After a brief period of reluctant acceptance, I’ve grown incredibly weary of the freemium model once again. The problem, inherently, is that the focus for developers becomes how to monetise from within the app, with frustrating this-would-be-easier-if-you-gave-us-some-money gameplay sadly being an industry favourite.
As such, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Nicoll Hunt of I Fight Bears, a chap who’d “much rather be Jeff Minter than King.com”. Señor Hunt and team have come up with a little something called FIST OF AWESOME (£2.49 @ App Store, £2.50 @ Google Play) with a grand total of zero in-app purchases, and while it’s maybe not the best game I’ve played all year, it’s certainly one of my favourites.
FIST OF AWESOME is “a heartfelt love-letter” to old-school side-scrolling brawlers like Double Dragon, Streets of Rage and Final Fight. It’s also the world’s first – and hence best – “time-travelling-lumberjack-em-up”.
Our protagonist is one Tim Burr, and his day takes a turn for the worse when his family disappears and his house spontaneously bursts into flames. Worse still, his hand can suddenly talk, and quickly breaks the news that bears now rule the world.
Of course, with bears in charge, there’s not much place in the new reality for humans – other than in a zoo and/or providing delicious edible testicles for the animal population.
With guidance from the titular FIST OF AWESOME, Tim brawls his way through an army of belligerent bears, bison and dinosaurs (obviously) with the ultimate goal of turning the course of history back in favour of humanity.
There’s a surprising amount of stuff going on with the touch controls. While your left hand controls movement, your right can punch, jump, kick, jump kick, throw, and unleash the FIST OF AWESOME.
Other things to love about FIST OF AWESOME include the array of locations, from murky markets to glitzy nightclubs with dancing bears, and of course there’s a suitably retro chiptune soundtrack.
But the real star of the show is FIST OF AWESOME’s story, from the surreal opening scene detailed above, all the way through to its equally absurd climax.
Oh, and you should check out Nicoll’s recent blog post detailing the FIST OF AWESOME launch, alongside sales figures and revenue across the various platforms. Interesting stuff.
- The pixel-based presentation
- The soundtrack
- Array of locations
- The story
- No in-app purchases
- Maybe a tad samey
- Fairly short
Summary: Kudos to I Fight Bears for releasing a game that attempts to make money simply by being good, in an industry that increasingly seems to favour coercion. FIST OF AWESOME mightn’t change your life, but the outrageous story more than justifies the price of admission. Go play it.
Developer: I Fight Bears
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Android requirements: Froyo (Android 2.2) or above