Above: The One Finger Death Punch 2 demo trailer. Also on YouTube (opens in new tab).
A game of reflexes and determining whether things are on the left or right, One Finger Death Punch (opens in new tab) is a classic in low-fidelity entertainment: the earlier, more frantic arcade counterpart to Nidhogg's methodical killing blows. Soon, One Finger Death Punch 2 (opens in new tab) will bring it all back—including the announcer's bad Pat Morita impression, unfortunately—and after playing the demo that releases next week, I'm convinced it won't disappoint friends of the original.
I won't explain every system, but the basics are this: you can't move, and instead can only attack to the left or to the right by pressing X or B on an Xbox controller, or the left and right mouse buttons. If you attack before an enemy is in range, you miss, and they get to smack you. Some enemies need to be attacked twice to be dispatched, others three times, and some dodge and move to your left or right, requiring inputs like, say, XXB or BBX to defeat. Thrown weapons can be caught and thrown back, or dodged, or deflected, or blocked. Sometimes a list of left or right inputs need to be smashed in order to toss aside one guy. Essentially, there's a chaingun on each side of the screen shooting minigames at you.
I'll just show you—here's a clip from an early tutorial level in the demo, where it's hardly begun to ramp up:
As my stick figure's gummy body flips and kicks and Matrix-dodges arrows, it's rarely animated, instead swapping between frames with my inputs. The illusion of movement holds anyway, though, and I love the instant response to my presses. Somehow, there's no disconnect between the simplicity of the inputs and what results from them—it only takes three buttons to snatch a knife out of the air, throw it at a guy behind me, and then kick another guy's head off, but it feels like I've done those things completely intentionally. In short, it's fun.
One Finger Death Punch 2 is out April 15, and the demo (opens in new tab) will be free to download this Monday, February 11. There's a new trailer, too, which you can see at the top of this article or on YouTube.