148Apps Network Post
Developer: GAMEVIL USA
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0.3
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

I’m finding it incredibly difficult to write this review for Fighter City. This isn’t because it’s terrible, or that I’m having a difficult time knowing what to say, but because I can’t put the freaking thing down long enough to type anything. I’ll admit that I balked at it after taking a look at the screens but as weird as the concept of a fighting game that doesn’t technically show any fighting is, it actually works.

Okay, there, I ran out of energy for now. So yeah, Fighter City. At first glance it doesn’t appear all that different than most other freemium player-versus-player iOS games. Trust me, it is different. The initial setup phase acts as a tutorial as well as a way for players to beef up their characters before the real fun begins. This includes things like equipping new costume items that sometimes have stat-altering effects, founding a dojo (a.k.a. base) that will earn cash and allow for the recruitment of other players, training, and of course a few starter fights.

As mundane as the combat sounds (i.e. watching a couple of motionless avatars shake while attack cards pop up on the screen), it’s actually pretty enthralling. As a character levels up they gain access to more combat techniques, and more combat techniques means more formidable fighting. We might not be watching them punch and kick, but we are watching them trade blows, and seeing my character block and counter an opponent with a big combo always brings a smile to my face. Likewise, I’m a big fan of all the various customization options (from the cosmetic to the useful). This is that kind of game, after all.

Aside from a few typical problems I’ve run into such as lag, server disconnects, and the occasional failure to receive rewards due to connection issues, there are a couple more things that bother me. First and foremost is the way that fight results can feel completely random. Case in point, I take on an NPC character and totally steamroll over them. I then fight the exact same type of character and proceed to get demolished multiple times in a row. It can be frustrating to lose so horribly to someone I know I can beat soundly, especially when they’re several levels below me. My other problem is that the prices for clothing items seem way too high. I can buy and train a move up several levels for the same cost as a level 5 (level 5!) shirt. That doesn’t seem quite right to me.

And yet, for all my complaining and frustration, I cannot stop playing Fighter City. It does what it does incredibly well. Enough so that I’m actually anxious to jump into a fight or two every time I have a free moment. Speaking of which, I should have more energy by now.

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