Deck building games and roguelikes are all the rage nowadays, and along with titles like Slay the Spire and Nowhere Prophets comes a new twist on the genre. Fights in Tight Spaces brought to you by Ground Shatter Ltd., brings the world of fast paced espionage combat to Steam Early Access. Act as a one man army to take down your enemies using decks of combat and tactical positioning maneuvers.
In Fights in Tight Spaces, you are an agent for Section Eleven, a shadowy organization tasked with handling the situations the FBI or CIA cannot. As an agent you are put into… compact quarters, and expected to battle your way out. You do so by receiving up to six cards that all cost action points. The starting total is 3 action points per turn but that can be increased later with items and enhancements. Using those action points efficiently to plan out which cards to use and when is key. Using a kick that shoves an opponent over a space on the grid can be beneficial if they miss you with their next attack but not so much if it means you cannot hit them with a secondary attack later. Evaluating each scenario is the mark of a true agent, and you will have time as you take run after run trying to master these mechanics.
Fights in Tight Spaces has a minimalist art style reminiscent of Super Hot, with characters designed in single toned colors against white and grey backgrounds. Your character is sharply dressed in a suit and tie which fits nicely in full black and white, while the enemies are clad in varying shades of deep red, green and yellow. This makes every move look stunning with popping blood splatters and a satisfying crunch to emphasize combat hits. The movement is snappy and crisp with each backdrop giving enough depth to understand the location (ala back alley or bar etc) but still feeling like it limits the player well. The levels are laid out like a diorama board game, crafting the fights as unique puzzles to be solved with the luck of the draw.
Variation is thrown in with specific objectives, such as protecting a hostage with a limited life pool such as your own. In this scenario, I found myself diving in front of bullets to protect the hostage as one more hit could mean mission failure. It changed my strategy and had me carefully weighing every possible option like I was playing an intense game of chess. Picking one move could be a detriment 3 turns later, making it best to think ahead. Hopefully more varied scenarios are in development to keep the play loop fresh but as of right now, these scenarios feel very new.
Fights in Tight Spaces progression comes with new cards to choose from, and unlockable decks that switch up the combat flow and gives tons of replayability. There are also several different mission types that include hostages and other weapon types. Playing different unlockable runs or switching up the decks gives the gameplay a fresh feel. It’s an easy pick up and play for a couple fights but can also be addicting, giving that “one more run” feel. There’s even a replay mode that replays movements from your fight in fast speed, showing off all your calculated John Wick-esque actions, and it can feel impressive seeing it all over again.
Fights in Tight Spaces takes a combat puzzle challenge and adds a deck building twist. This brings new and innovative options to explore in the indie space. Any card you place is a risk and finishing a battle often had me breathing a sigh of relief. Ground Shatter Ltd. has created something that is easy to learn but difficult to master. Fights in Tight Spaces is definitely a game to keep your eye on.
Fights in Tight Spaces is available now in Early Access on Steam.
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