Developed by Heavy Iron Studios, Fat City is a tactical action puzzler game that has you tasked with the goal of robbing banks and bringing the money to a safe house all the while trying to avoid the police. You get an overview camera of the city (which takes place across various areas in New York) that gives you a bird’s eye view of your objectives, as well as all the patrolling cops.
When the level begins, you are able to map out the route that you wish to take. In essence, Fat City is all about creating the best pathway and timing it perfectly to match the pathways of the patrolling cops. It’s basically a tactical Pac-Man. There is also a scoring system which rewards players for meeting bonus objectives such as collecting the diamond in the map, and completing the level within a certain time limit.
Fat City: Xbox One [Reviewed], Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Wii U
Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
Publisher: Heavy Iron Studios
Release Date: 02 October 2015
Price: $18.49 [N/A] [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Developer/Publisher]
Much like the gameplay, the story in Fat City is very simple. You play as Chris Knox, a man who has developed a reputation for having a certain set of skills. So good in fact, that he gains the attention of some gangsters who kidnap his sister in order to get Knox to do what he does best – rob banks. That’s literally the entire plot, which begs the question of why they even bothered to go that far in the first place if they weren’t going to put any more effort into giving players a reason to care about the main character.
Knox isn’t alone in his endeavours however. Later on in the game he’ll enlist the help of some other skillful people to join Knox’s crew. There’s Ace the hacker, who has the ability hack gates open, disable police vehicles with an EMP blast and stop police from responding once you rob a bank. Fish is a demolition expert who utilizes C4 explosives to destroy walls. Finally Dali is a fast driver who can help Knox get to his destination much quicker than he normally can. There’s not much back story to these characters, so little is known about them other than their abilities.
Once these members join your crew, the game opens up a few new gameplay features and allows for a bit more strategy in how you use them. In later levels, you’re tasked with using your crew members simultaneously in order to help Knox pull off his heist. For instance, there are levels in which you have to use Ace to hack the police response station while switching over to Fish in order to have him several walls to allow Knox to reach his objectives.
You have to switch between each target in order to perform their tasks constantly, all the while making sure none of them are caught by the police. At first it can be a bit overwhelming to try and switch between multiple characters in order to beat the level, but it does end up feeling a bit more satisfying when you do manage to pull it off. However, none of these characters are really required for missions outside of the one which the game forces you to use them, so they don’t play a large part in the game once you unlock them if you choose to save the money needed to hire them.
There’s not much else to talk about in terms of gameplay. Every level is the same in terms of your objectives, and most of them can be complete in about 30 seconds or less. None of it is overly difficult either, as the abilities that you are able to buy for Knox and his crew makes police encounters almost a joke. For instance, Knox has a facial scanner ability which allows you to move right past police patrols.
Similarly, Ace has an EMP weapon which disables police vehicles, Fish has a tactical smoke grenade which basically does the same thing, and Dali can simply drive through police vehicles and use tire spikes. These abilities all work well in giving players the chance to get out of a pinch when cornered by a cop. However since you can use them multiple times in the same level, it’s possible to just spam them whenever you need to. Doing so eliminates all the tactical elements in the game though, which is supposed to be the main draw of the game.
The visuals are pretty dull at best. Every level is built as a grid with a simple blue and black aesthetic. Buildings are painted in a translucent blue while roads are simple black. There aren’t many details to the levels themselves, so each level feels the same with only a few layouts that truly stand out. Player icons are represented by a simple circle that has their profile picture over it.
Nothing about Fat City really stands out. The puzzles feel the same after the first dozen or so missions and the abilities that each character has mitigate any need to be strategic in how you plan your heists. There isn’t really any type of story or background to Knox and his crew, and it feels like you’re playing the same level constantly due to the simple nature of the visuals. As such, it’s difficult to recommend Fat City to anyone, even if you are a fan of strategy or heist games.