One Finger Death Punch 2 Review

Every stickman was kung fu fighting.

One Finger Death Punch 2 is a 2D kung fun game that uses only two buttons. Just two buttons are all that you’ll need to punch, deflect bullets, and shoot lasers like an amalgamation of every action hero after the loss of a loved one. If you’ve ever wanted to be a stick figure who can breakdance a group of people to death or catch bullets out of the air, then this is perhaps the only game for you.

The game begins at a surprisingly leisurely pace as it introduces you to its mechanics, which initially seem far too simple. Enemies will run towards you from the left and right sides of the screen and, once they’re within range, you press the relevant bumper and your little stick figure dude will hit them. Easy. Then the game introduces green enemies that require more than one hit to go down, then blue enemies that swap sides after each hit, enemies that throw weapons or shoot at you, which can be either blocked, dodged, caught, or deflected depending on what colour they are, and it all starts to feel a bit more complex. Then it introduces enemies that have their own little mini-games and bosses that go through random combination of three of all of these gameplay elements in a row.

It certainly looks incredibly impressive on screen, as your character jumps and kicks like it’s a fight scene from the Matrix whilst legions of stick figures fall before him. The 2D buildings in the background are destroyed as you fight only to be replaced by more ill-fated constructions, but you barely even register how badass it looks because this game is somehow so gripping that all you can see is the next enemy.

After you’re done with the tutorials, the game starts to speed up and by the end of the first map of the campaign you’ll be completing all of the above in random combinations without skipping a beat, because if you skip that beat you’ll get a face full of fists almost immediately. It really does get incredibly fast at times, but thankfully the game is pretty forgiving, allowing you ten misses and five hits before you need to restart the level. Of course, there’s a star rating of your performance that will drive you to seek perfection.

The pace is mercifully broken up a bit by a wide variety of absurd abilities that can trigger. These serve not only as a brief reprieve from the flood of enemies, but as a special attack as well. Laser eyes, for example, briefly halt the action whilst you grab an enemy and shoot lasers from your eyes through the skull of every enemy on that side of the screen. These moves are satisfying to watch and incredibly useful, so it’s a good job there’s a skill system that lets you increase how often they happen.

If you complete missions that are away from the main pathways on the map you can unlock revenge tokens and skill points. The former can be used to make a level a bit easier if you’re struggling to finish it, whilst the latter can be invested in a wide variety of skills that increase how often the abilities are triggered. If you like those laser eyes, you can invest up to three skills points to ensure it happens as often as possible, or if you’re prone to getting hit, then maybe a shield or even a medic could appear, or maybe you love guns and you want some more ammo when you happen to get one.

These all help you through the long campaign, which thankfully features a handful of different modes. There’s simple things, like multi-rounds, which – get this – are split into multiple rounds, but then there’s some stranger ones too, like the one that gives you a power sword (which is a lightsaber, if we’re being truly honest) for the whole level and a few hundred enemies to tear down, or the Horror Show mode, which only counts kills if they happen in front of the booby traps in the background. There are a tonne of levels in the campaign and, whilst it does get a little repetitive, it has that quality that demands you play one more level. Obviously you then end up playing another six.

On top the the campaign, there are also a few extra modes, including a survival mode, a local multiplayer mode for some friendly cooperative beatings, and even a mode called No Luca No where you’re playing the game as normal, but occasionally a cat blocks half the screen and you have to move it out of the way with the analog stick. These modes aren’t as varied as the main campaign but they’ll be good for showing the game to friends once they’ve played the tutorials.

I have encountered one recurring bug where suddenly I’m unable to attack left, but it seems to be fixed by simply pausing and unpausing the game.

One Finger Death Punch 2 is as fully realised as it can be. It's taken the concept of a two button action game and wrung every last drop out of the concept. What results is a game that is hilariously fun, yet heart pounding at its most intense. It's repetitive, sure, but incredibly playable and varied enough that things are just fresh enough to keep you thinking "just one more go."
  • Focuses on fun
  • Minimalist yet over-the-top madness
  • Filled with references
  • Immensely satisfying
  • Gameplay is fundamentally quite repetitive
  • One small control bug