If you've seen the trailer, you might think the mulletted hero of Unstoppable Fist [$0.99] is a bit of a brute, all fists and fury. Not so. Yes, he fights, and he does so with all the intensity of an early 90s action hero. But this is no ham-fisted flail—when played correctly, it's more of a dance. Each kick is performed with timing and grace, each punch is delivered in a deadly rhythm. Inevitably, that's when a chicken smacks him in the face.

Or maybe it's a scorpion, or a flying zombie head, or a puffer fish. There are endless forces arrayed against our hero, both natural and otherwise. So you kick, and you punch, and you kick some more, hoping to survive but knowing it's not going to happen. "Unstoppable" is an exaggeration; you'll be stopped again and again and again, and your only hope is to do better next time.

There is something of the rhythm game to Unstoppable Fist, though it's not about the (unquestionably rad) music. Each enemy you kill has its own rhythm and timing, and matching it is the only thing that will keep you alive. The edges of the screen are divided into six zones: upper, lower and middle on each side. Tapping one will lash out a punch or a kick in that direction; both sides together is a double attack. There are also swipes that give you uppercuts and roundhouse kicks, so experiment. But the real trick is to make those punches and kicks come in contact with whatever is flying toward you. Easier said than done.

Bats hang back for a moment before flying in for the kill, while pirhanas come straight in. Snapping turtles take two hits, and chickens fly in from both sides at once. If you're going to be a proper badass, you'll have to memorize all the patterns. You'll also need to know exactly how far you can punch and how close enemies can get before carving away a piece of your health.

On Easy mode, this isn't so bad. You can slip into a rhythm well enough, punching at the moment the enemy crosses that invisible line of death. This lets you earn crazy multipliers and an even crazier high score; the more enemies you hit without missing, the bigger those numbers get. As you progress up to Medium and Hard, on the other hand, things get nasty.

If you're playing Unstoppable Fist for cathartic violence, you might want to stay well within your comfort zone. There's a thin line between challenging and unbelievably frustrating in this game, and you'll find moments when you simply can't kill everything in time. Then it starts feeling like the controls aren't keeping up, and before you know it it's phone-through-the-wall time.

You can survive a few failures, if not many. And there's a saving grace: good ol' American apple pie. If you can manage to suppress all your punchy, kicky instincts and let a piece of pie hit you, it'll heal you up some. And that's how you do it: avoid damage and heal up between hits, get yourself as high a score as possible, and then die. That last part is optional, but let's face it—it's also unavoidable.

Unstoppable Fist is painfully cool if you're into the early 90s. The pixel art and over-the-top hero would be right at home in the days of neon and hair bands. If you're playing in your weight class, it's also pretty fun—when you're in the zone, this game can be a love song to violence. But it can also be kind of a drag. Endless punching sounds pretty good, but eventually even violence gets old. So how motivated are you by getting high scores? There are also a whack of Game Center achievements to earn, and they're good ones, but it just doesn't feel like enough for real longevity.

Sometimes you need to punch something, and Unstoppable Fist is good for those times. Five or ten minutes of being down chickens and scorpions can cure any woe, especially if you let yourself sink into the absurdity of it all. But for longer-term excitement, you should probably look elsewhere. There's only so far a dude standing on a trashcan can go.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • SetAbomnai07

    My punches were only as strong as my punches and then things changed!

  • bigdaddytool

    The graphics and music are great but Ziggurat did the never-ending-combat-with-an-unmovable-hero thing much better.

  • Birdie31

    I thought this game had potential, but there are a couple of small changes that I think would improve it greatly. First, I would make the kicks/punches reach to the edge of the screen on the side that your'e tapping/swiping. I know it's about timing, but it just seemed like too much to handle. Secondly, I would show the 3 columns so that you'll know where to tap/swipe (very low opacity). Although these changes would make the game easier, I think it would cater more to the casual gamers while still having some room for difficulty. 

  • Brendan Rogers

    Are his punches as strong as kicks?

  • TheBeastlyNinja

    I enjoyed Gun Fu more than this haha. I found that the crazy fast gameplay in Gun Fu held up much more than the rhythm timing of Unstoppable Fist.

  • kirby83

    i bought the fame for its pixel art and fun concept but i think its poorly executed. its also light on the content. you unlock 2 stages but it changes absolutely nothing to the game. the ennemies have a different skin and the background looks different as well.then what you have to do is play the game again and again to beat your score. thats it. controls are unresponsive and game is too frustrating. in the end its a challenge to simply play it. no fun at all. :(

  • kirby83

    the pixel art and fun concept made me buy it. but in the end i find this game annoying, uninteresting and no fun. you unlock 2 additionnal stages but it changes nothing except the ennemies looks and the background picture. then you play to beat the score again and afain and thats all there is to it. this could have been a little more cool if the controls were a bit more responsive and the range of the hero's punches and kicks was more generous. but nope, this game is frustration sporting a nice pixel art outfit. i have no idea how people managed to do the scores ive seen on the leaderboard. i find it a challenge just to play it.

    i agree with the 3 stars rating.

  • Fabiano Morais

    Sounds like an exercise in frustration. I'll pass. Never got in to the whole endless thing anyway. I need my games to END at some point.

  • http://twitter.com/TheRagtagStudio Ragtag Studio

    Thanks for the review Touch Arcade!  And thanks for the comments guys. 

    We do intend to make a few gameplay tweaks to address some of the concerns people have had, and things we'd like to improve.  But I do want to say that the game is much deeper than it may seem at a first play.

    It is no doubt challenging!  We actually were going for a more challenging experience than you typically find on mobile devices.  To that end, the game does take a lot of practice to get good at.  There are quite a few different moves you can pull off, and learning when to use them at what time, and against what enemies is critical. 

    Taking a look at our leaderboards, its shocking how good some people have gotten at this game.  We (the devs) can't even keep up with them!

    Also, it is not a rhythm game, just to clear up misconceptions.  Its simply about timing and learning enemy patterns.

    Please feel free to post any comments or questions here. I'll be sure to respond.  Thanks!

  • http://www.uplayblog.com/ Bianca Mól

    I liked the game! Bought it because of the pixel art haha I think I download everything retro that I see.

    Anyway, I can't believe how people on leaderbords had 17.000 kills. In my first time playing it, I had 57...shame on me!

    • http://twitter.com/TheRagtagStudio Ragtag Studio

       Actually, thats REALLY good for a first attempt!  You should be proud. :)

      • http://www.uplayblog.com/ Bianca Mól

        Hahaha that was sweet. Thanks. 164 kills now... I can see some improvements! ;)

        (my biggest fear is the bat...Gee, it killed me a lot)

        Good luck with your game!

  • epikninja

    This should be free.

  • http://twitter.com/pinta_vodki Mikhail Kuznetsov

    Do his punches have the power of kicks?

  • Benegesserit

    Please make a different game with this music and char.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5ZE2OQGGMX6IGMX2QMAWVC5ZMQ Huberg

    imo Waa Cha! is more addictive than this. This is too slow and boring.

Unstoppable Fist Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 3