A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The thin narrative contains only simple concepts of good and bad, with the bulk of the experience focused on entertaining via the depiction of brutal hand-to-hand combat.
Positive Role Models
The hero has little character development. Players know their job is to take down criminal organizations, never hesitating to use violence when necessary, but that's about it.
The hero can be male or female, according to player preference. All characters are silhouettes, so it's difficult to determine race, though some of the criminal gangs seem to be based on ethnicity, led by East Asian and Italian clans.
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Ease of Play
An interactive training mission and lots of pop-up tutorials help lead players through the game's mechanics, which will likely prove new to most players and require a bit of time to master. Early missions are pretty easy, but things get challenging in a hurry, and players may find themselves forced to restart story runs from scratch in order to conserve the hero's health for tougher fights that come up later.
Violence & Scariness
Turn-based action shows silhouettes in brutal hand-to-hand combat. The player's character uses martial arts moves to kill enemies, with hits often resulting in blood spatter and spray. Enemies may be armed with guns, batons, and other weapons. The Blood effects can be switched off in the menu.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some scenes are set in pubs, and one mission involves confronting a gang of drug runners.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fights in Tight Spaces is a downloadable turn-based deck-building fighting game with brutal hand-to-hand combat for Xbox One, Xbox S/X, and Windows PCs. Players control a special agent tasked to take down a variety of criminal operations, from Italian mobsters to a terrorist organization. Selecting actions from a deck of cards, players strategically maneuver their agents around small rooms, punching, kicking, and grappling with enemies. Enemies fight back, punching and shooting as opportunity permits. Blood spatter effects (which can be turned off in the options menu) spray the ground, and enemies sprawl in rag-doll fashion once defeated. Various replay options provide a cinematic perspective, highlighting the viciousness of some attacks, such as smashing enemies' heads into walls. One of the gangs that players face runs an illegal drug operation, and some fights take place in bars.
Is It Any Good?
This turn-based fighter relies a tad too much on the luck of the draw, but should still prove a winner among fans of strategic action. Fights in Tight Spaces doesn't concern itself much with character development or storytelling, instead relying on a strong visual style and measured combat to hold players' attention. The simple greyscale environments allow the black and white silhouetted characters -- most of whom have splashes of color to help you distinguish them from each other -- to take center stage as they engage in slick, James Bond-style fisticuffs. Each movement is smoothly animated, and at the end of a fight players have the option of replaying the entire thing in real time, which usually takes less than a minute. It's a visually satisfying reward for all of your tactical decision making.
And that decision making isn't easy. Each card costs action points, can improve your combo counter (which allows you to play some really powerful cards), and offers key strategic advantages. This allows you to do things like stun or knock down enemies to get a bit of breathing room, or sidestep around others to get out of their attack line and perhaps force another enemy to inadvertently shoot or hit one of their allies. Stringing together the right two or three cards from the handful that you're randomly dealt takes thought and foresight, and success is never a given. Turns in which you draw less useful cards hand can be pretty frustrating, but players have the option of reversing moves and restarting battles rather than resetting an entire mission, so it's not quite as punishing as it could be. Fights in Tight Spaces forces players to be a bit more calculated than in many other combat-oriented games, and may hit a sweet spot for thinking players.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.