One Finger Death Punch 2 is more One Finger Death Punch, and that’s absolutely fine by me.
If you aren’t familiar with Silver Dollar‘s One Finger Death Punch, it’s a reaction based, fighting game of sorts, requiring two buttons. Using the art style of the popular stick-figure flash animations and games of the early 2000s, you’ll be assailed from the left and right of the screen by absolute hordes of enemies moving at lightning speed! The only way to fend them off is to press the left or right mouse button corresponding to the side they’re attacking from, when they are close enough. Attack too early or too late and you’ll take damage. It sounds simple — and it is! That is until you factor in enemies that change sides as you attack them, being attacked from range, and the ludicrous speed at which your foes approach you. It’s simplistic, yet utterly exhilarating!
The sequel, cunningly named One Finger Death Punch 2, provides more of the same really — only with the insanity turned up even higher. On an average stage you’ll take on over a hundred enemies at once. Most will fall with a single hit (complete with detailed animations of their often brutal deaths), but many will require two or more strikes. Then you will face ranged enemies whose projectiles you can block, deflect, evade, or catch and use to your own ends. There are also brawlers, who have their own fast-paced mini-game to complete, and bosses who require a combination of normal attacks and a brawler mini-game. A hell of a lot is going on at once, but the simple control scheme means that regardless of the volume, variety, and speed of enemies, you’ll always be able to handle them if you react quickly enough.
The bulk of the game takes place in ‘Levels’ mode in which your move around a multi-route map, taking on different challenges at different nodes. There isn’t a story here, just a whole lot of fighting to be done. Most stages offer a swarm of enemies to take down, but some give other permutations to keep things interesting. Sometimes you’ll have a weapon that can kill an enemy in one hit for the duration of the stage, whilst other times you’ll only get credit for kills if you defeat specific enemies using ranged weapons. You might end up deflecting projectiles or taking on small groups of opponents in increasingly fast-paced rounds, if you survive long enough. There’s plenty of variety in the stages, and a ton of stages to play through, so you’re unlikely to get bored.
If this sounds similar to the original game — not that that’s a bad thing in my mind — then fear not! One Finger Death Punch 2 throws a few curve balls into the mix to justify this as a new game. First off is the skill system. Previously, you could acquire and equip three skills to help you out in battle by offering you more health, slower enemy speeds and so forth. Now, you need to acquire skill points by completing stages off the main game’s path. These can be spent on a large number of skills that are permanently active. The more points you put into each skill (with a maximum of three), the more frequently they occur. A personal favourite of mine is having a beam sword be brought onto the stage for you to take from a fallen enemy and go on a rampage for a few moments, but there are plenty of other ones to check out. Extra health, more weapons, screen clearing attacks, and even a rideable horse are all options — each are great fun to use and can make or break a difficult stage for you.
Another new feature comes in the form of Revenge Tokens that can be found on the main map. These allow you to replay a level after death, but with the benefit of regenerating health as well as a slower speed for your opponents. These are a limited resource, so using them up isn’t always a good idea unless you’re really stuck. If you continually fail at a stage, the speed is decreased for your next attempt anyway, so there isn’t really a huge need for the Revenge Tokens, however they’re nice to have if you don’t want to keep plugging away at a tricky level.
The visuals have received a lot of love too with the backgrounds being a lot more detailed than in the previous game. Things seem more vibrant and the random appearance of giant characters in the background as you smash your way through enemies look very impressive. I have no idea why they exist, but it looks quite spectacular when they turn up during a brutal slow-motion kill. It’s a good thing you get these occasional slow motion moments too, as it’s quite rare for you to have even a split second to watch what’s going on. You’re constantly bouncing back and forth between enemies — it’s nice to get the chance to look at what’s going on in a little more detail, even if only for a moment.
What hasn’t changed in the presentation side of things, thankfully, is the music being utterly fantastic. The new tracks are spectacular and really fit the thrilling pace of the game. Whilst there aren’t a huge number of different pieces to listen to, I never found myself getting bored of the sound from stage to stage. I don’t often buy game soundtracks, but this is absolutely one I would pick up.
I genuinely do love playing One Finger Death Punch 2, but there are a couple of missteps that I feel I should point out. Due to the simple nature of the game (and that there isn’t a huge amount that’s different from the original), I don’t understand why the tutorial has so many individual stages. It takes about twenty minutes to get through them all without an option to skip, as far as I saw. As someone who played the previous game to death, I would have appreciated a ‘New features’ tutorial, or the option to skip it altogether. There’s also the main game’s map that can’t be panned to look around. Sometimes I wanted to know what stages were on the path I was going to pick, but was unable to look ahead. It’s not a huge problem, as going back to previous stages doesn’t take much, but it would be a nice quality of life addition. Achievements. So many achievements. If you’re someone who’s into hunting these things then this might be heaven for you, but I’m not all that fussed, and seeing countless tiles pop up in the bottom right hand corner was a little annoying.
These are minor gripes. One Finger Death Punch 2 is simple in nature and does everything it sets out to do nearly flawlessly. It’s something that can be played in a matter of minutes, although you should be aware that you could end up losing several hours due to how addictive it is — one more level…one more level… There are also a bunch of play options — Levels, Survival, Gauntlet, No Luca No (like Survival but with a cat wandering across the screen from time to time), as well as the local co-op mode. With so much content here that plays so well, I really can’t do anything but recommend this to anyone who has a computer made some time in the last decade. If you didn’t enjoy the original, this won’t sway you, but to anyone else that exists, this is a hell of a lot of fun and you should absolutely check it out. Better warm up those punching fingers!
One Finger Death Punch 2 is available on Windows PCs from the 15th of April.