Have You Played… One Finger Death Punch?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

It’s ludicrous to me how good One Finger Death Punch [Steam page] is. It’s a stick-man fighting game that harkens back to my wasted youth spent on tasteless websites like stickdeath.com, but it’s also one of the sleekest rhythm games I’ve ever played. Now, when I say rhythm game I’m not talking about punching to the beat, but the rhythm of combat that becomes so frantic it’s practically musical as stick-y parts fly across the screen.

Part of what makes One Finger Death Punch so good is its simplicity. Enemies approach from either your left or your right, and you use corresponding button presses to deliver and killing blow when they get close enough — but not too close to hit you. From there, things start getting wildly complicated as some enemies require specific combos of left and right attacks to take down, often swapping which side of you they’re on, and others begin hurling all manner of weapons at you.

Now, this seems like something that would be fun for all of five or ten minutes, but One Finger Death Punch manages to draw it out over multiple campaigns that sucked up dozens of hours of my time. It has one of the most satisfyingly smooth difficulty curves I’ve ever seen, but also feels virtually endless. Just when I think I’ve mastered it, another stage kicks my ass. At a point, things get so frantic it’s like watching a pro tackle a barrage of arrows in DDR except instead of delicious beats it’s flying stick-corpses. Finally, The Matrix has the fighting game it always deserved.

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  1. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    Yes, and it’s legitimately one of my favorites. This game will make you feel like the biggest badass in the world, even if you’re not drawn to the art style, even if you don’t usually like rhythm games. I’d recommend it to anyone.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Art styles, more like. That thing was all over the place.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        Yeah I think I’m ok with just about any art style as long as it’s consistent. When you start blending two or more completely different things, that’s when it hurts my eyes.

        This would probably look better with no background and a minimalized UI. Let the pretty hit effects and animations really stand out.

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          HothMonster says:

          Yeah the levels with the least shit in them always look the best. Like the lightsaber fights with the pure black background.

  2. Kefren says:

    I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. In fact it is great two player, taking it in turns to do the stages. My nephew kept asking for this game when we had a bit of time for the PC; probably because we laugh so much while playing. Leads to sweaty gamepads though.

  3. BluePencil says:

    I don’t play many action games, I’m more into turn-based stuff. But I bought this since it was so cheap and I was delighted with it. It’s a great deal of fun and you do feel very powerful when you burn through a tricky level. The sounds and graphics make your little key presses feel extremely kinetic.

  4. Blowfeld81 says:

    This is my go- to game when I need some silly kung fu action and want to feel like a shaolin master when all i do is pressing 2 buttons…

  5. Chairman_Meow says:

    Great, great game. I’m a fan of simple design in Video Games and this game nails the “Kung Fu movie fight against a horde of bad guys” thing so well, and the amazing thing is the control scheme is just 2 buttons. Brilliant!

  6. Demios says:

    I bought it on sale last year to round up my summer sale purchases to an even number. I was ridiculously surprised at how much fun I had (still have) with it.

  7. geldonyetich says:

    It’s a stick-man fighting game that harukens back to my wasted youth

    Seems you’re not the only one whose youth makes an unexpected return when kung fu is on the table.

  8. vahnn says:

    This is legitimately one of my favorite games. Is so simple to pick up, but manages to provide enough variety and challenge to keep it interesting the whole time.

    Plus my 3 year old niece LOVES watching me play it. She sits there laughing her ass off like I’ve never seen before.

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