I had no idea what to expect going into a game called Fat City. The game was created by Heavy Iron Studios, and is a puzzle game that sees you robbing banks. You also have to escape the police and collect diamonds. You get an overview camera of the city, that gives you a bird’s eye view of your objectives, as well as all the patrolling cops.
The main character you play as is called ‘Chris Knox’ who was once a US Navy Seal. He is blackmailed into carrying out crimes by gangsters, who have taken his sister hostage. The game starts in Brooklyn, where you learn the ropes of the gameplay mechanics. Every job you take on has three separate goals within them. Doing so means that you earn a diamond. To get the first diamond you have to complete the level, then for the second you have to do it within various time periods and the final diamond is placed in a certain place in the stage.
Fat City is all about creating the best pathway and timing it perfectly to match the pathways of the patrolling cops. Police are patrolling the zone so a well-timed and plotted route will be the key to succeeding. There is also a scoring system which rewards players for meeting objectives such as collecting the diamond in the map, and completing the level within a certain time limit. Fat City really reminded me of playing Pac-Man. Once you have completed a mission you get to spend your reward on various abilities and upgrades. These include things like faster vault cracking, sneak sprint and even a facial scanner. You have a planner, which allows you to have three route plans. I found that it wanted to save these for when levels became harder.
Later on in the game he’ll enlist the help of some other skillful people to join Knox’s crew. You get a Driver, a Hacker and a Demolitions expert. There’s not much back story to these characters, so little is known about them other than their abilities. Their abilities range from disabling alarms and being able to buy you extra time to destroying walls, faster driving and covering the roads with spikes to stop police from chasing you. Up to four members can be used in the same mission and are used simultaneously to complete missions and earn that loot. New types of strategies will need to be applied at this point. In later levels you have to carefully plan how to use your crew to complete the heists. Every level is the same in terms of your objectives, and most of them can be complete in about 30 seconds or less. If you perfectly time your run, and the crew abilities, you will be able to get to the end of the stage without being caught. If you fail, or find you get caught all the time you can use the different abilities to help you out. I tried not to use the abilities because I thought that they made it too easy at times. The planning element of Fat City is where the game is at its best and most satisfying.
I really didn’t like the presentation of the game. Every level is built as a grid with a simple blue and black aesthetic. The levels feel extremely repetitive and bland. Player icons are represented by a simple circle that has their profile picture over it. Also I found the sound effects and soundtrack to be fairly boring.
Overall I thought that the idea behind the game was interesting but unfortunately the uninspired visuals, repetitive gameplay and lackluster soundtrack was a bit of a let down.
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