Fist of Awesome Review

Fist of Awesome Review

Oct 18, 2013

Fist of Awesome is the beat ’em up revitalized. Or, in keeping with the theme of the game, a bear ’em up. I’ll see myself out.


This is a time-travelling action game where players control lumberjack Tim Burr, who gets possessed by Fist, on a quest to defeat evil bears that have taken over the planet all across the timeline of Earth. Tim earns experience as he beats up bears and fights boss bears which can be used to get more health, strength, speed, or a stronger special Fist attack.

The problem with most beat ’em ups is repetition: they get old fast. Not so with Fist of Awesome: it avoids this pratfall thanks in large part to the depth of the combat. Having so many different moves means that it’s possible to strategize in combat – it’s all about controlling the crowds, knocking enemies down to keep them from overwhelming Tim, and using the Fist move to deal large amounts of damage at one time. Perhaps the Fist move is a bit overpowered, but it requires a short setup time that also leaves Tim open to attacks, so there is a trade-off there.


The controls are great with a gamepad – I spent most of my time sitting back on my couch playing with my Nexus 4 hooked up to my TV, and using a Moga Pro to control the game – and I highly recommend doing this. Fist of Awesome is perfect for console-style gaming (it’s available on Ouya and GameStick for those who want it on their microconsole of choice). But the touchscreen controls are excellently-implemented: all combat is done with taps and cardinal swipes that all make contextual sense. It doesn’t get in the way of combat at all. Would I rather play with physical controls? Yes, but the virtual controls are still great.

The campaign will take at least a couple hours on the first go-round to defeat, with harder difficulties unlockable after beating the game. There’s an Arenas mode where players get to fight enemies for a limited amount of time in the game’s levels, but this mode has problems. For one, most of the objectives, which need to be completed to earn more XP and to extend the timer, are often extremely difficult to get. As well, the different characters having all kinds of different stats seems like an unnecessary hindrance as they all have their own stats that need to be leveled up. Why not just make them different skins for Tim Burr, particularly as he will always be the most powerful character and has health regeneration?

Fist of Awesome is a game starring a bearded lumberjack fighting bears throughout time. That’s a lofty premise to live up to, and I’m proud to say that the game does not disappoint. I highly enjoyed this, and beat the story mode in one sitting. I rarely just lose myself in a game for hours on end any more with the breadth of games I have to play, but Fist of Awesome did just that. Check this one out.

Locale Review

Locale Review

Dec 16, 2011

Is there a worse feeling than being in the middle of a meeting or a movie or stand-up comedy routine, and someone’s cell phone is going off and distracting everyone, and then you realize that…it’s yours? And all you can do is try to develop telekinesis on the spot, to somehow explode your phone with your mind, because not having a phone at all would be better than having to admit to being That Guy. The creators of Locale had another, more dire situation in mind when they sat down at the drawing board – the intro to the app explains that they got the idea after a case in the US where a judge jailed an entire courtroom when no one fessed up to their disruptive ring tone. Hopefully the average Android user doesn’t have to worry about their phone going off in court, but everyone has at least one place in their life that it would be best if their phone knew on its own when to keep quiet.

Enter Locale – an app to customize your phone’s setting based on where you are and/or what you’re up to at any given time. It’s a pretty simple idea, and very elegantly executed. Your first option set is to create Situations – locations or states that that you need your phone to be aware of. Examples of Situations are locations (Home, Work, The Gym), or physical states (Battery At 50%, Phone Face Down). From there each Situation has a list of customizable settings, to tell your phone what it should/not be doing. Settings options include Wallpaper, Wi-Fi On/Off, Ringer Volume, Brightness, even specific Ringtones.

To help better explain, I’ll share what I’ve done with my own phone. I have four situations, and various settings for each:
1) Default: This is the Situation for when I’m out an about. A simple and pleasant wallpaper image, Wi-Fi set to Off, and phone Vibration is set to On so I can feel it go off in my bag.
2) Home: My wallpaper is a picture of my best friend/roommate, Wi-Fi is set to On, and my ringer volume is set to Max because I have a tendency to wander around the house and not hear it go off.
3) My boyfriend’s Home: A different wallpaper (one of the two of us), Wi-Fi on, reduced volume on the ringer.
4) Work: My wallpaper is a picture (of a picture) I took of Quentin Tarantino giving a thumbs-up (because, why not?), Wi-Fi is Off, and my phone is set to Silent, No Vibration. I can get into a lot of trouble at my place of business for having a phone go off during my hours, and now I don’t have to worry about remembering to set it.

And in case you’re wondering how the phone knows where I am, I should think the answer is obvious – GPS! Locale is always running in the background, keeping tabs on which Situation you’re in, and if you’re changing between them. And it’s not just your location that can affect your settings. A lot of developers have jumped on the Locale bandwagon and created plugins to give you more Situational options. One example that I tried out is Calendar – have specific settings to match up with appointments. Other (untested by me) examples include Day And Night, Dock Condition, and even Emergencies.

When I first downloaded the app it seemed to be a bit of a novelty, and nothing more. Sure, I like having different wallpapers, but is that all? In fact, I’d actually been holding off on reviewing it because I felt like I didn’t “get” the popularity, and didn’t want to look like a dummy. But then I changed jobs and the state of my phone’s ringer actually became a daily concern. I feel like a before/after informercial character now; before my life was in black and white, fumbling for my phone’s volume switch while my boss is glowering at me, whereas now life is technicolour and I can receive messages all day with no repercussions.

My only problem with the app is that sometimes it genuinely seems to get confused about where I am. It’ll have me still on my Home settings well after I’ve left and shouldn’t be within the GPS area for that Situation. In fact it seems that GPS accuracy is its improvement opportunity in general. I had a very hard time getting it to recognize my Work on the map, which given that is the Situation I need it to recognize the most accurately, was a bit of an issue.