BADGP Reviews: One Finger Death Punch

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One Finger Death Punch (Silver Dollar)

Released: March 3, 2014

Alex Linna

Review: A Shot Through the Heart

Upon completing the ”Student” difficulty in One Finger Death Punch, players are greeted by one of the game’s creators thanking the player for supporting indie games.  He notes that there are probably big AAA games that you could be playing and that in the indie realm all sorts of crazy ideas are possible.  One Finger Death Punch is certainly a game born of a crazy idea.

A heartfelt "Thank You" from one of the developers.

A heartfelt “Thank You” from one of the developers.

One Finger Death Punch is one of the simplest games I have ever played.  The player has enemies storming the player character from both directions of a 2D plane. When they get in range, the player must halt their advances by pushing the left or right mouse button.  A warning is splashed across the screen before the player embarks on their death punching journey, “Do Not Button Mash!” Every button press counts in One Finger Death Punch, and randomly mashing the mouse buttons will result in a quick and untimely death.  The game has a “twitchy,” reflex-based combat system that is incredibly simple, but also proves to be quite satisfying.

There is no player movement, just punching when enemies get in range of the player’s stick figure.  Picking up enemy weapons might extend the player’s range allowing for less waiting time between punches, but when things get chaotic picking up weapons can result in missing a punch.  Missing a punch will almost always result in the player receiving damage.  Grabbing a weapon requires its own button press and when one is in the zone, weapons get in the way of stringing long combos together.  That being said, the bow is invaluable.  It will take out enemies with one shot. Some enemies require four or more hits to take down and the bow drops them immediately.

The map is enormous.

The map is enormous.

One Finger Death Punch has an enormous map to explore.  Additional skills may be unlocked by defeating “bosses.” Boss fights essentially boil down to facing many types of enemies presented as one super enemy.  The game has a simple look to match the simple gameplay. Backdrops may change from area to area. The simple character designs help to keep the focus on the high-intensity gameplay.

There are a number of different types of levels to be experienced in One Finger Death Punch, but sadly, after an hour of playtime they will undoubtedly begin to blend together.  There are timed levels where the player must try to complete levels faster.  There are light-sword and nunchaku levels that cut out a lot of the waiting time between enemies, but have cool looking backgrounds.  Some levels make the player block incoming projectiles, or only use projectiles.  The levels are all variations on the same theme.  They provide some variety, but not much.

The music is surprisingly varied.  Present are the expected East Asian themed tracks, but there are some electronic, almost dubstep styled tracks along with some strong orchestral sounding songs to boot.

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One Finger Death Punch’s strongest aspect is its value proposition. It is only five dollars.  It took me three and half hours to complete “Student” difficulty and I did not get all the possible skills.  There two additional difficulty settings after “Student” as well. There are copious amounts of content available for those who want to death punch for a long time.

One Finger Death Punch would be a great mobile game.  With only two button inputs, it would be perfectly suited to a mobile platform.  The large map and brevity of its levels also lend itself to short play sessions that are conducive to the mobile platform.

Though the game may get numbingly repetitious, there is satisfaction in the simplicity of its gameplay.  It revs up the difficulty and requires absolute focus.  Getting a “Perfect” rating always feels good with a strong sense of accomplishment.  One Finger Death Punch offers a lot of content for a low price, is engaging enough to recommend, and is simple enough for anyone to play.  It is also nice to support small independent development studios, and you know you want to do that.

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Score:

6.5 out of 10

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