The original One Finger Death Punch introduced what is perhaps the simplest, purest fighting experience seen in any game to date. Taking on the role of a kung fu fighting stick-man, players were tasked with surviving waves of foes using only the left and right mouse buttons.
Like any brilliant idea, at its heart is simplicity. On either side of the player’s character is an ‘attack zone’. Once an enemy enters it, they can be hit by pressing the correct button. Pressing the wrong button, or the right button at the wrong time, or letting any enemy get too close, will result in your stick-man getting hit. This simple idea quickly becomes more complex thanks to foes that take multiple button presses or even combos to defeat, a raft of weapons to play with, and ever increasing game speed: the better you play, the faster it gets.
As foes come at you simultaneously from both sides of the screen, this all adds up to a significant coordination challenge, where split-second tactical decisions are called for, and any mistake is punished. Add to this B-grade kung fu movie sound effects, and snappy animations, and you have an incredibly visceral experience.
One Finger Death Punch 2 takes everything that the first game did so well, and improves upon it in nearly every possible way. There are more enemy types, more weapons, and weapons now have different effects. For example, while you could simply block enemy projectiles in the first game, now, depending upon their colour, they can be blocked, deflected back towards an enemy, or dodged – with each option changing what your next move will be. Animations are far more varied, smoother, and even more cringe-worthy – though for the squeamish these can be toned down in the settings menu. There are more challenges, far more levels, and everything is faster. (Check out the video on the STEAM page, and, yes, it is possible to go that fast.)
Ideal for short bursts – with anything else liable to induce cramps – One Finger Death Punch 2 hits that ideal spot of simplicity and challenge. A masterclass in what makes a compelling fighting experience for PC, One Finger Death Punch 2 is easy to play, hard to master and very easy to recommend. ■