Sure, the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but Fights In Tight Spaces has all the makings of a sleeper hit.
Coming from Mode7, the people that bought us Frozen Synapse, and Ground Shatter games, it’s part deck-builder, part fighting game, and part board game. If that sounds bonkers, that’s because it is, but somehow, it all works.
Players step into the sharp black suit and tie of a nondescript agent, tasked with working their way through a series of encounters to reach a boss. As a roguelike, these encounters vary in order and setup, but the general gist is simple – defeat every enemy. There are some wrinkles, like protecting a VIP while throwing punches like Jason Bourne, but for the most part, it’s kill or be killed.
At the start of each “run” players pick a deck filled with cards that translate to fighting moves. While the game’s tutorial flies by all too quickly, before you know it you’ll be sidestepping punches, smashing enemy heads against walls, and throwing bad guys in the way of bullets in kitchens, restrooms, and plenty of other, well, tight spaces.
At times it feels like a sort of isometric SuperHot, particularly with the similar colour palette – or lack thereof. Finish a fight, and earn some new upgrades for your deck, and maybe some currency to spend on upgrades or healing.
Arguably the best part of Fights In Tight Spaces is watching back one of your successful entanglements like it’s a scene from John Wick – when you’re not deliberating about which cards to play, which square to stand on, and how much “Momentum” you have to pick your cards, it’s mesmerising to sit back and enjoy a full replay.
As with Slay The Spire and other deck builders, there’s a deceptive amount of depth, too. Sure, you can punch away until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll also need to block, sidestep, or throw enemies to the ground. You can also set up counters to knock enemies back, while some enemies will use an “overwatch” state to shoot anything that moves, X-COM style.
Similar to indie hit Into The Breach, it’s a tactical chess match where you’re always outnumbered, but never outgunned.
If you’re looking to cause chaos, or simply choreograph some ridiculous fisticuffs, Fights In Tight Spaces is well worth checking out. It’s on Steam early access now.