In case you didn’t know, FIST: Forged In the Shadow Torch is a metroidvania, a 2D action platformer that combines easy but fun combat with a degree of exploration. And the script as a flow may not boast of laurels of originality, but the protagonists and the impeccable aesthetics of the game’s steampunk world are certainly interesting.
The protagonist is Rayton, a rabbit-veteran warrior who is tired of the battles he has fought in the past, but his adventure will lead him to play a decisive role in the liberation of Torch City. You see, the city has been taken over by a robotic legion and the rest of the inhabitants have been disillusioned anyway and are slowly planning their revolution. And Rayton could not be more than an inspiration to start the fight for freedom. The gameplay of FIST is characterized by its simplicity and efficiency. Steampunk Torch City is navigated exclusively in two dimensions with the third dimension coming into play when performing special moves, but only visually. Being equipped with practically a big punch, the moves Rayton uses are more than fun and the animation quite imaginative of him. Both fast and slower and of course the most effective attacks combine with each other and create combos organically, without tiring the player or requiring fighting game skill.
During our exploration, Rayton acquires new gadgets from certain townspeople. Like a classic metroidvania title, each new gadget allows him to reach places he couldn’t before, but not alone. In addition, the mechanics of the gadgets themselves enrich the battle and are valuable tools for Rayton to complete his adventure. For example, at first Rayton gains the ability to use walls to increase his speed, then he gains the classic double jump, thus adding abilities to his repertoire. The acquisition of the new skills is done through a store where we spend points and magnetic discs obtained during our exploration. The rate at which we get upgrades is very satisfying, without intentionally slowing the player down or making them feel artificially confined to the game world. The duration of the title is about 15 hours with a lot of exploration and backtracking of course. Using the map makes navigating to each objective relatively easy, but it’s good to keep in mind that you have to pause to consult it. Platforming, on the other hand, uses simple mechanisms, combined with the updates we mentioned before.
Technically, while FIST’s design is nothing really radical by any means, we can say that we were particularly happy with a fixed 60fps during our play on PlayStation 5. On PlayStation 4, on the other hand (whether casual or professional), the action it runs at 30 frames per second but also at a lower resolution. In the rest of the graphic elements, the two versions are only slightly different, which is a shame since, especially during battles, we thought that in the case of PlayStation 4 Pro, some Dynamic Resolution Scaling mechanism could be used to achieve 60 paintings. per second.
On the drawbacks of the title, we could say that the gameplay could be more varied during its duration. It’s not that we don’t see the effort from the developers, especially as Rayton’s adventure draws to a close, but we’d still like something more, to make it truly memorable.
What ultimately sets the release of FIST: Forged In The Shadow Torch apart is the style. The detailed mix of levels, the shortcuts that are unlocked through the use of upgrades, and the battles that break the “drums” of exploration give the game a character that definitely makes it stand out in the metroidvania universe out there. Even if it’s not the game of the generation, or something you’ll actually remember, the 15 hours of pure fun we spent was enough to recommend it to fans of the genre. TI Games has delivered a really strong result, which we appreciate immensely, but also something that definitely makes us want to take a look at their next effort.