Back when I was younger, I spent many an hour playing a rather fantastic little beat ‘em up called International Karate + or IK+ for short. This involved a single combatant, or dual combatants fighting in an arena against multiple enemies coming at you from both sides. In 2012 Silver Dollar Games won the Dream.Build.Play competition with a game that looks every bit as much fun as IK+, (Seriously, look for some Youtube clips of IK+, Turbo mode was brilliant).
For the bargain price of 80MS Points and the mere matter of 94MB, One Finger Death Punch is already looking to be a bit of a bargain. The opening sequences are a little clichéd, with an over-commentary that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Bruce Lee movie. This surprised me slightly, it nearly gave me a bad impression but please, don’t let this put you off. Hiding behind this slightly yellow-gold façade is a fighting gem.
The most striking thing about the opening sequence is the announcement that the game only uses two buttons. That’s right, this is a two button game, not even the sticks do anything. Starting the story mode comes with a dire warning however, button mash and you will die. This is the hook, the thing that makes this so eminently playable though. It’s so simple to pick up and beat the daylights out of your opponents. The controls are the very epitome of simple; if and enemy is approaching you from the right, tap B when they enter the “attack zone”, if they approach from the left, press X. That’s it, that’s all there is to it and it works so, so well.
Let’s break it down. The graphics, well the graphics are, simple. You control a stickman who looks as if he’s come alive and peeled himself off the door of the gents, only to find himself in peril of his newly-formed life from a horde of other animated toilet signs. In truth, the simple character graphics make the game run just that bit more smoothly. The lack of detailing in the visuals allows the kicks, punches and weapons attacks to flow into each move as the waves start to come thick and fast. Did I say weapons? Yes I did. Some enemies drop various weapons, sword, bows, pikes and more and you can pick them up when dropped. This allows you to take out your foes in one shot, or even from distance. Part of the backdrop also contains crates that can be destroyed for more weapon-type goodies.
The audio is, apart from the opening sequence’s cheesiness, pretty standard. There are voice-overs for the tutorial, telling you how to play the game and even the fact that you’ve played a level before. Don’t let the cheesy audio put you off though, you lose yourself in the fighting action and the audio becomes a cacophony of total win.
You might be forgiven for thinking that a game of this type may get pretty tiring pretty quickly, but you couldn’t be more wrong. There are over 250 levels with 13 stage types and 2 games modes, story and survival. Scattered throughout these waves are bosses that need you to follow the button sequence on-screen to defeat and different coloured enemies that will either dodge or take more than one punch to down. As there are only two-buttons to press, this is a pretty simple process. At the end of each wave your performance is assessed by way of a gold, silver, bronze award. These are granted by totting up how many times you attempted to attack and missed. Miss infrequently and the more likely the chance of getting a gold award. Finish a level without missing and get a perfect platinum medal awarded. The only real downside is that you have to unlock the survival mode through the story.
So, to sum up, is One Finger Death Punch worth 80MS Points and a whole chunk of your time? Yes. If you can look through the cheesy oriental voice-over and appreciate the simple, but effective graphics and superbly smooth fighting animation then you are definitely on to a missive winner with One Finger Death Punch. Add the huge number of levels and the weapons into the mix and you’ve got yourself a smashing little game for very little outlay that should more than entertain you. I took particular joy from pinning an enemy to a bit of scenery with an arrow through the throat. It’s a bonus that it is so easy to pick up and play and because the game footprint is so small, loading times are minimal. All that’s missing is a bonus shield level to deflect some deadly bouncing balls and you have yourself a worthy pretender to the IK+ crown for the Xbox 360. This is definitely one of the Indie games you should be getting this year.