Fist of Awesome Hands-On Preview

Last year, a pixelated beat ‘em up called Fist of Awesome (from the creator of Hard Lines) reached its Kickstarter goals to undergo development for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Ouya.  After months of fighting bears and “punching up” the humor, the developers have let us know that Fist of Awesome is nearly ready for wide release. We had a chance to go hands-on with this absurd, highly entertaining brawler, so read on for details.

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Fist of Awesome tells the story of Tim Burr, a lumberjack who one day finds that all of human history has been altered. Now humans are served up in restaurants or on display in zoos, while animals wear suits and run the world. Tim and his oversized, talking fist have to fight their way back through time to correct this terrible reversal.

Fist of Awesome feels similar to classic arcade beat ‘em ups like Streets of Rage, where you move to the right and defeat lesser punks before facing a giant boss. The controls are extremely well-suited to the touchscreen, with the left side of the screen controlling Tim’s movement, while the right side controls his attacks. You can tap for a quick series of punches, hold down for a giant fist, or swipe to kick, jump, and stomp. The combination of taps, presses, and swipes make combat feel varied, although it would have been great to make Tim dash or roll as well.

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Instead of street punks, Tim has to fight deer and bears, who stand on two feet and wear snazzy outfits. At the end of each level, you’ll face a boss, one of whom is a giant bear dressed like a character from The Warriors. When you go back in time, you’ll also have to fight dinosaurs, and primitive bears wearing Flintstones-like pelts.

As you can probably tell, the outrageous humor is one of Fist of Awesome’s best features. You’ll pass by silly establishments like the “Bear Grillz” restaurant, or a Human Zoo, which appears to feature members of the development team. The story just gets stranger as you progress, making Fist of Awesome about more than just beating up animals and leveling up your character.

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From what we’ve played, Fist of Awesome is a well-designed, cheeky brawler with a great combination of solid gameplay mechanics and ridiculous humor. It’s due to launch on October 17 for mobile devices, and will be out this winter on PC and Mac.

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