Fights in Tight Spaces is a tactical deck-builder game that was first released on PC and Xbox in December 2021. The game offers visceral violence and surprisingly deep strategy. Players assume the role of Agent 11, tasked with infiltrating increasingly dangerous criminal organizations. The game features a minimalist art style that is reminiscent of a melee-focused Superhot.
Gameplay is centered around being dropped into a diorama of pain, with enemies approaching Agent 11 from all sides, and beating them into unconsciousness. Players draw several cards from their deck each turn, each one with a different power. Some allow players to move one or two spaces from their current location while most are focused on inflicting damage on enemies or moving them around the battle grid. Once the player has depleted their action points, called momentum, or run out of cards in their hand, their turn ends and the enemy all goes at once, attacking or moving in clearly marked patterns.
The game is a “use it or lose it” system, which encourages players to push their turns to their limit. Inflicting damage also increases the player’s combo, which unlocks more powerful cards in their hand or even boosts the damage of certain attacks. It is intensely satisfying to position oneself in the perfect spot where no one can hit or, better yet, to get the enemies to shoot or stab each other. Players can even knock them off the edge of the map or use the walls or tables to inflict bigger damage, though staying at the edge of the map can put them at risk of being boxed in.
Difficulty and Progression
Unlike many roguelikes, players can choose their difficulty level. These don’t change enemy stats but easier difficulties allow players to take back a bad turn or ensure that they always have at least one movement card in their hand, both of which will greatly increase their success rate. Upping the difficulty once players have completed a few runs feels like a totally new experience. It is an effective way of making the game feel longer than it actually is.
Players can easily sink 40 hours into beating every difficulty level if they want. Progressing further into each map earns players experience points for their Agent 11, which allows them to equip increasingly powerful cards with different status effects. However, one of the biggest criticisms of Fights in Tight Spaces is that there isn’t quite enough synergy between the cards in each of the pre-set decks.
Fights in Tight Spaces is a polished game that offers a fresh twist on the roguelike genre. The game’s turn-based combat means players will constantly be weighing up the right strategy, while the unique difficulty levels mean that completing the first run is only the start of the fun. Though the game isn’t quite optimized for the Switch, it still looks and plays very well. The fights are brutal without feeling graphic and the difficulty progression is incredibly well-balanced. Recommended for anyone looking for a strategic and satisfying game.