I’d heard great things about Fat City. I liked the plot, I liked the look and I liked the fact that it was a bit of a brain teaser. Leading a team of special ops personnel on some highly audacious heists sounded like heaven to me, ensuring that I’d need to use a bit of grey matter as opposed to my waning reflexes.
But does it all turn out to be as good as it sounds?
Chris Knox is the leader of a crew. A crew who are ready to bust into banks, steal diamonds and make their way safely to the safehouse in order to fulfill the requirements of an underground crime syndicate who has taken Chris’ loved one. Set in the five boroughs of New York City, Fat City sees you spending some time planning your job, before putting the plans into action, attempting to avoid the cops and ultimately earn as much cash as humanly possible and to keep the syndicate sweet.
There are two definite stages to Fat City. The time spent planning, and then the period in which you’ll act out your well thought out super plans. If one of those two parts fail, then you’ll be busted in no time, needing to go back to the drawing board and starting again.
Set out as a top-down tabletop style title, each crew member’s actions are represented not by a slick, well designed character with a ton of animation, but instead by a small coloured counter. Fat City’s planning stage involves plotting the courses that Chris and the rest of his crew should take. It’s as simple as moving the left stick up, down, left and right to draw out their routes, trying to avoid the cops, picking up the solitary diamond that is housed on each level, making their way to the bank and then on safely to the safehouse. It obviously makes sense to choose the shortest route possible, but some cleverly designed stages filled with obstacles, dead ends and the old bill mean that you’ll need to carefully consider your options. It’s all a bit ‘Pac-Man’ but it works pretty well.
When you’re happy with your plans, then a well timed press of the action button sets Chris and his squad off on their merry way. It is here where you’ll find out whether your initial plans were a success or not. If they are well configured, then all is good and you’ll swiftly move on to the next level or borough. If not, then you’ll be thrown back into the planning stages to try again. Success is great, but failure really isn’t anywhere near the end of the world that it should be.
The four members of the gang each have their own unique skills and these are drip fed in nicely as you progress through the game. Chris is most definitely the leader though, and if he fails to action his safecracking capabilites and make it home, then all is lost. Being able to utilise a false ID and speed up/slow down his work is crucial to the best possible outcome.
Assisting him however are Ace, Fish and Dali. Ace is the hot hacker of the bunch, being able to hack gates and alarms in order to help the others through safely. He also has a lovely little EMP blast to fire off every now and then and this is great if you’ve got the pesky cops on your tail! Fish meanwhile comes with a bit of a bigger bang. Being able to destroy walls with explosives and throw the old smoke grenade out onto the streets means that any job is a cinch – as long as he’s got enough of the C4 handy! Dali is the only lady in the group and she has been left as the getaway driver. Pair her up with any of the team and they’ll reach their destination much quicker than normal with her ‘turbo power’ leaving the police in her dust. If they do get too close, a quick drop of her tyre spikes should be enough to sort any issues out.
Many of the missions come with a recommended team and gadget list before you get started, but if you wish to purchase further equipment, then you can spend some of the cash you’ve earnt – you know, that cash you are meant to be passing on to the crime boss behind everything. If you therefore fancy going down the hard and fast route, you can do so, meaning tactics go out of the window and you just blast your way to success. With three objectives for each mission; grab the cash, collect the diamond and then beat the set time, it should be something to keep you going for a while with plenty of replayability.
All that sounds pretty good eh? So why is Fat City a hell of a let down?
Well firstly, it’s super short. In my time spent reviewing the title, I’m pretty certain it’s taken me no more than two hours to fully complete the game, and that includes going back over some levels to ensure Chris and co have picked up all the diamonds and hit all time deadlines. This in turn grants the gamer to all 1000 Gamerscore and one of the easiest achievement lists currently on Xbox One. I guess that could actually be a good thing, but surely no-one buys a game for achievements alone!?
Secondly, it’s far too simple – I mean stupidly simple – which in turn makes Fat City a boring place to visit. Whilst the 60+ levels that are on offer initially seem a decent amount, the fact that many of them can be completed in 15 seconds or less, with very few taking over half a minute means that Fat City is over well before it begins. The chance to purchase blueprints of the best routes for very little cash means that even the later levels that see the whole gang combine as one, won’t ever tax your little old brain too much.
Visually Fat City is a nothing title, with the graphics far too simple for the power of Xbox One. The same goes for the pretty poor ‘street sounds’ that accompany those and both are much more suited to the mobile arena. With no form of multiplayer mode in place either, and not even a leaderboard to compare yourself against your friends, Fat City is severely lacking in quality and content. In fact, once you’re out of the fairly fun planning stage, it all boils down to a well timed press of the go button, hoping that everything works out well. Even then, the purchasable schematics make spending any time slaving over well laid plans completely pointless too!
Other than the price, Fat City isn’t fat on anything…and that’s criminal.