FIST Forged in Shadow Torch is the second work of TiGames, a Chinese development house. It is a metroidvania set in a dieselpunk setting, inhabited by anthropomorphic animals: the story follows the adventure of Rayton, an expert combat robot pilot.
Faced with the arrest of his best friend by the Machine Legion, the protagonist decides to get back into action and free Torch City from the oppression of robots, completing his mission once and for all.
While not shining for depth, all the characters work well within the role they have been assigned and, for those interested in the unfolding of events and not just the blows, there will be several twists.
The design, although extremely classic, is well thought out and also quite accurate, especially as regards the protagonist and the weapons at his disposal; the same can be said for the direction of the films and the technical sector in general, very valid if we consider the independent nature of the project and the small size of the team behind it.
The fighting animations are fluid and the controls responsive, the framerate is stable even in the console version of the game and the uploads between one area and another last a little over a few seconds: in short, a great job, from every point of view.
Rayton will fight the Legion with fists, literally: his main weapon, in fact, is the gigantic metal hand from which the title of the video game also derives. Proceeding in the story, the FIST will be able to take on different forms, which will allow the protagonist to reach areas closed up to that moment; in addition to this, new moves, combos and abilities will be made available for use in battle.
From this point of view, the combat system of FIST Forged in Shadow Torch is really well thought out, with the possibility of changing the shape of the weapon at any time, choosing the most effective one based on the type of enemy that will stand in front of us. .
One of the few discordant notes of the gameplay is the tendency to visual chaos of the fights: all in a game with the massive presence of enemies of very different types, positioned within an environment developed on two dimensions, which often lead the player in confusion, especially during the first hours of the game.
Even the pure platforming sections, while presenting many small and delicious secrets, often have a slightly excessive duration and one gets the impression that this was done to “lengthen the soup” and make the game – unnecessarily – longer.
Fina from the first days after the release, part of the public also complained of the excessive difficulty of some fights, but the thing was solved thanks to the timely introduction of an Easy Mode, which makes the protagonist much more resistant to damage. In any case, whether or not you choose to opt for this simplified version of the experience, FIST Forged in Shadow Torch allows you to quickly tackle any room on the map, thanks to a good system of checkpoints and fast travel.
Those listed above are however small smudges, which do not affect the quality of the product and are limited to making it slightly less smooth and replayable, given that in any case we are talking about a campaign with an average duration of about ten hours, completism excluded.
In addition to the main mission, in fact, Rayton will be able to lend a hand (or rather, a paw) to the other furry inhabitants of Torch City. The side missions offer useful rewards for upgrading the protagonist’s skill tree and other small goodies, such as the ability to change the color of the FIST AND the enhancement of the effects of carrot juice, the game’s healing drink.
FIST Forged in Shadow Torch proves to be a remarkable job for such a young development team; however, it suffers from various balance problems, mitigated only in part by the introduction of an Easy Mode, as well as by a narrative rhythm that is not always in top form. A purchase certainly highly recommended for lovers of the metroidvania genre.