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Fist Puncher: Review

Fist puncher is a side-scrolling beat-em-up game developed by Team2bit and published by Adult Swim.   It features shooting, lifting, throwing, using magic powers, punching, and fisting.  And that weak joke is just one of the many jokes that aren’t actually in the game.fist-puncher

Okay, I’m going to start by being fair.  As a retro fighting game, it’s pretty fun.  You start off with a choice of four wild and zany people with wild and zany fighting styles.  The variety provides some fun play styles; you can throw bees at people, shoot fireballs at people, wrestle-slam people, or even, y’know, punch people.

The fighting works reasonably well, but the rpg elements seems to favor the special abilities over punching.  You can put up to twenty points into strength, defense, speed, special, and whatever unique ability the character might have.  But those twenty points in strength make all the difference between doing three damage with a punch and six damage with a punch.  Every few levels, you can also purchase a perk, which might give you new abilities or increase your survivability.

However, can a game claim existence just on passable game mechanics?  Well, maybe if this were the early 90s, which is why this game feels so much like an early 90s game.  There actually is a story, but it’s a backwards and unfunny amalgamation of “rescue the hot girls from ugly guys” and “save the city from some weirdoes”.  It seriously doesn’t get any deeper than that, just keep punching people until you rescue another hot girl.fist_puncher_13717625445849

A lot of the problem is that there are a bunch of passively offensive things in this game.  The female enemies all have the same ballerina moves and take less damage than the males.  The only black protagonist is a body builder named “Steroid (blackguyname)”.  And none of it is used in any meaningful way, or even for a joke.  You’re just supposed to laugh because it’s weird.

This game has no humor, which is too bad because the whole project seems like it’s supposed to be a funny game.  They ironically call it “Fist Puncher” and throw you onto a nude beach to punch naked people.  But there isn’t any self-aware joking around beyond its own existence.  Everything in the game is played straight, not even any awkward pauses where everyone realizes just how silly things have gotten.

Finally, I want to talk about the ending.  I rarely do this, but the ending pissed me off for the very specific reason of “it was a terrible ending”.  I don’t wish to spoil anything, but they present the twist as the very final thing and then label you as an idiot for following the progression of the game.   Any of the enemies, at any time, could’ve just explained things but even if they did, there was no option to do anything else.fist_puncher-20130403-1700378

I find it hard to recommend this game, it certainly works as a game, but everything else has been left behind.

Final Score: 5/10

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