Despite its name, Trigger City contains very few guns. This is only one of the ways in which it's ridiculous.

There's also the cringeworthy noir-lite story about a man kicking and punching goons to death at night in a series of insalubrious locations. It would just about hang together if the sprites didn't all look like Lego figures.

And there's the pixel-art presentation, which exhibits a conspicuous lack of originality. During your hour or so with Trigger City you'll encounter clone swarms of Mr Ts, homeless lunatics, leather-clad bikers, Prohibition Era pinstripe-suited thugs, and psychotic harridans, all against backdrops you've seen a trillion times before.

And there's the gameplay, which, even by the standards of the side-scrolling arcade beat-'em-up, is about as subtle as a neon warhammer.

While there are combos to buy at the shop and then pull off by tapping the 'punch' and 'kick' buttons in different permutations, you can get through most of the game by standing still, punching the air in front of you, and letting the goons repeatedly walk into your fists.


Then there's the collision detection, which violates the laws of physics flamboyantly. The levels you play in have depth, so that you can move towards and away from the camera as well as left and right, but this depth is a mind-bending illusion. If you retreat into the back of the stage so that your foot is level with the fist of a goon, he can punch your foot.

As a result you instinctively lurk at the bottom of the screen, where you're vulnerable to damage from fewer physical planes, but this means that you often obscure yourself behind your own thumb. Yes - Trigger City frequently shepherds you into the one part of the screen that you can't actually see. It's just fortunate that you don't need to be able to see - just to punch.

There are the weapons, which you pick up off the ground after killing their owners with your fists. You can wield or throw most of them - the knuckledusters, baseball bats, broken bottles - but the guns you can only fire. And you can only fire them once, whereupon they mysteriously disappear, making them the most useless weapons in the game.

While guns can certainly inconvenience you when they're in the hands of your enemies, they don't do much for your own cause, since a bullet in the face seems to do less damage to a goon than a punch or a kick - particularly after you boost your punching and kicking power at the shop.

Whenever you shoot a goon he just hunches his shoulders a little, as though a snowflake has gone down the back of his shirt, and carries on marching towards your fists.

Fight or flee

And, finally, there's the difficulty level. You pick up dollars as you go - one for every dead goon, which seems a paltry remuneration for mass unarmed slaughter - and you can spend these on new combos; consumable items; and upgrades to your punching, kicking, and health-regenerating abilities. But this upgrade system is largely redundant.

Yes, the combos and the extra heft will help you out towards the end of the game, but only to the extent that they'll reduce your chances of dying at some point from 30 percent to about 5 percent. I died once. Actually, that's not true - there’s a driving level on which I died several times, thanks to the perspective issue explored above. But I only died once in combat, and I wasn't trying very hard.

What's more, as if to insulate you from the possibility of ever having to start a stage again, Trigger City drops medikits all over the place as soon as your health approaches zero, and if you don't feel like taking the risks inherent in violent confrontation you can often simply run away from the goons until the stage ends. As you can imagine, this is quite ridiculous.

Trigger City isn't very challenging or coherent, and it won't last you very long. But then again, if you don't feel that 69p is a fair price to pay for an hour of silly, unabashed, retro arcade street brawling then your expectations are too high.

And if you can't stomach a bit of ridiculousness then you've got no business playing games anyway.