Developer: Silver Dollar Games
Release Date: June 24th, 2013 (360), March 3rd, 2014 (PC)
Available on: PC, Xbox 360
Reviewer’s note: I played this game on the PC. There may be differences between versions.
I want you guys to just take a moment to look at the developer of this game. Silver Dollar Games is known on the Xbox Indie Arcade, but not for any good reason. No, they’re known for putting out complete shovelware crap like No Luca No, Try Not to Fart, and Why Did I Buy This?, a question that can be asked about any of their previous games. In fact, if you have 10 minutes to kill, Poison Mushroom has a very good video about their games and it’ll help familiarize yourself with the crap they put out. Did you watch it? Okay, good. Now here’s the kicker.
One Finger Death Punch may just be a contender for one of the most fun games I’ve played this year.
I know that’s not much yet, it’s only March after all, but One Finger Death Punch is a great example on perfecting gameplay so simple anyone can get into it, but having it complex enough that it takes time to master it. Simply put: you are a stick figure in the middle of the screen and all you have to do is press the left mouse button to attack enemies on the left side, and right to attack the right side. Simple, right? It is, but there’s a ton of hidden depth to the game. Some enemies will dodge hits, requiring you to change your attacks. Others can take multiple hits, or start long melee battles that need precision attacks from you. There’s weapons to pick up that can increase your range or be thrown for different instant kill attacks depending on their style. Sometimes the ball of death will enter play and can be bounced around to instantly kill enemies. Despite the low amount of buttons used, if you were watching someone play the game you may never know. Each attack is accompanied by stylish animations that make the stick figure fights look like complex martial arts routines.
The majority of the game is made up of mob rounds, which just has you killing a large amount of enemies. There are some modes that change this up though. Smash mode changes the objective to smashing enemies into objects to break them, while defender rounds just has you blocking enemies throwing knives at you. Some rounds force you to use throwing knives or bombs to eliminate enemies, while others take place during thunderstorms or with a retro-film look to make it tougher to see items and tell enemies apart. The basic gameplay is always the same though, you just need to adjust for the little situations around it. You can equip up to three skills to change up a few things. Some give you extra ranged attacks, while others may freeze entire groups of enemies. My personal favorites let me throw weapons that I picked up and wiped the stage clean of enemies when I hit enough kills.
That said, the game does have some problems, but most of the ones I had with aren’t with the actual gameplay. I’ll be honest, this is one of those games I wish were on a mobile platform, like iPods or the Playstation Vita. There’s about 250 levels, each of which are about 1 – 3 minutes long. Because the game is broken into bite sized chunks it’d almost be perfect for on the go gameplay. I also can’t help but be a little disappointed at the lack of story of any kind. It almost feels like a B-movie martial arts plot could fit perfectly in here. I also have to bring up the game’s awful ending. After you beat the last stage you’re treated to an awkward and almost cringe worthy three minute video of one of the developers telling you how great Indie gaming is and how awful AAA games are. It’s unnecessary and considering the developer’s past history of “games” it makes it tough to agree with them in any way.
That said, the game does so many things right that it’s easy to ignore these few missteps. After you beat the game you unlock a survival mode which changes the rules up a little. While it’s still the same basic gameplay you can fill up a bar with every kill. Fill it all the way and you’ll enter a special laser sword or “nunchaku” round where all the enemies become one hit kills and you have a chance to restore lost health. Do well enough and you can unlock a few survival variants. Blind survival takes away the hit counter on enemies and your attack range, forcing you to memorize those things and pay careful attention to enemy actions. There’s also the No Luca No mode, which is a funny call back to one of Silver Dollar Game’s more infamously terrible titles.
One Finger Death Punch features some of the most clean and fun gameplay to be found. Once you get into it you get into an almost zen-like state as you proceed to destroy your enemies simply using two buttons. It’s a glorious moment.