I'm swiping on the screen and my avatar, a bearded lumberjack named Tim Burr, is stomping on the crotch of a nipple-tassel clad stripper-bear. In the background two neon-yellow bears stick out their buttocks provocatively.
Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. The stripper-bear stands again and I launch into a combo, finishing with a dragon-punch aided by a scream of Tim's name. Tim-Buuuuurrrrrr. Another gaggle of bears waddle in, tassels jiggling.
I mash the screen again, my fist, which now has a mind of its own thanks to some time-travelling story nonsense, crunching into the bears over and over. Tim-Buuuuurrrrrr. Tim-Buuuuurrrrrr. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.
This is Fist of Awesome in a nutshell. A ridiculous homage to the button-destroying violence of 16-bit side-scrolling beat-'em-ups with a heart of gold, an eye for the absurd, and a combat system that veers a little too close to the repetitive.
Fist of good
At the start of the game Tim gains the power of the titular fist after a cataclysm that sees bears becoming the dominant species on earth. Mean bears. It's up to you and your newly conscious fist to punch everything that moves.
You work your way through a series of levels, starting in the present day and battling through a bear-run Manhattan, taking down street toughs and suits before travelling back in time to try and fix the time stream and get things back to normal.
Sliding a finger on the left of the screen moves you around, and taps on the right side unleash your blows. Holding a finger down on the right performs a super-powered fist attack, and sliding left or right kicks in that direction.
You can perform flying kicks, grab enemies and repeatedly knee them in the groin, or hurl them away from you to get some breathing space. Swiping down on the right of the screen performs the downward stomp.
You'll punch your way through cave-bears, knight-bears, futuristic Boba Fett-bears, and the odd deer as well in your quest to fix the time stream. The violence is fast and simple, and the lack of a 'block' button means you need to think about where you're standing.
The rhythm of the combat does get a little predictable the more you play, and there's not that much room for experimentation within the narrow parameters of the fisticuffs.
You'll still push through, though, because even though things can get a little staid there's a compulsion to push on to see what's around the next corner, and a sense of triumph that comes from putting one of the boss bears on the ground.
Fist past the post
As a package, Fist of Awesome is impressively tight. The pixel-art graphics are gorgeous, the animations are perfect, and the soundtrack pushes the right nostalgic buttons without devolving into parody.
The sound effects deserve special mention. Some of them will have you cackling out loud, a personal favourite of mine being the 'moo' noises the bison make. They're emblematic of the care and attention that have gone into Fist of Awesome.
It's just the combative core of the game that lets things down. It's still an incredible amount of fun, and the jokes and cheeky winks are worth the admission fee alone.
But you can't help but wish, as you stomp on your thousandth bear crotch or scream Tim-Buuuuurrrrrr at the apex of your millionth uppercut, for just a little more variety.