One Finger Death Punch

I’ve talked about bundles before. And as dangerous as bundles can be, they can also be pretty great. Especially when they let you try games that you wouldn’t normally pick up on their own. Case in point: One Finger Death Punch.

What is One Finger Death Punch? Well, it’s kind of a fighting game. And it’s kind of a rhythm game. Basically, it’s a two-button stick figure homage to old kung fu movies. How’s that for a synopsis? I picked it up via a Humble Bundle sponsored by Extra Credits as a “game you might not have tried:” under-the-radar titles that, while not always good, are at least interesting for one reason or another. So I decided to try it out.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much done Tuesday night.

The game is deceptively simple: using your left and right mouse buttons, fight off wave after wave of colored stick figure foes. Each button corresponds to a direction, and enemies come in from the left and right sides of the screen. Of course, the devil is in the details: most foes take one hit, but some take multiples. Some opponents even switch sides mid-engagement. You can pick up weapons that increase your range, and every once in a while you’ll perform a special attack. It’s a fast-paced, reflex-honing experience that actually punishes you for button-mashing.

I’ve found it really fun so far. There’s something visceral about combo counters ticking over as stick figures fly around the screen in various stages of disrepair, sometimes even breaking background objects on their way to oblivion. It’s a simple game, but difficulty ramps up quite nicely; the better you do, the faster enemies rush you from all sides. Timing is of course key: miss a shot and you’ll open yourself up for pain.

It scratches some itch of mine, the same one that as a kid enjoyed the precision platforming of Mario or other games. It demands perfection, but in a safe environment where you actually can achieve it (unlike real life). And while I’m not sure it will hold my interest for too long (it’s mechanically pretty simple, after all), it’s doing a good job of sucking up my free time in a fun and entertaining way.

Now if only it wasn’t doing so when I still had stuff to do…