Need to know
What is it? A turn-based roguelike with a focus on intense melee.
Expect to pay $ 25 / £ 19.49
Developer Ground Shatter
Publisher Condition 7
Reviewed it Nvidia GTX 970, Intel I5-4460, 32GB ram
Link Official Site
Smashing an armed goon’s head against the wall before sending his comrade out of a third-floor window does not sound very strategic on paper, but the small turn-based battle in Fights in Tight Spaces turns even the simplest enemy encounter into an intricate encounter. puzzles where the only solution is your fists. While its sloppy features can sometimes detract from the overall experience, the unforgettable moments where everything comes together in a glorious display of cinematic violence always shine through.
When you step into the well-polished shoes of Agent 11, a superspy tasked with defeating international criminal syndicates, the game’s basic plot serves no more than a set of dressing to loosely assemble the five separate worlds where the action takes place. Divided into a series of semi-procedurally generated levels, each world makes you battle your way through a series of tightly closed locations ranging from tightly packed subway cars to compact office corridors. The Hollywood influences are clear to see, and it’s undeniably exciting to try your hand at recreating some iconic movie moments like Casino Royale’s opening match in the bathroom or shootout in the Hard Boiled tea room.
Despite being reproduced in the same charming minimalist style, each world manages to convey enough of a unique aesthetic to distinguish them in memorable ways – a fact greatly aided by the vast array of enemy designs just waiting to be discovered. Alone in my first run, I ended up fighting a fearsome prison chef before bumping into a gang of bloodthirsty ninjas, and yet the large number of types offered meant that each subsequent throughplay still had plenty of surprises in store.
In addition to the clear visual differences, later enemies can also be recognized by their clear fighting abilities. Early on, the new introductions are limited to basic buffs, like having a slightly higher health pool or regenerating shields. But soon you are dealing with the complex attack patterns of long-range firearms or enemies with the ability to deliver a sudden counterattack outside their turns.
It is certainly good that things start slowly as the fight itself is deceptively deep and in my experience easily took a few hours of practice to master. With battles centered primarily around improvisation, you get each turn to juggle limited energy resources with a set of selectable cards representing different attacks, dodges, blocks, and moves. Each card has a specific energy cost that must be met to play it, and there is a huge amount of strategy in deciphering the most efficient way to use your energy with each available hand.
On-screen indicators highlight projected enemy movements to aid your decision making, which means you often have to make the difficult choice of either avoiding an attack or landing an extra hit on your opponent. This not only gives every confrontation an arousing cat and mouse feel, but also allows you to take advantage of an enemy’s future moves to your advantage. There is simply nothing more satisfying than watching an unsuspecting grunt being pushed into a shower of impending shots, and I was delighted when my meticulous plan to place a group of enemies for everyone to hit each other in the face at the same time unfolded. in a suitably glorious Rube Goldberg fashion.
At the end of a turn, your opponents are given the opportunity to take their actions before a new six-card hand is randomly drawn from the deck. Once each card has been played or discarded, the deck is shuffled and the process starts again. This core gameplay loop may seem simple at first, but the addition of Momentum, which measures combat flow with a numerical value that increases with each attack but decreases with blocking or movement, adds an extra layer of depth to overcome. Momentum can be used independently of energy and is primarily reserved for powerful special moves that work much like the combinations found in more conventional fighting games, but with an even greater degree of control over exactly how and when moves are played.
There are cards that also represent several types of injuries that can show up in your card game and slowly degrade your health if you take too many strokes. These can only be cleared after the battle is over, making frequent use of dodges and blocks that are crucial to survival when they come head to head with the hard-hitting enemies introduced in the late game. The result is a combat system that is remarkably easy to pick up and enjoy from the start – especially on the significantly more forgiving lower difficulty – but also one with more than enough depth to maintain long-term interest over multiple plays.
The emphasis on repeat runs works well, with the gradual unlocking of new starting tires and even the ability to build your own that helps create a solid sense of progression. The same can not be said about a small handful of the game’s other roguelike elements. In particular, each mission’s bonus goal, which can be accomplished to make money, becomes far too difficult as the game progresses.
Challenges such as completing increasingly difficult levels in a pitifully small amount of turns can at times seem downright impossible, and my limited successes were always far more dependent on the luck of the draw than any actual skill. To make matters worse, money is spent on everything from upgrading cards on the go to rebuilding health between battles, making it an important part of victory in higher difficulty. I quickly found that the most effective strategy involved early on focusing solely on the easy optional goals to ensure I had enough money for upgrades when the challenges became too difficult to complete, which spoiled the flow of the campaign. It’s by no means a deal breaker, but this somewhat haphazard implementation of the game’s economy stands out among the unusually polished matches and clean images.