by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Back when I was in school the idea of a viral video wasn’t a concept that many people thought about. One of the first ones I remember was an animation of some stick figures fighting each other around a computer screen. A handful of us were gathered around an old cathode ray tube monitor, and we thought it was pretty cool. Now along comes One Finger Death Punch, a game in which you play as a stick figure, fighting other stick figures. Oh, how it takes me back.
Click click click
What’s more is that at its core, it is just about one of the easiest games that you can play, but that’s not to say it doesn’t become fiendishly difficult to be good at it. The action takes place along a 2D plane. You stand in the middle, with attackers coming at you from either side. You press either the left or right mouse button to fight them off, depending on which side your enemies are coming from. It’s been a while since I’ve played a game where I could have both feet up on my desk and just play with one hand. You could even play One Finger Death Punch with one finger, although I wouldn’t advise it. It’s wonderfully simple, and that’s part of its appeal, but perhaps also part of its downfall.
As you can imagine, there’s only so much you can do with such a limited control set. Enemies do start to get tougher, sometimes requiring more than one click to take down, and eventually starting to dodge your attacks and switch sides. You can learn the colours of the different enemies and the button presses they usually come with, but you soon have to start watching the click order shown below them as they approach. It doesn’t take long before the game becomes frantic, especially considering the speed at which foes approach you increases every time you complete a level successfully (although it does decrease if you fail).
Changing up your mouse clicks is about as much variation as you are going to get mechanically. Some levels require you to smash objects by punching and kicking opponents into them, but since you can’t move other than a little bit of motion when you move towards an enemy to attack them, you are not using any different tactics than you would normally. Similarly, some levels don’t let you use any special skills, but even when you are using them, clicking the corresponding mouse button when an enemy comes close is the extent of your attacking ability. Some levels are visually different, removing colour or saturating the screen with blue, but you can always see which buttons you have to press below each enemy, so it’s not that much more challenging.
Lots of content
You have to know what you are going to get heading into the game. One Finger Death Punch is a game best suited to quick bursts of action. You can play a level or two here and there and enjoy it, but extended periods of play left me feeling a little bored. It’s not all that hard, but the real challenge in each level comes from not missing a hit. The visual design is something that is definitely working in the game’s favour. The art style is great, and is mixed up pretty well through the game. For instance there are a few light sword stages where the level is plunged into blackness and your light saber-esque weapon slashes through the darkness. It also features a pretty decent soundtrack, ranging from stylised Japanese sounding themes to good old electronic dubstep.
Another thing it has going is the sheer amount of content you get for your money. There is a world map which acts as a level select, branching at multiple points as you explore the world through forests and over mountains and such. Zoom out and the map just seems to keep going and going, with new levels stretching out in every direction. Adding to this main mode is the Survival mode, meaning there are many hours of content here. Of course the number of levels on offer won’t mean much once you start to get bored, but there is plenty here to keep you going, not to mention the 152 Steam achievements, which just fill up the bottom right corner of the screen as you endlessly unlock them.
Blow off some steam
I enjoyed One Finger Death Punch. Whether that’s a recommendation, I’m not entirely sure. This is a game to play when you are waiting around for something, need to quickly blow off some steam, or if you’re a maniacal completionist. The depth behind the simplistic control scheme is impressive up to a point, until it all starts to get a bit samey. It’s always nice to get that bit of nostalgia though.
Simple control scheme and a great visual style.
Lack of interesting mechanics begins to show itself a couple of hours in.