Warning; this game is addictive.
One Finger Death Punch 2 is just as simple yet complex in gameplay, as it is in title. Created by Silver Dollar Games and following on the coattails of its older sibling (familiarly dubbed One Finger Death Punch) from 2014, One Finger Death Punch 2 blazed its way onto Xbox One and Nintendo Switch last month.
The game has a delightfully intuitive design and set up. You take on the role of a martial arts warrior, striking down your foes left and right… and then left some more, through the use of (you guessed it) a single finger! The controls are where One Finger Death Punch truly shines. You remain centre of the screen at all times, while waves of enemies attack constantly from the left and right hand sides. There’s an attack button for the right and one for the left. That’s it. And you’ll be taking satisfaction in plowing through your foes in seconds.
The real fun comes in an unexpected layer of strategy to go with your Death Punch. The first few levels will repeat the phrase “No button mashing”, as this game is all about timing. Once the enemy enters your reach you unleash your perfect killing blows. There are penalties to your score if you attack blind with no targets in reach, whilst also leaving yourself open to attack for a few seconds. However, beyond the simple death punch, there are weapons you can pick up to cut, shoot and throw at your enemies. And so far, each time I play the game, I find weapons with an increasing ‘AWESOME’ factor, including a personal favourite for all us geeks out there.
There are combos, slow-mo scenes, cinematics and even boss fights with no deviation from the 2 button formula. It’s just so much fun!
Before You Start
One thing you should know about the game when you first start, is that it has many additional excellent features that will look blocked out at first – don’t be alarmed, there is nothing wrong with your game console. The first chunk of the game available is actually a tutorial consisting of 25 levels. 25, I hear you cry! But honestly, even by the end of these, the screen can get very hectic at times so you’ll be glad of the easing-in approach. This does bring us to the only criticism I have about One Finger Death Punch 2. If you step away from this game for a bit, jumping straight back into a higher level can be confusing for the first couple runs. There is a lot happening at once on screen, many different enemy types to remember and it all happens very fast. Fortunately, there is an adaptive difficulty built in, so if you’re struggling the game will auto-decrease the speed on your next attempt. Similarly, when you’re on a roll, it bumps the speed up higher and higher! This can also be set manually by the user in-between levels, so all skill levels and challenge hunters are catered for.
There are a whopping 400+ levels included! Along with multiple modes to keep things fresh and engaging. There’s endless survival, gauntlet runs and most excitingly (at least for this guy), a couch co-op mode! Another box ticked on the list of things this game just does right. For any RPG fans out there, there is even a skill tree included, with you earning points as you clear levels to make your attacks even more spectacular. Honestly, it’s been hard to not keep running back to play just one more level while writing this review.
Graphics and Soundtrack
The graphics and sound are again on the simpler side of things. The look of all the characters on screen gave me a very Newgrounds vibe (from the classic days of the 00’s internet), channelling those flash games of yesteryear. Yet done with a slick level of finish that keeps everything running smoothly while body parts go flying. The avatar is plain white, but you do have the option of adding flesh tones to the face and hands, however that’s as far as visual customization goes. 16-bit inspired scenes take over the background when certain special moves kick off however, and they are very cool. Feeding nostalgia across the decades.
The sound design is well suited to the rest of the game. Unintrusive backing music, with a small pumping beat to get you in the mood. A simple, accented voice accentuates certain things alongside satisfying crunches and smacks as you smack your foes into oblivion. It’s not something you’ll be buying on vinyl, but it does sound straight out of a classic dubbed martial arts movie – which is perfect in my book. Who doesn’t want to feel like Bruce Lee?
The whole package is simple on the surface, but with clearly a lot of thought behind it, giving it the perfect level of depth. There are nods to retro gaming from across the years and wider geek culture at large. Martial arts have always looked cool and One Finger Death Punch 2 makes you feel cool doing it all with one digit. Straight into the action.
One Finger Death Punch 2 is a perfect example of an indie game that gets all the steps right. Making the game refreshing, whilst doing all that it does offer with a high level of polish.
The gameplay is straightforward and fun. The style is on point and engaging. It just feels great and I could gush about it for days. The more I think about it, the more I just want to keep diving back in for more. And I think you’ll feel the same way too.
Final score is tough, it’s not a game that will tug at your heart strings with its story …but it is pure, unadulterated fun. So it has to be:
P.S. According to research, a thumb isn’t actually a finger. Maybe it should’ve been called One Thumb Death Punch? It could catch on.