Game Review #352: American Fugitive (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Developer: Fallen Tree Games Ltd
Publisher: Curve Digital
Category: Action, Adventure, Racing
Release Date: 5.23.2019
Price (at time of review): $19.99
Buy American Fugitive from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
GTA + AF = GRAND THEFT FUGITIVE
Since the first time I got my hands on my Nintendo Switch, I knew with all these ports that the classic Grand Theft Auto games would be a smash hit. But, as I’ve climbed to the top of the mountain many times and screamed until I’m blue in the face, if these developers won’t bring over their games, someone will make a new intellectual property and do it themselves. When you’re doing this, you have to make sure you can fill those boots, so to speak. American Fugitive is a 3-D, top-down, open-world video game developed by British studio, Fallen Tree Games, and published by Curve Digital, and it's now available on Nintendo Switch, so let’s jump in and find out how it stacks up.
On the Run & All Alone...
American Fugitive takes place in the 1980s in a sleepy, quaint little town called Redrock County. It reminded me of the old movie series, Walking Tall, that got the remake treatment with The Rock. It’s a small town where everyone knows your name, and everyone is a good ole boy—especially the dirty sheriff and the meth heads. I definitely got that feeling right off the bat playing American Fugitive.
It’s a classic revenge tale, as the game lets players take control of Will Riley, a person seeking vengeance for the murder of his father. Will, is locked up in the state prison, but breaks out when new evidence comes to light; and he will do whatever it takes to find out who framed him and killed his father.
It’s the American Way… Grab Your Gun!
The controls are fairly the norm for a top-down action game, using the left stick to move and right to aim. While moving around, you can press a button to sprint, but it’ll only work for brief moments—but I was usually able to outrun most cops or thugs; and speaking of outrunning, if you come across a clothesline with laundry drying, you can change clothes to outwit the cops.
You move around the open world, and you can interact with a lot of different items through an inventory menu. You can carry quite a bit in your personal inventory, but as the game goes on, you’ll have to work to really manage things. The smallest of details was quite impressive; for example, if you see a person outside a house moving about, you can borrow their keys—with a little force—rather than breaking into their home.
Once you enter a home—or any building, for that matter—either by key or by breaking in, a blueprint map of the house or building will appear on screen. You can go room to room, and it’ll show you all of the items you can steal. If you happen to enter a room that is occupied, the normal text conversation will pop up, and you have to choose how to handle it. When talking to NPCs, you’ll sometimes be prompted to choose what to say, but I learned that if I never really changed things—and sometimes, if the game didn’t like my answer—they’d let me know.
The world of Redrock County plays as a character itself, and it is a blast to interact with. While doing so, you’ll encounter the two biggest things: the action, and the driving. The action is crisp and done very well, and the only thing missing was the ability to lock on while shooting or fighting. You can use blunt objects, like crowbars and pipes, to break into things or to fight. Also, you can equip a gun, and once you do, you can holster it for quick use, using the right stick to aim, firing with the right trigger, and reload with the right bumper.
Early on, you’re given a cell phone; you can use this to order guns, bullets, and more from the armory service. You can also use your phone to get a car, but why order a car when you can just steal one? After all, this is the mainstay in games like this. Be prepared, because the cops are all over the damn place, and when they want you, they come in heavy, with back up and the whole nine yards! I was usually able to shake them, but the AI drives way better than I can—especially at high speeds! I’m still trying to master the driving in top-down, and for me, it takes a while to get used to.
The driving felt a bit slippery, especially in powerful cars, so I tried to go slow for the most part. In pure fashion with these games, you’ll have to manage your contacts to work missions in order to move the plot along, uncover who killed your father, and take them down. There are also time trials and side missions to keep you busy. This is a decent 15 -20 hours of play, and it was a fun time throughout my experience.
Audio & Visuals
The soundtrack is done well and is top-notch throughout. One thing that was extremely noticeable was the fact that, when driving the vehicles, there are no radio stations, unlike the games it’s inspired by like Grand Theft Auto. The sounds in the world are, again, so well done, with dogs barking in the background, and bushes rustling when you move through them. There was no voice acting, which was noticeable as well, but it didn’t take away from the experience.
The visuals are also done very well, with on point character models, and the world of Redrock County feeling very lived-in and well-designed. The only downside I saw in the visuals was that the framerate struggles a bit when the car chases get going in high speed. I hope this can be patched further, as the game looks great otherwise.
It’s A Wrap!!!
This GTA-inspired game is one I had a lot of fun with, and I thought it was actually done rather well for being an indie title. It did a lot to impress me. I would even say that, with a few tweaks and the addition of a couple things, this could be a major contender to the games by which it is inspired, rather than just acting as a placeholder until they make the leap over. I can see this one going both ways, depending on how you feel certain things were handled; but me, I enjoyed my experience quite a bit, and can’t wait to jump back into Redrock County and play some more!
Buy American Fugitive from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Follow Fallen Tree Games Ltd.
Follow Curve Digital
*Review Code Provided by Tinsley PR