One Finger Death Punch 2 launches in April, and the long-awaited sequel has a demo available right now.
Undoubtedly one of the (if not the, then at least my) Xbox Indie Game sweethearts, Silver Dollar’s One Finger Death Punch was a frantic game of super-speed martial combat, innumerable combos and just two buttons. When you’ve got a good thing going, though, it is hard to know how to keep the winning formula together — especially in the case of indie games. It is often discussed that indie games rarely sequelise, with various risks and concerns coming forward as the reasons the developers don’t often double-dip into their own creation. Silver Dollar have cast these concerns aside, but have also proceeded carefully: One Finger Death Punch 2 is built on the foundation of the first and doesn’t veer too far from the original’s path.
For those unfamiliar with the first, you control a stick figurine in the middle of the screen, waiting for enemies and objects to come within range of you. Depending on their side, you then press one of two buttons: these commonly indicate whether you will attack left or right. If you mistime, you falter; if not, you perform an often lethal blow on your enemy. A few more enemies are introduced: boss enemies require sequences of perfectly timed attacks; other enemies will change sides; some are more mobile.
One Finger Death Punch’s beauty is in its accessible controls — there are only ever two buttons, even when you’re rushing through a horde of sixty enemies while flailing nunchuks, or when you’re kicking the Ball of Death into droves of enemies.
One Finger Death Punch 2 doesn’t add more buttons, but it does add a few more varied passive moves. One, for instance, summons a beast that flamethrowers half of the screen to instant death. Most of the demo’s visible changes come in the form of tweaks to enemies, new weapons, new animations and new special attacks. Perhaps most notably, the way that boss fights happen appears to have changed to be more timing-based than direction-based — the bars hitting the bottom of the screen cause a more critical failure than the player hitting the wrong direction.
All coded-in, thrown and fired weapons can now be dodged as well as reflected and intercepted. This means you can be kicking the pudding out of the opposition but then have to dodge an incoming projectile, only to have it take out an enemy behind you. This can be a double-edged sword if you are gunning for perfection, however it does make for cool viewing. There have been a lot of other visual tweaks, too: some execution animations now take out a couple more enemies at the same time. There’s also an ‘auto attack’ which occasionally fires and takes care of a few seconds of enemies — a good time to catch your breath.
The demo includes a decent-length tutorial and a sampling of the overworld-based main campaign. Perhaps my favourite new feature was the hybrid of ‘rush’ modes and normal modes. In one tutorial, you shift from normal, two-button combat into a rushing surge with a sword, then return to combat before suddenly mounting a horse and setting off at a gallop. A close second favourite is the Weapon Rack ability, where a full weapon rack appears at the bottom of the screen and you can access all of the weapons mid-combat. Weapons still alter range, but otherwise simply add flare — something always welcome.
In addition to the new features shown in the demo, there’s a tonne visible in the demo reel, including a boss fight where you appear to be escaping a Cthluhu-esque creature, fighting waves of enemies and occasionally doing damage to the pursuing boss. Also, the heavily underused combat setting of ‘the top of a train’ makes an appearance.
One Finger Death Punch 2 is releasing in April for PC. You can play the demo now.