Fly Punch Boom — I flew, I punched, I boomed

Fly Punch Boom - Two characters clashing in the air
It’s not easy being the “new guy” in the Fighting Games Community. Most of the games played are already established throughout multiple releases with fans not willing to switch to other titles. Fly Punch Boom is in a hard position, but just like FOOTSIES, it might have a place as a side dish to other games’ main course.

Lizard Sphere Y

Fly Punch Boom is a fighting game — win enough rounds by either lowering the opponent’s life to zero, or throw them out of the stage. The second one happens way more often, which from a semantical standpoint could make the game a Brawler. Whether you care about it or not, the game wears what the player needs to do on its sleeve. You fly around. You punch. Things go boom.

Fly Punch Boom - Two characters flying around in space
Space is really cluttered

It’s all obviously very inspired by anime, especially Dragon Ball.

Obviously the game was created with multiplayer in mind. There is a one versus one and a two versus two mode — with the former having an option to play against a CPU either in a single bout or a tower of opponents in an Arcade mode. But most people will want to just play with their friends. And me wanting to play with my partners is where it got tricky for me.

An explosion of colour

And the reason for that was how the game looks. Fly Punch Boom has a very specific art style — one that I did not have strong feelings about while my partners absolutely despised it for a variety of reasons. First of all, there are a lot of things going on on the screen at once. It takes a lot to focus just on your character while the camera zooms in and out and there is random stuff floating everywhere.

I genuinely had someone leave the room because they got a headache because of all of the colors and movement.

Fly Punch Boom - A character trying to save themselves from death
Too early or too late and you’re OUT!

I’m also kind of split on the characters — on one hand, the concepts are very creative and interesting, but the way they’re drawn could be considered childish and are reminiscent of the early 2010’s rage comics. It’s definitely not for everybody, but I personally don’t hate it.

What I did enjoy was the stages and backgrounds. The environments looked clean and the amount of interactable bits that could be destroyed or thrown at the enemy impressed me, even if it did add to the general clutter on the screen. What did not impress me was the UX. The health bars are not that big and not easily readable during gameplay, same with the Special bar and Teleport bar.

Rock Punch Scissors

And while visually Fly Punch Boom might be a bit of a hit or miss, mechanically I’ve been quite impressed with it. The general ideas were very simple — if you have enough speed you can ram the opponent and then mash a button to punch them a bit, and if you’re close enough you can use the same button to enter a close-up encounter.

Fly Punch Boom - A pig character landing a giant hit on a bird character
You hate to be slapped with such mass

That close-up is a simple rock-paper-scissors game with added timing challenge. The hit counters the throw, the throw counters the counter, and the counter counters the hit. But if both players choose the same, the one that timed it better usually wins, or there is a chance to button mash to see who comes out on top. It’s a very satisfying mechanic.

In addition to that, you can destroy the environment to throw it at the opponent. There are also pick-ups that grant you half of your special meter, and once it’s full you can unleash your full power on the opponent and send them flying.

If they hit the border of the map (which is normally springy, meaning you can slingshot yourself to achieve greater speeds) they have to successfully time a Quick Time Event, otherwise, they are out and lose the round. Similarly to the Smash Bros. series, the more damaged your character is, the harder it is to nail those events.

Each character also has a special ability that turns on once in a while in an anime-style fashion (with giant letters and Japanese symbols on the screen) and can help turn the tide of battle. Those include increased speed, faster teleports or giant boosts, and while helpful, again they add to the general clutter.

Victory screen after finishing Arcade mode
Not much fanfares, but hey, I did it!

Fly Punch Boom is a bit of a mess, but it’s a lovable mess and one that can be fixed with some extra love and attention. I will be trying my best to get some other friends into it since I know there is fun and enjoyment to be had behind the very polarizing art style.

Fly Punch Boom is available on Steam and Nintendo Switch.

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