Ironically enough, I happened upon a little gem that seems to bear a striking resemblance to something the Prof and Brian reviewed a few days past; being that it’s been out for a while it might be questionable to review it, but I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway.
Developed by Silver Dollar Games, One Finger Death Punch (available on the Xbox Live Arcade and Steam) is an extremely simple yet deceptively complex little indie title from the guys that brought you… well… a lot of rubbish to be fair. A real mass of XBGS shovelware. At the very tip of One Finger Death Punch, however, is evidence of this particular title being a labour of love. God’s honest truth, there really isn’t a great deal you can say about it from the outside looking in but “You have to give it a try.”
The premise is simple, there is no story beyond aome fleeting sensation of revenge, for what I’ve no idea, but that’s semantics. You play as mens bathroom sign guy, master of multiple forms of kung fu from Drunken Fist to Crane stance and you have a multitude of… other mens bathroom sign guys, gunning to be the one to take you down.
This is a game purely focused on gameplay. As a result it is easy to disregard it, as it looks several stages beyond visually simplistic. There is no defending how the game looks, but given that I’ve found myself growing only more addicted to it over time, there is plenty of excusing it.
The objective is, much like the premise, simple. You only control your stick man so far as to which direction he will attack. Click the left mouse button to attack left and the right mouse button to attack right. Rocket science. Had someone explained this painfully drab sounding gameplay to me without providing further context, I’d have been pretty quick to rule it out myself. However… the game truly throws in an insane amount of variety and complexity.
For starters, not every enemy is a simple click away from death, as you progress through the campaign and show your reactionary chops, new enemies are brought into the fold throwing varied combinations at you beginning with double clicks and double alternating clicks before introducing triple clicks… and then quadruple clicks. You also have brawlers, marked by a crown floating above their heads, who, when entering combat will show a track of what buttons to press as you engage in a duel-like brawl with them. Still doesn’t sound amazingly complex when explained, however, consider three enemies approaching at once, each with a four click combo of left, left, right, left at a rate almost imperceptible to the human eye. Take a look at your mouse, consider clicking a combination of both mouse buttons twelve times in… let’s say… three seconds. On top of the fact that that’s simply a fraction of the given objective. As well as this the game will speed up according to your rate of success (Inversely slowing down as you begin to struggle) and has, believe it or not, a great deal of variety per stage.
You have mob rounds, the objective of which is to simply defeat a preset number of foes with a preset number of hit points. Dagger and Bomb rounds, where you’re to defeat waves of enemies with projectile weapons, only being able to throw one at a time, reset being when something dies; it’s here that you have to remain ever aware of who is closer, which is easier said than done. Retro Film and Thunderstorm Rounds where you’re unable to see what colour approaching enemies are (Each combo enemy has a predefined colour) thus you’re to look at the dictated combination beneath their feet. Nunchaku and Light Sword round, complete with epic music and explosions in the background as you cleave your way through swathes of ever hastening bad guys and more.
Most every round comes with variable situations, such as destructive backgrounds and enemies carrying bows, daggers and bombs, capable of taking down any enemy regardless of class in one hit and weapons such as swords, staves and clubs, which extend your reach for a finite amount of time. Dotted around the large map of stages can be found various passive skills unlocked upon completion of the given stage, which can be put in place for added bonuses. For instance three bombs when you would typically have only one, extended range on your unarmed attacks upon defeating a set number of opponents or even healing or destroying every challenger onscreen.
Outside of this, there really isn’t much to say about the game. It’s simple, there’s no denying that. It’s not the best looking game ever made, but it’s price is reflective of that. I picked it up on steam (While not on sale) for a simple four pounds at the same time I picked up Dynasty Warriors 8 Extreme Legends Edition for fourty and… let’s just say Lubu hasn’t received much attention because of it.
Confirming that it’s a steal at that price and the extremely low graphical fidelity of the game mean that a computer or laptop need not be much more than a toaster to run it. The last thing to point out about this little title is… it’s SO. MUCH. FUN!
Honestly, it’s intense. It’s funny. It’s crazy hard and uber-adddictive in that “I can do better” kind of way. It’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds and, perhaps this is my fondness for twitchy split second decision type games, but it’s right in my ballpark. The difficulty curve is that of a game that just doesn’t seem to end, the better you get, the harder it gets. Mastered the fastest it can be? Fine, try it with just the colours and your memory of what combo that colour represents! Mastered that? Try it with a cat leaping onscreen that you have to nudge out of the way while playing… hell, master that and you could get your own cat to pester you while the ingame cat does the same!
I genuinely love this game, not in spite of it’s simplicity but because of it. It’s reasoning being, as one of the two brothers responsible for it’s development says, they’re not artists but want to make a game anyway. Because they wanted to focus on gameplay over aesthetic… and they did . Because they wanted to see if they could make a game that, at it’s core, required two buttons… and they REALLY did it (Take that Steel Battalion). It’s utter madness and it’s worth every penny of it’s modest pricing.
If I could point out only one flaw, it would be that this game really needs to be an app, or even on a handheld device such as the PSVita. It has the characteristics of a game that can be played for hours, or played for five minutes, and it’s missing out on that possibility by not being available for those on the move. That being said, do not let yourself miss out on this one.
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