For individuals lucky enough to attend the 2013 EuroGamer Expo, a trip into the Indie Arcade granted all manner of playable treats. Not least of which was the brilliantly unique Fist Of Awesome, created by developmental one-man band Nicoll Hunt, on behalf of his studio I Fight Bears.
After sinking some time into the game, I got the chance to discuss the game’s progress with Nicoll.
Fist Of Awesome is the kind of retro-inspired delight that evokes the best kind of memories from an age gone by. Described on its homepage as a time-travelling lumberjack-em-up, this is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is all the better for it.
It’s thoroughly evident that Nicoll’s inspiration for the title is firmly set in a very specific era, as his own description of the game infers:
“It’s basically my love-letter to beat-em-up’s of the golden-age of gaming. Games like Double Dragon and Streets Of Rage.”
Although, the title’s old-school inspirations are clear, the game plays as intuitively as the very best IOS titles. Played on an iPad, the left side of the screen controls protagonist Tim Burr’s movement, whilst the right side of the screen controls his attacks. With attacks ranging from punches (as the title would suggest), kicks and even the occasional flying-kick. The control scheme is sharp and responsive, which allows the player to truly drink in the fun art style and awesome synth soundtrack.
Other than the aforementioned soundtrack, Nicoll handles all of the creative process himself:
“It’s very time-consuming. What I like about being a one-man band, like I don’t do the music that’s the only thing I handed off to someone else, but with everything else because it’s me doing it I feel like I can inject more of myself into the product.”
“Fist Of Awesome is, more than anything I’ve made before, a product of me and my character and my sense of humour and my sensibilities about game design…I feel very strongly that it’s MY game.”
Nicoll’s DNA runs thick through every vein of Fist Of Awesome, culminating in a product that holds a truly unique feel. Fighting off hordes of angry bears, whilst snappy gags and one liners fizz into view, is the kind of unadulterated fun that had me invested after a very short amount of time.
Recollecting on his previous work, Nicoll acknowledges that his career in games development has been a work in progress. Formerly of Codemasters, working on much larger projects in scale was integral to his understanding of game design.
“It taught me everything I needed to know about making games.”
“That’s been essential for me becoming an indie developer, I think.”
But never to be caught reminiscing, Nicoll went on to elaborate on his pride regarding his current project Fist Of Awesome. Giving specific insight as to which part of the title has made him proudest thus far:
“The poster-shot, Fist Of Awesome, of the lumberjack with his giant fist, upper-cutting a grizzly bear in the face.”
A visual spectacle if ever there’s been one. But in essence, this brand of old-school madness is exactly what the title is about. It’s homage to the golden-era that Nicoll refers to, is primarily a commitment dedicated to providing one thing: fun. Which it achieves even after a short duration.
When questioned on his creative motivations for both the game and for his career as an independent developer in general, Nicoll cited the importance of reviews and sales, but noted that his key drive was:
“To be respected by my peers…that for me is more important than anything.”
Fist of Awesome is a fusion of old-school sensibilities and newfound technologies, which has the potential to equate to far more than the sum of its parts. Injected with an unparalleled level of enthusiasm and a thoroughly entertaining concept, Fist Of Awesome is set to satisfy all of you bear-brawling needs upon its arrival on IOS, Android, Ouya, and Gamestick come 17TH October.
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Playstation obsessive and Red Bull fiend. Will play anything and everything. Max Payne champion, adequate FIFA player and hopeless driver. Currently studying Journalism at The University of Salford in the hopes of achieving game-reporting glory. A man can dream.