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Bizarre blocky brawler Spartan Fist busts out today

Fist world problems

When all you've got is a fist, every problem starts to look like a face to punch. And when those faces just happen to look as chunky and blocky as everything else in the world, well, why not punch them all? Weird little first-person brawler (fist-person?) Spartan Fist has launched today, promising roguelike structure, '80s punk-aerobics aesthetics and scurrilous cats offering you sketchy under-the-table deals. Within, the punchily-paced launch trailer.

I've been following the development of Spartan Fist on and off for some time. Fans of ACE Team's bizarre Zeno Clash series will find themselves right at home here, as Spartan Fist is all about building on that classic 90s side-scrolling brawler format, but transposing it into first-person. While not a huge number of games have tackled the concept before, a few have done surprisingly well, including Starbreeze's surprisingly great Chronicles of Riddick game back in 2009.

It's a funny reminder of just how much violence you can get away with in games when things are just a little bit cute and abstract. Blood feels a lot less... err... bloody when it's big chunky cuboids that you could build cute toy houses out of. Plus, decapitation loses most of its gory edge when everyone's constructed out of floating body-parts ala Rayman to begin with. Would that even be decapitation? Or just dislocation?

Anyhow, the game promises simple and accessible combat, but with a high skill ceiling and lots of room for players to learn their way around the many mechanics. In addition to biffing your enemies into various arena obstacles, you can replace your fists with assorted weird and wonderful objects, or imbue existing hands with additional punch-magic by dipping them in fonts of power.

Oddly enough, the game is also a sequel of sorts to both of Glass Bottom Games' previous titles, including detective-adventure platformer Hot Tin Roof, and fire-fighting endless runner Jones on Fire. Quite why heroic sleuth Emma Jones and her talking cat Franky have decided to punch a thousand people into little meaty pieces is beyond me, but I'm sure there's a good reason for it. Maybe.

Spartan Fist is out now on Steam for £11.39/$15, minus a little launch discount.

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Spartan Fist

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Dominic Tarason