of blows. At first, you just try to crush opponents with a drill, but as soon as you open simple combinations, you already create whirlwinds, hit the ground hard, throw enemies into the air, and so on. The same with the fist and the whip. Some combos can interrupt an opponent’s attack, which is very useful, especially against bosses.

It is difficult to say which weapon is the best. When you get a whip, you want to use only it – it continues to aim at the target even during the jump, does not slow down the character and has a greater range. But combinations with a drill look much more fun, and the fist is the main star of the game – many enemies can be grabbed and thrown aside. If you hit another opponent – both will roll on the ground, and you will be able to grab one of them again if he does not have time to escape with a somersault. Plus, you can switch between weapons right in the middle of a combo, since this is done with one button.

Switching is optional, but sometimes it’s hard to resist.

So fighting in FIST does not get boring, and in general the game does not get bored – it does not bring anything new to the genre, but this is far from always necessary. It is enough to create a decent metroidvania that meets modern quality standards. Here, it’s exciting to explore the locations, and the areas themselves are diverse (there are sewers, a snowy region, a factory, and an underwater zone).

It’s hard to get into the game. The map is extremely good – it shows missed items, and it is very convenient to navigate through it. The interface is stylish and does not give away cheapness. The rollers on the engine look great; transitions between them and gameplay moments are not very successful, but it’s forgivable. The bosses are wonderful and sometimes punish for haste – because of them, the difficulty may seem unbalanced, but you just need to be careful. Even collectible items are useful – for each poster you find, you get a new weapon skin.

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch: Обзор

One of the coloring pages turns a drill into a carrot.

I can only scold the game for not the most convenient teleport system. There are very few of them here, so sometimes you have to go a long way. You especially lose a lot of time when clearing locations – you have to go through all sorts of test rooms with lasers or electrified platforms a second time. Fortunately, in many cases, the developers have not forgotten to add “shortcuts”, you just need to find them – there are a lot of doors that open only from one side. But still, a few extra teleports would not hurt.

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch: Обзор

Bosses always look menacing.

FIST: Forged In Shadow Torch turned out to be a successful metroidvania that both plays well and looks great. No need to expect anything special from it – it’s just a high-quality game made by people who clearly understand something in the genre and probably drew inspiration from successful releases of Western colleagues.

Pros: beautiful graphics and excellent location design; exciting gameplay in the spirit of classic metroidvanias; thanks to new techniques and a variety of opponents, fights do not get bored; a convenient map that allows you to easily clear unexplored areas; good bosses.

Cons: lack of original gameplay ideas; Not enough fast travel points.

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