One Finger Death Punch – Review (PC)

 The Most Violent Fingering Metaphor

Have you ever had that feeling where you are taken somewhere by your parents that sounds painfully shit, only to have it turn out to be one of the best things ever? One Finger Death Punch is just like that.

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After the recent success of games like DiveKick, the concept of very simple controls having great levels of feedback and strategy has stopped being laughed out of the room, and has been given a chance to stand on the stage. Thankfully the  games that step up to the stage, their tiny selection of buttons in hand, have proven that complexity is not needed for a game to have heart pounding action and a high level of skill. If anything, they have proven that with tighter boundaries gamers will learn and in turn be more skilful. With only two buttons to work with and serious penalties for button mashing, One Finger Death Punch teaches you to act, not react. It really captures the true essence of Kik-sum-ass. (Patent Pending)

In One Finger Death Punch you fight using the left and right mouse buttons, clicking when an enemy gets within range of your deadly fists/sword/staff/spike ball/spiked mace/spear/naginata. Each weapon has more than enough animations to never feel stale and often the viscera filled zen distracts from anything other than where to hit next. Even the ranged weapons give a better feeling of catharsis than most hack and slash games. An impressive feat for a 2D indie title with stick figures.

To keep the gameplay frantic and challenging, One Finger Death Punch throws quite a few features into the mix. Colour coded enemies that dodge, take multiple hits or trigger a “duel” that requires pressing the pattern of buttons as quickly as possible. It sounds simple but, as the speed increases with every level, it takes a lot of concentration to not panic.

2014-03-11_00001You progress through different levels with different goals; killing enough enemies, defeating a boss (An enemy that changes type and has long dueling sequences), speed rounds, ranged rounds, survival and object destruction. The nice part is that these levels follow many different paths that take you through the world towards your end goal, though with no story this is somewhat pointless and serves just as eye candy. The only purpose for this openness is to allow the player to collect skills in whatever order they want. Which is nice, but unfortunately we missed most of them by accident. The few skills we did collect really changed the game and gave certain elements such a boost that it become an obsession to seek them out.

In addition to increasing the speed, giving various weapons, introducing new enemy types every few levels, throwing weapons at you to catch and a variety of passive skills; One Finger Death Punch also gives the occasional overly brutal finishing move for you to appreciate. Whether it be an enemy’s eye flying towards the screen in slow motion, or an x-ray of their ribs breaking apart from the force of your kick, the satisfaction it gives is actually worrying.

If you are nervous about the stick figure art style, we understand. When we first saw the simple stick people, we thought it was a flash game masquerading as something more. Thankfully those fears are unfounded as it appears the stick figures are for easy identification rather than cheap design. To make up for it, the developers have put a lot of work into the backgrounds and the objects that litter the battlefield.

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Couple the fast action and beautiful visuals with a rather fitting electronic soundtrack and a grandmaster that belongs in a slightly racist B-movie and you have a game that is perfect for those “must kill everyone” moods.

One Finger Death Punch is available on Steam