June 30th, 2012 | By Joe Grogan
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, what better way to ring in the most American holiday than by donning a star spangled jacket and punching things until they explode? Couldn’t think of anything? I didn’t think so. Now let’s take a look at Unstoppable Fist.
Unstoppable Fist is an arcade-style fighter which drops you in the loafers of Fist, a suspiciously humanoid alien who has been summoned to Earth. Sporting your ultra-reflective sunglasses, American flag jacket and epic mullet, you’ll survive as long as you can against unrelenting waves of small Earth creatures using nothing but your fists and feet.
If this all sounds absolutely badass, that’s because it totally is. Surprisingly, though, Ragtag Studios has managed to fit a Van Damme-esque level of action into a very simple concept. You stand in the center of the screen while enemies stream in from both sides in three rows, attacking your head, torso and legs. All you have to do is tap a zone and your limbs will ruin any bad guys in it. Just keep this up as long as possible, and when the small woodland creatures become too much for you to handle and deplete your Unstoppability (health) meter, it’s game over.
This simplistic gameplay is mixed with an over-the-top theme to create what should be the perfect arcade game. As everyone knows, though, very few things in this world are perfect, and Unstoppable Fist isn’t the exception. There are two major flaws. The first is that the controls are very slow to respond. Even when the game is running at its smoothest, attacks aren’t actualized until half a second or more after the screen has been tapped. Half a second might not seem like much to the casual gamer, but anybody who has made their rounds of electronic entertainment knows what a crippling lag that truly is. What’s baffling, though, is that this lag seems to be a facet of the design rather than the result of an unexpected issue. Even when the game is running like a hot knife through butter, the lag is still an issue. With an update already in the books, the fact that it hasn’t been corrected is incredible. Really, it’s almost game-breaking and could easily jeopardize the game’s future.
The other issue is that the game is simply too short. I understand that arcade games aren’t known for their length and that their whole point is to do the same thing over and over without getting bored. And to be fair, Unstoppable Fist does that. What’s irksome, but really only mildly, is that Ragtag Studios attempted to add some longevity to the game by including unlockable stages. That would be nice, except for the fact that they only included two, for a total of three stages. All told, it only took about five minutes for me to get everything the game has. It doesn’t really hurt the title in the end, but in most circles that would be considered pandering to those who can’t take a little bit of a challenge in a game.
For the couple of problems Unstoppable Fist exhibits, though, you’ll still feel that oh-so-familiar rush of nostalgic greatness every time you play. You know the one? It’s the same feeling you got playing Street Fighter II back in the day (and if you don’t know that feeling, are you really old enough to own an iPhone?). This is due mostly to Unstoppable Fist’s being inspired by Street Fighter II, which is obvious from one look. Everything from the retro graphics and fast-paced rock ‘n’ roll to the lasers that follow the character’s limbs everywhere they go shouts “I wanna be like you!” louder than King Louie.
Another shout to Street Fighter II is Fist’s ludicrous personality. Just like Guile and Sakura get the cliché military and schoolgirl stereotypes, Fist is so incredibly patriotic that you’ll want to set off fireworks in your living room. As a Marine with more country music on his iPod than a stick can rightly be shaken at, this persona takes the “HELL YES” factor and cranks it up to eleven, but even if you aren’t American (or are and could just care less) you’ll find it hard to resist Unstoppable Fist’s classic allure.
Now this is the part of the review where I usually say something along the lines of “If this sounds like it would appeal to you blah blah blah.” But this time, we’re going to do things a little bit differently. If you’ve ever heard of Street Fighter II (and you have), go pick up Unstoppable Fist. It has its flaws, yes, but the positives so far outweigh the negatives that you’ll hardly notice them at all. Unstoppable Fist is available in the App Store for the iPhone, for $0.99.