One Finger Death Punch

Every once in a while, along comes a game that takes a simple idea and explores it, tweaks it, polishes it, and pushes it to it's full potential. One Finger Death Punch is one such game.

The main premise is deceptively uncomplicated. You play as a fighter that stands in the centre of the screen. Enemies approach you from both sides, and when they come within range, you hit either the X of B button, depending on which side they are coming from, to strike them.
That's it. Two buttons and a straightforward goal: kill all enemies.

What starts off as a somewhat ordinary, yet fun enough in itself, affair, soon gets ramped up. Enemies begin to appear thick and fast, and you'll rapidly find yourself having to react quickly to stay alive.
Modifiers in the form of weapons you can wield come into play, as well as ranged ones such as throwing knives and bombs.
Suddenly mini-bosses, known as brawlers, are thrown into the mix. These tougher antagonists take a series of prompted hits to take down.
Then come the different enemy types. These colour-coded baddies will dodge some of your attacks, and you'll require specific combos to knock them out (in what is an excellent design choice, the necessary combo is always displayed above the enemy itself, though after some time you'll probably instinctively react to their colour without needing to look at the prompts).
Finally, you'll come across bosses. Super-fast fighters that require lighting reflexes and careful concentration to defeat.

The screenshots posted here really don't do the game's visuals justice. One Finger Death Punch needs to be seen in motion to be fully appreciated.
The graphics are kept relatively simple with good reason. In such a hectic, action-packed game, you need to be able to keep track of what's going on. And the unadorned characters allow for just that. That's not to say they don't look good though. They are beautifully animated, and there are signs of visual flourish all over the place. From the destructible objects, and the multitude of different attacks, to the five distinct martial arts styles on show.

The game is packed full of content. There are over 250 levels to battle your way through, with plenty of variants to contend with. Plus, there are unlockable special abilities to try out. So there's plenty of action to keep you going for a good long while.
One Finger Death Punch is a truly excellent game. The sheer amount of attention, polish, and wise design choices that have gone into it, cause it to stand out as a shining example of how to make a simple game great. It's immensely fun to play, with a "one-more-go" arcade-style addictive quality to it. I honestly believe that, had this game been released as an XBox Live Arcade title, rather than as an XBLIG, it would have been a huge phenomenon. As it stands though, it is easily one of the best games on the service, and deserves your attention. Just go and try it already!

Get One Finger Death Punch on XBox 360
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