Fightback is a throwback, meat and potatoes brawler that doesn't exactly aim for the fences. Instead, it attempts to wow us with a 'throw in everything but the kitchen sink' mentality, giving us tons of uncomplicated game play without having to pay a penny. Freemium models usually come with a horrible compromise, but some apps rise above such madness.

If you're a miser like me, downloading free to play titles isn't exactly a hand wringing decision, especially since one can occasionally stumble onto a good deal. Although many FTP titles are weighed down with in-app purchases, Fightback doesn't suffer the same fate. It may take several minutes to fill up your stamina bar after you partake in several fights, but you can still enjoy the app without opening your wallet. With tons of upgrades available, including the ability to ramp up your fighter's defensive skills, the length of your Fightback play time (sans waiting for stamina recharges), will increase with more experience.

For beat 'em ups to truly work, the control mechanic has to be on point and simplified, and thankfully Fightback passes that test as well. Just furiously tap on the screen to unload your punch combos and slide a finger to perform various kicks. A plethora of weapons are also available for purchase with money you accrue during your battles, with gold bars used to replenish your stamina or purchase premium items. Cash and gold are also available for in-app purchases, but as long as you complete enough challenges, you can still beat your enemies to a bloody pulp for free. Thanks to a couple of ferocious uppercuts, our hero ensures the local thug doesn't make that helicopter flight.

The app's ingenuity rests on its sheer lack of complexity. Sometimes a kiss is still a kiss, and there's really no need for analysis, and Fightback understands that some gamers just want to smash heads, collect money, and trick out their weapons. Ninja Theory's pairing with Chillingo is the perfect marriage, as the DMC Devil May Cry developers have employed Chillingo's passion for upgrades into their creative fabric. Although the game's plot centers on a brawler's mission to rescue his kidnapped sister, the real thrust is to demolish everything evil in the city and look good doing it. It's unapologetic mayhem that should keep you hooked for several hours, and considering the shelf life of most apps, that's really not a bad thing.

Ninja Theory could have completely sleepwalked in creating the visual design behind Flashback and still create a fun enough app. This game may hang its hat on pure, adrenaline induced butt kicking, but it's beautiful to look at. There's also a bit of perverse humor thrown into the fray, which I love. Even though I get frustrated whenever my health is spent, a lovely lady who promises to "take care" of me soothes my inner geek.

Fightback is a solid app that's worth the download, especially if you're in the mood for a pick up and play beat 'em up. It may not leave a profound impression on your soul, but it will sure fill your gaming stomach in the interim. There's a lot of junk out there that isn't worth the time of day, but Fightback delivers a few more punches than expected.


App Store Link: Fightback for iPhone & iPad | By Chillingo Ltd.  | Price: Free | Version: 1.6.1 |  270 MB | Rating 17+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating