Hey! Hey you! The one playing Black Ops 2! Come over here a minute I’ve got something for you. What? No it’s not drugs don’t be so stupid. Now, as someone who plays COD I can tell you’re the sort of guy who loves over the top unrealistic action right? Yeah you know I’m right. Well why don’t you put down your Red Bull and waddle over to the Xbox Live Arcade, hand over 80 of your finest Xbox Live points to Silver Dollar Games and prepare to have your mind blown by One Finger Death Punch. Trust me; you’re going to love it…
As this was actually released in June, I hope you are able to forgive the tardiness of this review; I have been very busy these past few months studying for an exam which I ultimately failed. All those late nights studying the finer points of insurance regulatory matters accumulated to the sum total of sod all. As you can imagine I was pretty angry, filled with a rage that only the mindless massacre of hundreds of computer generated bots could assuage. After half an hour of frenetic kung fu action, I can report that even the cloudiest of dark days can be brightened by my new favourite title.
One Finger Death Punch is the latest in a long line of titles from Indie developers Silver Dollar Games, and provides joy through both it’s over the top action and in the simplicity that it is achieved. All the action is produced using only the X and the B buttons, and by pressing them as the ever increasing line of enemies enter into the grey ‘combat zone’, your stick man Bruce Lee pulls off some of the most spectacular kill shots you can imagine. You start out with the basic enemies that (as the name suggests) only take one punch to take out, then they start to rock up with weapons which get dropped and are then available for you to pick up and use yourself. The further you go the tougher the enemies become; those that have learnt how to duck take a couple of hits, some can jump past you meaning you can’t just button mash; there is a noticeable step up in the challenge as you progress through the game.
Whilst this relentless onslaught of enemies could grow boring if done lazily, there is a nice twist to stop you getting an Ikaruga-esque blindness to the enemies rushing towards you. Every so often your character will release the beast at one hapless enemy, and the whole world will stop as you jump up and tear their head off/cleft them in twain with a sword/bring the scenery crashing down behind you. There are the slightly less enjoyable quick time events which almost have a Guitar Hero like quality to them (not a fan of Guitar Hero but will save that for another day), where you go one on one with an enemy and have to hit a string of the right buttons to get your kill in.
As you might have gathered, One Finger Death Punch is not a hugely complicated game. That is not to say it isn’t a challenge; far from it, there has been much gnashing of teeth and profane language hurled at my tv at some of the later levels. That however is part of this games charm. As its only two buttons its very easy to fall into a state of serenity whilst playing this game; think Neo at the end of The Matrix but without the huge Nokia phones and Rage Against The Machine soundtrack. There is a psychological theory that the human brain operates at its peak efficiency when in the Beta state (Alpha, predictably, is just day to day brain activity), and this is where you will be able to come up with your best and most innovative ideas. This is achieved by performing a repetitive task such as driving or juggling (not at the same time). I would really love o say that One Finger Death Punch helps achieve this Beta brain state so that I could have it installed in the office at work,however I’m afraid that this would be a lie. The ease in which you are able to throw outrageous kill streaks together is massively addictive, and you can’t help yourself but to drift further and further into immersion. You’ll find yourself playing over and over again, and for all the right reasons.
This brings up an interesting thought; Silver Dollar Games have massively undersold their game in terms of price. You get a fairly decent length trial, maybe four or five levels, and when the message popped up and said I’d finished the trial, I didn’t even think twice before buying the full game. 80 Points for crying out loud! In all seriousness this game is the bargain of the century; it harks back to a proper arcade title that you could imagine yourself spending an evening relentlessly pumping your money into whilst the girl you brought with you sits behind with her arms crossed and a face like toothache. Where gaming has reached the level now where the levels of immersion, strategic input and realism require concentration levels akin to juggling rattlesnakes, this is a refreshing alternative which offers a fantastic release for pent up frustration at the end of the night having been battered at FIFA/COD/Battlefield.