by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on PC
Not a Jesus Christ Superstar
Have you ever been sitting on your couch and thought to yourself, “Self, there are thousands of video games out there, but there aren’t enough that let me play as the Christian savior Jesus Christ while he teams up with Judas and slaughters the living dead?” If so, it’s your lucky day, as developer Mutant Games’ new title Fists of Jesus lets you do just that. Much in the vein of classic arcade beat-em-ups like Ninja Turtles or X-Men, Fists of Jesus plops you down and tasks you with punching and smashing your way through hundreds of baddies for no real good reason. While there is some fun to be had here, the game is largely just “fine,” seeming more like a mobile port that a full-functioning RPG brawler.
Like I said above, Fists of Jesus is very much like many of the classic side-scroller beat-em-ups that once populated many arcades- games like Double Dragons, The Simpsons, or Golden Axe. You get dropped into a perspective-locked horizontally focused map and have to move through it left and right to reach your goal. The controls are really quite simple. Move with the arrows, melee with one button, throw your ranged weapons with another, and unleash your specials with the number buttons. That’s about all there is to it. Being as simple as they are, the controls are fine, although the directional movement was a bit too buttery for my liking.
When you stop moving or change direction, instead of instantly stopping or changing, there’s an ever so brief deceleration or lag. It doesn’t seem like it should affect much – it’s only a few tenths of a second – but it does, and it would occasionally cause me to get stuck between enemies or crates. It isn’t game-breaking or anything (in fact it makes the animation look nice), but I want sharp, responsive controls in a game like this. The maps also leave something to be desired. While they get a bit better as the game progresses, they are just too small for much of the game. They’re frequently just a few seconds walk time across from one end to the other and generally don’t expand through the level; more like set arenas you need to slay things in than maps you walk through from one end to the other.
Brawling and RPG Elements
Combat in Fists of Jesus isn’t bad, but it also isn’t particularly great either. It just sort of is. Worth noting is that the game lets you live-switch between Jesus and Judas in what I assume is an attempt to add some strategy into the game. They each have a unique set of specials that can be leveled up, but they don’t really fit particular “roles” any better than the other. I never felt compelled to switch to the other to face certain challenges, instead staying with one until they die, then using the other. That’s not exciting. Melee and ranged combat function well enough, though, again, I found parts to be frustrating. The hitting itself is pretty simple. Hit space to strike (or swing if you’ve picked up a weapon), or hit X to throw one of your finite number of fish. Good deal.
Repeat that ad infinitum until you can use one of your specials. The only kicker is that if you happen to stun an enemy, a little bouncing meter pops up above their head. Strike again when the meter’s ticker is over the designated zone and you will do an insta-kill saving you time. They look cool, cutting to a short animation showing you decapitating them, ripping their heart out, etc., but they sort of go against the very flow of the game’s combat.
Nice art style, funny general premise.
Lacking in progression/upgrades, humor runs dry fast, uninspired music and combat.