The mobile debut of Enslaved and DmC studio Ninja Theory, Fightback is a free-to-play brawler available on the iOS App Store. A Die Hard-style beat-em-up that resembles such classics as Final Fight or Double Dragon, you play as a musclebound Jean Claude Van Damme-like character, who through a combination of screen tapping and swiping brings out brawler moves to devastating effect. Beside releasing gut-curdling combos, your musclebound behemoth can launch enemies into the air, killing them before they reach the ground with a devastating combo flurry of punches and kicks.
The game is packaged in a cheesy 80’s veneer and while it never reaches the mocking heights of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, it definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously. You take orders from a cigar smoking Captain Dan, who directs your character to the latest interior location for you to launch the numerous bad guys into the air. While Fightback takes on the look of a classic beat-em-up, you don’t actually control your character’s left-to-right movement. Through tapping, the character automatically walks forward into enemies, and player input is limited to punching, kicking, and shooting your enemies as you mercilessly mow them down. After each level, you gain money and gold to upgrade your character and unlock additional firearms, defensive vests and up your attack depending on your combo rating and hit rating.
Unfortunately, Fightback utilizes a similar stamina system that other freemium games use, forcing the player to wait for the bar to replenish to continue playing unless they pay real money for in-app stamina replenishment. It’s clear early on that if you want to make progress at any substantial rate, you will have to replenish the stamina bar via micro-transactions. Otherwise, it’s grind, wait, grind, and repeat.
That being said, it’s quite difficult to earn a decent amount of gold. If you want to make any sort of substantial progress at a reasonable pace, you will need to purchase it with real money. You can certainly gain enough by grinding and the game never forces or coerces you into in-app purchases, it will just take an awful lot of time. The grinding can get a bit repetitive, but there’s enough variety in the weapons scheme to keep it going.
Without a cost for entry, Fightback is definitely worth a look. Although it doesn’t offer anything new to the genre, it has enough replay value to keep any interested party busy. Just don’t expect it to rock your world.