Fat City is a puzzle/strategy game made by Heavy Iron Studios that has one basic premise – Get the loot and get to the safehouse, avoiding police along the way. Each level is a small map that covers a few city blocks, the roads resemble plot points. Using the stick, you lay out the path that your guy will take to get from the starting point to the safehouse, while getting the “danger diamond” and bank money. Each level has 3 stars to obtain: Finish the level, complete it in a certain time period, obtain the “danger diamond” The “danger diamond” is named that way because it’s generally in an area that is more difficult to access than the bank, usually guarded by cops or other obstacles. As the game progresses, the difficulty increases but never to an extreme point.
Along the way, you gain other operatives that help you complete the levels, and they pretty much unlock as they are needed. Each character has their own set of unique abilities to help you get to the safehouse. The main character has a safecracker to get the money faster, a facial id scrambler to allow him to pass police, and a dash or slow down function to help him time the heist just right. Outside of the main character, the others have their own abilities that can help out. For example, the hacker can set off an EMP bomb to disable any nearby cop cars, or cut the wire so that an alarm doesn’t go off when you grab the cash. You will spend a great deal of the money you earn on these skills, I used safecracker and facial id scrambler in almost every level throughout. One criticism I have about the character’s abilities is that the game doesn’t display what button to press to perform an action. Most of the time it’s the A button, but sometimes it’s a different button and to find the right one it’s either trial and error or finding the original mission that introduced the ability. It would have been nice if they showed which button to press to perform the action.
There is a text based story but it’s basically non-existent and there is absolutely no attachment whatsoever to the characters. The first time I realized there was a story, I was replaying a level and noticed something about the guys sister being kidnapped. News to me and I had played through most of the game at that point. Basically you only play the game to get to the safe house on each level, nothing more and nothing less.
The graphics are very basic and the characters are simply circles that move around a slightly 3d top-down map. When I booted the game and played the first level, my wife said, “what is this crap” because she’s used to seeing me play blockbuster games with beautiful graphics. Heck, even most other indie games have better graphics in comparison. The sound is also on the basic side, with two songs in the entire game. My daughter got annoyed with the music very quickly, so naturally I continued to play and leave the music just playing in the background. I find that replayability is very low for this game. Most of the time there is no reason to replay a level because they are fairly simple to get all three stars on, I only had a handful of levels that I had to replay and I did that right away while the map layout was fresh in my mind.
However, if you can look past all of these things this game is actually a fair amount of fun if you can allow yourself to get into it. I’m not going to lie, my first play session was about 30 minutes and I thought I might never come back to it based on my initial impressions. Once I did however, I basically continued in a few hours and just finished the game out. I would say I obtained 100% completion of the game within 4 to 5 hours.