Review: One Finger Death Punch

At a Glance

ESRB Rating: NR - Not Rated
My Rating: Ages 13 and up
Genre: Twitch game
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2014
Review Published On: August 27th, 2016
Played on: Martha

Available from:

Steam

Save System:

If you need to pause the game (not recommended), you can do so by pressing ESC.

Your progress is automatically saved whenever you change skills or return to the overworld map.

Summary of
Major Issues:

Considering that this game is about kung fu fighting stickmen, this game can get surprisingly bloody and graphic.

Screenshots

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Light swords don't cut as cleanly as you'd expect

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It's all fun and games until someone...

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Fatality!



General Notes

It wasn't that long ago that martial arts movies were all the rage. You'd see ninjas doing impossibly quick punches and kicks, taking out hordes of enemy grunts before finally taking on the mastermind in a one-on-one blur of rival techniques. Online, this trend continued with what are sometimes known as "stick fighters"; short animated videos of stick figures fighting each other in elaborate and complex battles. While these are frequently made by beginning animators and exist solely for the spectacle, they are still fun to watch.

This is where One Finger Death Punch comes in. It's essentially an interactive version of those old internet classics. While you control the central character, large numbers of enemy mooks approach from either side of the screen. You don't need to be worried about the exact details here; your stickman character will perform his attacks as needed, you just tell him which side to attack and when using the mouse buttons.

Most enemies are defeated with a single attack, but colored enemies and bosses require specific combinations to take down. Obviously, boss battles are very elaborate compared to the average opponent, but that's just part of the fun.

On the other hand, if you make a mistake by pressing the wrong button or moving too early, then your character will be left vulnerable to an enemy attack. There is a limit to how much damage he can absorb, so try to keep up or risk losing the round.

Speaking of rounds, there's a variety of different ways you'll be fighting. These can include dagger rounds, light sword round, and one-on-one boss battles. Additionally, there are alternate game modes, such as a survival mode and a challenging (and somewhat silly) mode where the developer's cat "helps" you fight.

This turned out to be a pretty fun and simple game; if you think you're up to the challenge, consider trying it out.

Points of Interest

Extremely polished
Everything on screen has a direct and obvious use, and there's even some tutorial-like guidance in the first few levels so you can learn the rules while you play. During the game, the player's character and the enemies will sometimes perform a special move, but no matter how anybody moves, everything flows perfectly.
Difficulty adjusts to fit your ability
Although the levels are divided into three difficulty modes, the game adjusts its speed depending on how well you play. If you're having trouble, things slow down. Otherwise, things speed up. After all, it's more fun when it's just a blur!
Epic battles
Fights can have over 200 enemies coming at you -- and that's not counting survival mode, where there is no end to the stream of enemies. There are also several different types of enemies, each of which features a unique attack pattern. Surviving the later levels means being able to adapt to new patterns in addition to the higher speed and larger crowds.
Various styles
Each round your character uses a specific fighting style picked from a roster of popular kung fu styles. These include Praying Mantis, Flying Crane, Eagle Claw, and the popular Drunken Fist.
Many Steam achievements
There are a lot of achievements to earn in this game. They include everything from the number of kills you managed to make in a single survival mode game to how many medals you've earned and what skills you've unlocked in the regular game.
There is no way to scale the difficulty manually
As you play, the game adjusts the difficulty automatically. This keeps skilled players challenged while giving the novices room to breathe. However, there's no way to tweak the difficulty other than winning or losing matches. If it's been a while since your last game, expect to lose a lot.
You can't choose what style to fight with
Many players prefer a specific fighting style. Unfortunately, there's no way to make this choice yourself. The style you'll use is either determined by the level or through a roulette.

Concerns and Issues

Lots of stickmen behaving violently
Put simply, this game is almost entirely about stickmen beating each other up in various ways. Sometimes with weapons like clubs or swords, but usually just with their fists and feet. Many of the special attacks are more violent, with bones breaking or body parts being severed.

This escalates further when the player is wielding a weapon. Several weapons (such as the light sword and nunchaku) will dismember the target, while other weapons might be used to impale a victim.
Blood everywhere
Stickmen are pretty thin, but these guys have a lot of blood in them. Nearly every blow sends some squirting out -- even if the blow wasn't fatal.
Mild racism
Like many martial arts movies, this game depicts its cast with some very stereotyped mannerisms. These aren't inherently offensive, but they are a little politically incorrect. For example, the announcer uses a very stereotyped manner of speaking, and many of the enemies wear conical hats (also known as paddy hats or rice hats).