Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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An unlikely hero. Bears. Lots and lots of plaid. A talking, time-traveling fist. These are only a handful of examples as to what players can expect when they jump in to FIST OF AWESOME. It’s certainly a weird, wacky, and wild beat-em-up with old school brawler roots and a few modern concessions. There are a few not-so-awesome issues nestled in with all those homicidal talking bears, however.
Tim Burr is just a hard-working lumberjack with simple aspirations and a close group of friends. His is a happy life, and he envies no one. That is until the timeline is inexplicably altered and bears become the dominant species of Earth. Tim’s hand begins speaking to him, identifying itself as the FIST OF AWESOME and taking him on a journey through several eras in history - all overrun with bears - as the unlikely duo set out to fix history.
FIST OF AWESOME is a straightforward brawler. Players move Tim by sliding their thumb along the left side of the screen while attacks are performed with the right. Tap to punch, swipe to kick, hold to use a super attack, that sort of thing. After completing each level there’s also a chance that our hero will gain a level, in which case players can then decide if they’d like to upgrade his health, attack, speed, or super. It’s not all about fighting bears for the sake of human history, however. There’s also an Arena Mode that allows players to jump in to any previously completed stages and fight it out for some bonus experience and bragging rights.
The ridiculousness of FIST OF AWESOME’s story and characters is immediately charming, as is the semi-retro graphic style that’s simple but still packed with little details that make the different characters and environments pop. The basic leveling mechanic is also very much appreciated as it makes character progression feel a bit more personal and satisfying. And that Arena; dang. It’s like a game in itself with several characters to play as (and level-up), a bunch of levels to conquer, and random challenges (stun 2 enemies, get a 27-hit combo, etc) that pop-up to give players a chance to extend their time limit if they complete them.
I had a few issues with the game misreading my inputs, however. It’s normally not too bad when Tim does a back kick rather than a super punch, but when surrounded by enemies it can make all the difference. That’s my second problem, actually; enemies swarm and can lock Tim out of any sort of movement until he gets thrown to the ground. I get that it’s an old school brawler at heart, but getting stuck like that - especially when some enemies have a longer reach than Tim does - can be really frustrating.
Aggravating mobs and occasionally dodgy controls aside, FIST OF AWESOME definitely lives up to its namesake. This is one crazy, weird, challenging, and content-rich brawler that iOS owners shouldn’t miss.