One Finger Death Punch 2

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Developer: Silver Dollar Games
Release Date: Feb. 26, 2020


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Switch Review - 'One Finger Death Punch 2'

by Cody Medellin on May 15, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

One Finger Death Punch 2 is a fast-paced brawler making its triumphant return with its bone-crunching two-button gameplay.

When the original One Finger Death Punch released in 2013 on the Xbox 360, it became a hidden gem in the Xbox Live Indie Games section. The presentation and concept were simple to understand, a hallmark of Silver Dollar Games at the time, but the game was undeniably fun and addictive. The word of mouth only grew as the game made it to Steam a year later and eventually to mobile platforms. There was considerable excitement when the sequel One Finger Death Punch 2 was announced, and with the game in the hands of Nintendo Switch owners, it is safe to say that the lofty expectations were met.

If you're unfamiliar with the first game, you're a nameless fighter, and a host of enemies are out to get you. Fortunately, you're strong enough to kill enemies with just one hit, whether it's a kick or a punch. That's how it goes as you go through the game, level by level, beating up hordes of nameless foes with one hit each. Surprisingly, the game doesn't bother with a story or a flimsy narrative, making it as close to a classic arcade game as possible.

There are several gimmicks at play to make the experience distinct. For starters, you can't move. The game may be presented from a side-scrolling view, and you may have ample room around you, but you can't manually move left or right, and ducking or jumping isn't in your control, either. The game only uses two action buttons: a left attack button and a right attack button. While the simplified controls make it tempting to button-mash your way through each level, OFDP2 actively discourages that by leaving you wide open for attacks and decreasing your star ranking for every missed hit. Instead, you're encouraged to hit either the left or right attack buttons only when the enemy is within range, as indicated by a meter in the middle of the screen. No matter the distance, as long as the meter lights up to indicate that the enemy is in range, hitting the correct button results in you delivering the appropriate attack to kill your foe.

With the main mechanics essentially making the title akin to a more violent rhythm game (minus the beat matching), the developers have thrown in a number of things to add some variety to each combat scenario. In addition to the standard goons, you can fight foes that take multiple hits to down or those who switch sides for each hit they take. Some enemies also take you to a minigame where you'll need to hit the correct attack buttons within the allotted time to kill that enemy. Several enemies sport guns and throwables, and by using the same two attack buttons, you can dodge incoming fire or throw the projectile back at them. You can pick up weapons to increase your attack range for a limited time and participate in some rampages, like riding horseback with a sword or running around with a chainsaw. Finally, you can access abilities that automatically activate during combat, such as the ability to shake the ground to clear out both sides or rain down fire on one side to clear the masses.

All of these additions make the experience deeper than expected, but even if you took away all of those things, OFDP2 remains fun due to its combat. Being powerful against enemies is always a thrill, but it helps that the controls are crisp and responsive. There's never a moment when a mistake feels like it wasn't your fault. The system makes moves easy to read, and the sheer variety of attacks at your disposal makes it exciting to watch the fights. If you sit down with the game for long sessions, this might start to become a bore since the combat loop doesn't change much. The developers recognized this and warned you about it, so they realize that this is more of a complementary title rather than a primary one for any gaming session.

OFDP2 consists of three major modes. Although there is no story, the game does feature a campaign. Clocking in at over 400 levels, there's a ton of stuff to go through here, with some variations like sped-up levels or invisible enemies, but the short nature of the stages makes them easy to digest for short gaming bursts. Without a definitive end goal, the five-star rating system is based on how many misses you make, and that's enough incentive for players to try for perfection. This is also how players get the necessary points to boost their passive abilities. Meanwhile, Survival mode is self-explanatory and offers multiple difficulties to cater to all types of players. Online leaderboards are further incentive to keep coming back for more.

Extras mode is where OFDP2 starts to get inventive and off the wall. Gauntlet mode is much like survival, where you see how far you can make it with just one life. The twist is that waves are split into levels, and via something that resembles a board game, you get to choose which level you go to and hope for the best. Co-op mode is essentially survival mode with two players swapping out at will. Each player can only take up to three hits before they're eliminated, but a player swap quickly regenerates all of that lost health; offline duos with good communication skills can make it very far in just one run. Then there's No Luca No, a standard survival mode where at least half of your screen is blocked by a giant cat. The breadth of the game almost ensures that there are more modes hidden away, but as a small sampling of what the team can do, there's no doubt that this simple idea can be stretched out very far.

While the presentation in the first game was very simple, the second title has improved in a way that doesn't betray the simplicity of the original. Graphically, the backgrounds remain detailed, a stark contrast to your simple stick-figure character and your equally simple stick-figure opponents, who spew excessive amounts of blood and sport fast animations. The other special effects, like the flames from your special abilities or some of the special kills, aren't spectacular on their own but look nice when compared to the game's simple aesthetic. As for the audio, the only voice you'll hear is that of an old martial arts master who skirts the line of sounding stereotypical. Most of the attention will be paid to the soundtrack, which does a great job of getting you in an action movie mood, despite featuring a number of different genres.

One Finger Death Punch 2 is the kind of game that fits the Switch so well. The game is easy to pick up for brief bouts of guaranteed fun due to the simple controls and pitch-perfect action. The amount of modes and levels gives a player a ton to work with, even before taking online leaderboards into account. There's little to complain about here, so the title should be in your collection unless you're averse to fast action titles.

Score: 9.0/10

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