A free One Finger Death Punch 2 demo releases Monday, and it's a blast

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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.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.