Anger Foot Preview – Best Foot Forward

If the shoe fits...

Anger Foot is a hot mess of several crazy ideas, as a sneakerhead is drawn by consequence into a city-spanning vigilante mission to snatch back his prized collection of kicks. The brogue rogue puts his best foot forward to tackle crime, legs akimbo, in Shit City, leaving gangs kicked to pieces in his wake. It’s fantastically stupid and a hell of a lot of fun. 

I’m glad that since I last played Anger Foot, its brand of frenetic, kinetic (or “kicknetic” if we can force that into being) gameplay has found some structure by being funnelled through a relatively loose plot of shoe rescue. The basic premise sees you storming Shit City’s outskirts and apartment blocks in equal measure and kicking, or shooting, the shit out of every hoodlum in your path. You’re first set upon the Violence Gang and make your way through the city’s scum from that point on through a series of relatively short stages that task you with breaching the building and clearing house.  

In addition to your crushing green quads and wrecking ball feet, you can pick up and use guns in each level, from pistols to uzis and shotguns. The gunplay itself isn’t bad, though being forced to hip-fire with no option to aim down sights feels like a huge miss and leaves the shooting feeling like an afterthought and the least preferred form of attack. Laying the slipper into waves of thugs is hilarious, though. There’s an odd, floaty acrobatic feel to performing jump kicks against gangbangers that reminded me a lot of F.E.A.R. which I concede is a weird pull, but if you know you know.

Even as I near the end of the second set of levels, with each being tied to a gang’s stronghold within Shit City, I’ve found the variety of thugs has kept me on my toes. Even if skipping gunplay in favour of kicking the ever-living suitcase out of people is a viable route to take, and some of the game’s level-specific challenges ask this of you, closing the gap can become difficult as enemies are armed with quick-fire submachine guns and grenades which, at range, can put you out of commission fast. 

This feeds into my one big frustration about Anger Foot. For all of its efforts to be a kooky Rick and Morty-esque take on the Hotline Miami formula of breach and clear, the levels ultimately felt a hair too long to draw me into repeat visits. In terms of level design, the paths through some of the more bloated levels are also so labyrinthian that the most direct path is seldom easy to find amidst a series of similar-looking rooms. The absence of checkpoints full stop exacerbates the cheap deaths and makes that rewind back to the start of a nearly two-minute level painful. 

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Of course, in terms of avoiding this, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Like Hotline Miami, enemies can be baited into danger from doorways, leaving them as sitting ducks as they pile through. It’s an exploit I’m not proud of, but it’s handy in a pinch. Otherwise, Free Lives has included several accessibility toggles to let players modify the challenge, so to speak, which I do commend in a game designed to frustrate. Switching to God mode and cheating the game of its rewards might not be rewarding, but it’s there if you want to build out your sneaker collection with no fuss. 

Each of the game’s levels has a maximum of three stars to earn, with one coming at the completion of the stage, while the others are tied to certain challenges—blowing a certain number of baddies up with explosives, going barefoot, or besting a time trial are among those you’ll face. You’ll unlock a new set of perked-out shoes for every five stars you earn. None are necessarily brand names, but there are plenty of iconic shoes to pick from whether they’re Chucks, Birks, or Docs. This is where the developer manages to inject a huge amount of fun and a small amount of strategy into proceedings as certain buffs do suit certain situations, although it’s never entirely essential to the cause. I do like ‘Big Head’ mode though, it was hugely reminiscent of Goldeneye.

Out of getting kick happy on a few deros, a large portion of Anger Foot’s appeal comes from its art direction which feels like a colourful collision between a Squanch joint and the cheekily grotesque stylings of nineties Nickelodeon. It’s one of the more flashy games I’ve played in the last while, and what it lacks in overall polish it certainly delivers in intrigue. And it mightn’t have the platinum-worthy bangers that Hotline Miami did, but Anger Foot’s electronic dance soundtrack does manage to thump the house down.  

I think Anger Foot, provided it gets a bit of a marketing push, could be another win for Devolver Digital, especially with the streamer demographic. It’s geared at speedrunning and, even if I don’t particularly think a lot of the late-level design pairs well with the glass cannon character archetype, I think it could find an audience with a bit of balancing. 

It has all the off-the-wall style you could hope from a game so inherently silly, and while its current shortcomings mightn’t leave it front of mind for most people’s award seasons, it’s sure to be a shoo-in for Quentin Tarantino’s shortlist for Game of the Year.

Wishlist Anger Foot on Steam.