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Fist of Physics Delivers Giant Robot Fights in VR – Early Access Impressions

by Kyle Hanson on December 15, 2016

Despite having years of buildup and being on the market for a few months, VR is still very much an experimental medium. Game developers have been figuring out how to make fun games that work in VR, but also trying to reimagine the very basics of video games in general. This is why the simpler games have usually been the best, as developers focus in on what works, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, and the car, and the roads, all at once. Fist of Physics, which just hit Early Access on Steam, is very much one of these simpler experiences, putting players right into a giant robot fight, all in VR.

If you’ve been a fan of VR then the best comparison to make is with Gorn, a free downloadable title that puts players against half nude gladiators. Players jump into the body of a giant mech, and are then placed into a small city arena. Another mech is there to do battle with, varying between a few different models.

Players will punch, hit, dismember, and use objects from the environment to do damage to the other bot, while dodging and deflecting their attacks. The game is very early in development, so there isn’t a ton of content variety, and the mechanics are pretty bare. You begin with just your metal fists, but add new weapons as you defeat foes.

The combat can feel pretty visceral, swinging your arms wildly to attack your mechanical foe. Enemies even react realistically to where and how hard you hit them, lending to the immersion. The actual fists move just a touch slower than you do, lending some believability to the scale of the combat. On the other hand, this does cause some disconnect between your movement and what you seen on screen, so it can get a little disorientating.

Fist of Physics Early Access Steam VR Trailer

Fist of Physics experiments with some interesting movement mechanics, borrowing the usual teleport and the newer arm movement system, where you hold buttons and move your arms as if walking. The combo works well, allowing you to teleport slowly around the arena with a short recharge in between, preventing overuse. If you’re close enough though and just want to move in for the kill, you can use the arm swings.

So far Fist of Physics has been a fun VR romp, though it definitely has some room for growth. This is both in content and in overall design. While I understand that I’m in a giant mech, the feeling of it isn’t quite there. There also isn’t enough stuff in the environment to interact with. The most fun thing to do is grab cars and toss them or hit your enemy with them, but that experience is rare at the moment.

With some more work, Fist of Physics could shape up to be another must have VR game, luckily it’s at a pretty budget price in its early access form, so it’s a definite recommend from me for the moment. Now we’ll have to see how the developer builds on this enjoyable foundation.

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