If you read Quarter to Three, you like old horror movies and card games and the original version of Majesty. That means you are probably terrible at the action genre known as brawlers, or beat ’em ups. You may be so out of touch that you think they are called fighting games. I’m here to tell you about a brawler even you can enjoy.
After the jump, destroy hordes of faceless goons without lifting more than one finger
The game is called One Finger Death Punch. It can be played entirely with one finger. Press one button to attack to the left and one button to attack to the right. Enemies stream in from both sides. You hit them when they are in range. That’s pretty much it. You can do this.
It’s similar to a rhythm game. Remember those plastic guitars you have in your basement? It’s like that, but with more speed and freedom. There’s no steady cadence to follow. The game will react as fast as you press the buttons, as long as the enemies are in range. If you press a button too early or too late, you might get hit. The difficulty increases steadily throughout the game. Anyone can enjoy the early levels. It starts slowly and gets faster. Eventually you will encounter enemies that require a quick sequence of attacks: one button and then another. But I promise the enemies will never require more than two attacks in a row like that. Maybe.
So what’s the point? Is it one of those high-score games where the only goals are personal improvement and a feeling of accomplishment? I don’t think so. The stick figure style is an homage to violent animated movies where stick figure martial artists obliterated waves of enemies. They were popular back in the early days of the Internet when pets.com existed. Each attack has palpable crunch and impact. The pace changes perfectly into slow motion to relish the end of a brutal combo. It’s like the awesome button in Dragon Age 2. But this game has two of them.
As Quarter to Three poster Nightgaunt mentioned, One Finger Death Punch is full of surprises. You’ll fight enemies with a giant fish. You’ll impale them on a spear before zooming over to pick it back up again. And how would you like to slaughter waves of stick figures with a lightsaber? But I won’t spoil the best moment of the game. It happens on your last sliver of health. Survive that and I guarantee you will pump your fist, which you normally only clench after a bad draw in Ascension.
One Finger Death Punch started on the Xbox LIVE Indie Games “channel,” or whatever the hell they call it. You may not even know that exists. With the Xbox360 controller, you press both buttons with your thumb. When developer Silver Dollar Games ported it to PC, they knew they had to put aside childish gamepads and create a control system better suited for the simulations you enjoy on that platform. Now you press the left mouse button and the right mouse button, as God intended. Note that if you under the age of 83, you probably use a different finger to press each mouse button. Regrettably, this means PC gamers must use two fingers to play One Finger Death Punch. I left this until later so it wouldn’t scare you away.
If you’re still with me, be aware that furiously pressing mouse buttons may aggravate any repetitive stress injuries you have in your wrist from playing racquetball back in the 90s. I found it much easier to play a long session when I used my Xbox360 gamepad. Unfortunately, there is no native support for a gamepad. The game sold so poorly that Silver Dollar didn’t want to put any extra time into the port. You should blame yourself for that, but also take heart that you can use a joystick-mapping utility, such as JoyToKey, to achieve the same controls.
It’s a shame One Finger Death Punch isn’t more popular. Unlike elitist one button games that spawn entire genres, this two button game seems to have fallen beneath the radar. Silver Dollar has received negative comments that One Finger Death Punch looks too cheap, like a Flash game. The graphics were clearly cobbled together by programmers on a shoestring budget. But I think the menus and art have a B-movie, trashy charm. And the game in motion looks glorious.
You can get it for $1.99 on Desura. It’s half price until October 7th to celebrate how people are too stupid to put this game on Steam. If you or your kids have an Xbox360, you can buy it there for one dollar in Microsoft Bucks. Aren’t they getting rid of those Points soon anyway? Here’s your chance to spend them on something worthwhile. After all, that’s as much as you spend on those iOS games you like to play because you no longer have time for videogames!
Tim James has been awarded numerous siiihhhhrrvel metals in One Finger Death Punch with only the use of a thumb. His one and only serious attempt at survival mode ended at 2314 kills. His spirit lives on within every new player.