One Finger Death Punch is an independently developed game, available on Xbox Live Arcade, which uses only two buttons to create a remarkably exhilarating and difficult kung-fu experience. The basic premise is that your character, who (along with everybody else in the game) is in stick-man form, remains in the same spot on the screen whilst enemies come from either side who must be repelled using X or B. And it’s this extremely minimalist starting point from which things get harder, faster and incredibly fun.
Firstly, the golden rule of the game is that it’s not a button masher. This should become clear in the first few rounds where I guarantee you will die if X and B are simply hit rapidly. The key is to hit either button as enemies get into a specific zone either side of the character, thereby creating a rhythm of hits which becomes immensely satisfying when mastered. The steady beat of punches, kicks and head-butts makes one think of Asian cinema and all the great martial artists from the Far East.
The key is to hit either button as enemies get into a specific zone either side of the character, thereby creating a rhythm of hits which becomes immensely satisfying when mastered.
There are three different difficulties and a ridiculous number of levels for each one, I think ‘more bang for your buck’ is actually an understatement in this case. Each level requires either a certain number of enemies to be killed, or objects to be smashed, or must be done within a time limit. The game builds and builds, adding levels set at night (where there are only shadows) and nun chuck-only ones, as well as adding in tougher enemies which require increasingly complex button combinations to be defeated.
It lends a certain authenticity which juxtaposes the simplistic, cartoonish art style.
One of my favourite features is that all the moves are based on specific kung-fu fighting styles; crane, snake, leopard etc. It lends a certain authenticity which juxtaposes the simplistic, cartoonish art style. The music also deserves a mention, interestingly mixing techno with choral with strings to give a certain mood to every level. Certainly, the time limit levels are made even more intense by fast paced electronica whilst those on mountain peaks are all the more grand because of a choir’s bellowing.
One Finger Death Punch is utterly engrossing and fantastic fun, potentially providing the most fun possible with 80 pence. Just don’t get too addicted!