F.I.S.T. Forged In Shadow Torch – PC Review

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch is a Metroidvania action developed by TiGames and published by Antiidelay. The release of the game undeservedly passed without much fanfare, despite the studio managing to create a very exciting high-quality title filled with secrets, interesting story, fascinating combat and more.

The game has an interesting style, belonging to the dieselpunk genre that favorably emphasizes the atmosphere of F.I.S.T. and is woven extremely well into the history of the world.

The events of F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch take place in the city of Torch, inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. Six years before the story starts, the city had been occupied and colonized by the Machine Legion, an army of deadly machines that wants to turn every living being into their own kind.

While they still could, the animals of Torch resisted and sabotaged the efforts of the Legion. Over time, the life in the city became unbearable, and only a few anthropomorphs still find the strength to resist the repression and fight against the occupation regime.

The protagonist of the game is a rabbit named Rayton or Ray, the former soldier in the resistance war. At some point, he gave up and decided to live his life out in seclusion. But everything changes when his friend repairs a mechanical fist from an old exoskeleton used by Ray in the war. With his old friend forcibly arrested, Ray picks himself up and starts the journey of freeing his buddy and fighting back.

That little spark is enough to start a long adventure brimming with exploration, with rare story scenes and the introduction of interesting characters like the local rat baron, the thieving cat and many others. Some useful NPCs will help Ray out as the story progresses, like giving currency and data disks for turning in seeds of rare plants and much more.

The plot does not feature many unexpected twists but it is well-constructed and presented both beautifully and dynamically. Chinese dieselpunk presents itself in a very unusual way: colorful, detailed locations filled with animation and life, music and noir elements. The locations thoughtfully transition into each other, maintaining the style throughout the game.

The backdrops are made with special care, each of them featuring signs with familiar films, games, and advertisements. You can find special posters with references to anime, games and movies and receive unique weapon skins. Do you want a golden fist? First, you must find a poster with… JoJo. What about a Doom Guy poster? The game is filled with these little respectful nods towards other forms of entertainment.

Many NPCs are voiced and, if anthro animals seemed out of place in Biomutant, in F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch these characters feel right at home. A little noir, but very much alive and fantastic.

Gameplay-wise the game is concentrated classic Metroidvania. No, not like that… METROIDVANIA, more like.

We explore the side-scrolling locations filled with a large number of battles, obstacles that require backtracking and a little bit of story. All battles take place in the melee range, even if you acquire different weapons. At the very beginning, you are only equipped with the mechanical fist but soon enough Ray will receive a drill. And a whip. There is even an option to get a gun that allows you to take a couple of shots and can save the hero’s hide.

The fights are quite diverse and feature quite a few enemies that may need a special approach. The whip can be aimed at enemies during mid-jump, has a large radius and is overall a very convenient choice. The drill and the fist both are powerful weapons that allow you to toss enemies about and execute them in very effective ways.

The game features a convenient weapon swap that can be done even during a fight. There are also some special abilities like the carrot juice – healing – or a gun with homing missiles. There are no innovations when it comes to Metroidvania as a genre, the game features a variety of standard tricks and features, but they are implemented on a decent, high-quality level.

The developers paid special attention to the map. Remembering Hollow Knight and other games that belong to the Metroidvania genre, the map has always been a rather weak spot. In F.I.S.T., the map is very detailed and easy to understand. You can even see the location of some secrets, missing items and boxes. I already mentioned the collectable posters above – for each you receive a unique coloring that matches the style of the poster.

I also want to mention the fast travel system in a separate paragraph. There are a few points and their location might not be the best when it comes to returning to a location in order to explore it. However, it is quite convenient in terms of the story and allows you to immediately hop into combat. The issues of backtracking remain, including special doors that require certain weapons or being on the right side.

Let’s talk about bosses. In the very beginning of the game, the bosses are your usual damage sponges that absorb your attacks with no visual effect, to a point of being more boring than your normal enemies. When it comes to the overall mobs, you will have to switch up your moves and tactics relatively frequently. But when it is about boss battle, the strategy is to learn the pattern of their attacks and follow it until you’re blue in the face.

As you get more abilities, it becomes much more interesting. And, as you get to the second half of the game, your enemies will start to rotate. Frequently you will face the basic trash mobs being in a company of nigh invincible foes. The end game enemies are very tenacious while not extremely hard in terms of mechanics. Think of it as a test of patience.

To sum it up, we have a very beautiful Metroidvania with some backtracking that won’t interfere with your exploration of the game’s story. The plot is able to easily grab and hold players’ attention without being boring. The game also features some interesting decisions when it comes to standard Metroidvania mechanics.

For all noir, anthropomorphs and Metroidvania lovers, the game is a must-have. Well-built design and unusual setting will make it enjoyable from start to finish.

On the weaker side, I have to mention very few fast travel points and peculiar enemy combinations towards the end of the game.

F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch is a very beautiful Metroidvania with some backtracking that won’t interfere with your exploration of the game’s story. The plot is able to easily grab and hold players’ attention without being boring. The game also features some interesting decisions when it comes to classic Metroidvania mechanics.
  • Interesting setting
  • Combat design
  • Beautiful locations
  • Enjoyable story
  • Lack of fast-travel points
  • Backtracking in exploration
  • Some bugs

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