What was the best scene in the Netflix Daredevil series? If you answered the corridor fight scene in Season 1 then you are correct and you have neatly described the central conceit behind Ground Shatter’s Fights in Tight Spaces. The concept is simple, reminiscent of the recent Bithell Games Solitaire Conspiracy in the way it makes something simple deep and complex.
You play as a literal nameless and faceless secret agent tasked with taking down various bad guys across five or six missions and all you have at your disposal is your sharp wit (not really) and deadly fists. The game is not a simple arcade beat ‘em up, instead the depth and tactical nuance is added through the en vogue card mechanic. Simply put this is a collectable card game and your moves are dictated by the deck you choose before each mission and the hands you draw each turn.
The moves and cards are varied, and they give you a host of options to tackle each level in each mission, you will get repeat draws, but that is to your advantage as you need those cards in each round. And each level is a challenge. Understanding your positioning, what cards you have drawn and the relative positions of each enemy. Because each character takes chooses their action at the top of each round you have a great opportunity to position yourself and your enemies in just the right way so that they get harmed and even taken down by friendly fire. In my third run I managed to get some cool combos going by whittling down enemy health with various kicks and jabs and then spinning out the way and letting the bad guys take each other out. Getting this exactly right is satisfying as you watch your careful plan executed as you imagine the bad guys groaning in disgust at their incompetence.
As you advance you will unlock more decks with different move sets, keeping the game fresh and interesting and allowing you to experiment and play through each mission in a different way. The one area that I think needs tweaking before final release is in the deck building. You have basic deck building mechanics in that as you progress through a mission you will come across gyms and events that will allow you to upgrade cards and remove cards and as you complete each level in the mission you get to choose from three reward cards. While this sounds like a lot of choice, my limited exposure to these card games and more experience with CCGs like Magic makes me wish that you could have complete freedom outside of missions to build a deck unique to your playstyle.
Each mission in this early access release is structured along a ladder progression system. You will advance along the ladder to each level in the mission on your way to the final boss. This takes the game from the single Daredevil corridor fight to The Raid – a series of battles in a closed off arena. While the levels are simple, they do offer you enough manoeuvrability to escape most attacks and opportunities to plan your angles of attacks. The battles offer you almost unlimited tactical possibilities as you ponder over each move and each card in your hand and how they will or will not give you the advantage in the battle.
And gaining that advantage is imperative, simply because your health is limited and opportunities to heal between levels is limited. You will find medical centres every so often, but your cash earning is limited and may not be enough to heal you fully if you are careless or overly aggressive. If you die and fail the mission, you get sent right back to the start, there are no save points so you must learn how to use your deck and the levels to your benefit or you will never get through each mission.
Fights in Tight Spaces is a polished Early Access Release that’s perfect for gamers looking for a quick distraction in between meetings or when they are short of time. This is a game that will keep you endlessly entertained as you try and complete a successful run. This is a game that will live on my hard drive and I look forward to seeing how the developers refine it over the coming months.
- Developer: Ground Shatter
- Publisher: Mode 7
- Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One
You can purchase the game here on steam for £19.49
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