Fights in Tight Spaces is exactly what it looks like from the trailer. I think this is a good thing. The trailer is stylish and fun and shows a depth to it that isn't overwhelming. Inspired by the visual styling of Superhot and following it up with the methodical intentional movement of something like Ring of Pain — it manages to come into its own with a fundamentally unique idea. You play the role of an agent who has to take on tons of bad guys with only your fists and their weapons to help you.
Your biggest ally in Fights in Tight Spaces is the environment itself. You will use enemy attacks and the edges of especially sharp desks to take out your foes. The fighting system itself isn't too complicated but leaves enough room for a nice skill ceiling. Each turn, you draw a handful of cards and have 3 momentum to spend on those cards. Your momentum essentially works like energy does in other games. Cards cost a certain amount so you need to conserve your momentum and plan out your move in advance.
The fighting system essentially works like one big combo. You tie steps, attacks, and blocks together to prepare the best outcome for yourself. This might be moving out of the way of an oncoming bullet or just blocking enough damage to keep going. What makes this system work so well is the ability to see all your enemy's actions. You can slip out of the way of a bullet and push an enemy directly in the firing line for huge damage. You can jump over a table whilst smashing someone else into the nearby wall. There's this great synergy to cards that allow you to string moves together for a cool-looking win.
That's not all you gain from beating a fight. Like most deck builders, the predominant way of building up your moves is by winning battles. You can pick up one card to add to your arsenal after every encounter and then pick where you want to go next. Each fight greets you with a new path choice at the end that takes you forward in the level. You are met with unique chances as you progress through floors. The Gym can provide you a chance to upgrade cards and gain new ones with money, while the medical facility allows you to heal up a bit.
If you don't feel like going to the gym, maybe you can go to an event to further your development. This gives you the opportunity to take a chance for some greater reward. You may find a wad of cash and choose to keep it at the chance of getting into a fight. You may encounter a potential hacker who asks for money. This small decision help keep the moment-to-moment gameplay going.
As of right now, the decisions you make are still very limited and it would be nice to see more change in that regard, but the combat is so addictive, it's worth going through again anyway. As you pick up more moves, the game starts to make more sense. The intent of each card is made clearer. There are many cards that seem to have certain uses that really help in combat that you have to figure out. Things like the actual combo system take even longer. As certain moves impact enemies and even fling certain enemies together, your combo rises, giving you the ability to access certain high damage moves. There are cards designed to finish combos with a bang that you likely won't use for your first couple of tries.
Although I wish there were more options in between fights, Fights in Tight Spaces does quite a lot to shake up the combat. There are a handful of decks to choose from that prioritize different fighting styles and different small stories to go through — each with their own enemies. It seems that it benefits from lots of moves, rather than lots of choices. This will likely be the most important factor for someone who hasn't yet played the game. If you like the winding paths in Slay the Spire, this doesn't offer that. Its progression is much more similar to Monster train where you pick one of two paths and see where that leads you. It helps that the fights are stylish and genuinely rewarding
There’s a surprising amount of creativity that has come from deck builder games over the last couple of years. Upon seeing the great standards put forth by the likes of Slay The Spire, one might assume they would all latch on to the same basic idea but time has proven this isn’t true. From the subtle darkness of Ring of Pain to the intriguing preview of The Amazing American Circus, there is just so much going on. Fights in Tight Spaces is no different. Grabbing little bits of all those mentioned games as well a little Superhot, it comes off strikingly unique, even if it could benefit from shaking up the moment to moment. It's stylish, fun, and oh so replayable.
TechRaptor previewed Fights in Tight Spaces on PC with a copy provided by the publisher. It will be launching for PC on the 24th of February in Early Access.