PlayStation PlayStation 5

F.I.S.T. Is A Knock Out Among Brawling Platformers


F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch

Developer: TiGames
Publisher: Microids
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

F.I.S.T. Forged In Shadow Torch is one of many "Metroidvanias" that I wound up covering with each title showing the beauty of a vast "unofficial" genre. Last week I looked at Haiku The Robot and praised it for its retro roots. Another game we played, Blind Fate Edo no Yami was on the other end of the "Metroidvania" spectrum in which I praised it for its modernity.

F.I.S.T. fits more towards the latter, with its expressive story, impressive visuals, and often light-hearted design. Perhaps it is due to the cast of characters all being animals, but historically animals in media have been used to discuss serious topics in an "easy-going" way. One look at Rayton, our rabbit protagonist, and my initial thoughts were that of a Disney / Star Fox protagonist. Bears, raccoons, and many other animals round up our lead characters.


Despite their "cute" appearances, the dialogue and story are very adult-like, featuring a dystopia where civilization is at the mercy of those of a higher power. Curfews and strict laws are the norm and any act of defiance, no matter how small, is punishable by death. There are many examples of world-building in F.I.S.T. be it through dialogue or through excerpts of an "underground newspaper" that can be collected by Rayton.

The story begins with Rayton and his long-time friend, Urso, sharing ramen at a local spot before curfew. Urso wants Rayton back in the fight against the oppressors but Rayton, haunted by his past as a pilot, is hesitant to accept until the very next day it's revealed Urso is held captive. Encouraged to save his friend, he brings out his weapon, a giant metal fist, to save his friend. This action alone is enough to start a chain of events, but in the early stages, the player runs through the dilapidated city taking all the help they can get.


Rayton's Fist has a mix of standard and heavy attacks that can be combined to create combos. Upon dealing enough damage to enemies, Rayton can execute them for a flashy finish. The execution can be upgraded to replenish his special meter, which is used for either powerful attacks or to restore his health. The special meter can also be replenished by destroying items which are also how health pick-ups are gathered. Early on, the player will also learn "Metroidvania" staples including wall kicks and double jumps.

What I enjoyed about F.I.S.T. like with most Metroidvanias is that the game doesn't tell you the "right way" to get to your destination. You do have access to a map and it does tell you where on the map is your current destination, but you can go off the beaten path to find goodies if you wish. An example is a room that appeared impassable at first, surrounded by hazards that will take you back to the beginning of the room should you fall into it.

If you have the Wall Kick power up, you can carefully navigate through the room with proper jumping and dashing. While I felt it wasn't the most challenging room (Largely thanks to the Klonoa bonus levels for helping me flex my platforming muscle), it was a fun challenge and your reward is a bonus gallery item. Again, nothing too crazy of a reward, but the thought of receiving something for your efforts is what counts. Usually, you earn bonus gear to upgrade your moves, and the more you upgrade, the more well-equipped you are to take on challenges.

I liked the creativity that comes with dispatching your enemies as even in the early stages you have a freedom of movement similar to that of the conventional beat-em-up. What surprised me the most is how the game maintained an E10+ rating, considering the obvious alcohol references ("carrot juice"), violence, and some of the more adult themes. It's commendable that the game received such a rating as I feel the animals were enough for the ESRB to go "Yeah rabbits killing robots? Sure, that's not a 'T-Rated' game!"


After defeating the first mini boss and receiving my first real upgrade, I felt like I was slowly becoming a "badass" so to speak. Jumping and kicking off alleyways and old buildings while defeating enemies in air-to-air combat felt enjoyable. The environment wasn't just some "abandoned castle" or "space station," but something one could consider familiar.

These are what make F.I.S.T. relatable and after an hour of playtime, I understand how a game got such a following. With a physical release on the way complete with goodies, players can own a physical version of a modern classic as they save their comrades from a dystopian regime. Or just bash some robots in the face into submission.


F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch is available on the Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S

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