A long time ago in a gaming world that’s now a mere shadow of a memory there was a service called Xbox Live Indie Games. It was a marketplace where anything might appear, and while much of it could charitably be described as shovelware there were also shiny gems of pure excellence waiting to be discovered. Long before the service’s debut, though, there was the flash animation series Xiao Xiao, which popularized stick figure martial arts fighting. The stick-figure fighter was years past its prime and XBLIG on the way out when One Finger Death Punch brought its two-button martial arts chaos to the platform, but despite the obscurity of both its theme and marketplace it was good enough to get attention, earning a PC release a year later. It’s been almost six years since the hyper-violent stick figure carnage was unleashed, which means it’s finally time for a sequel. While that’s still about two months away today saw the release of a fairly large demo to remind players of just how brutally awesome a two-button game can be.
One Finger Death Punch 2, in the developer’s own words, is designed to “make(s) OFDP1 obsolete in every possible way.” You play as a stick figure in the middle of the screen with enemies streaming in from the left and right, and hitting the button on the correct side of the controller when the enemy is in striking range takes them out. Usually this is in a single hit but certain colored enemies take more than this to defeat, frequently changing sides so you have to chase after them with a flurry of alternating attacks. Other enemies stand to the sides and toss weapons, which you can either dodge, grab out of the air, or reflect back, depending on what the level allows. A single level will see you defeat 100 or more stick figures, rushing at you like lemmings into a particularly graceful wood chipper.
While the demo is generous it only scratches the surface of what One Finger Death Punch 2 will have to offer, with a ridiculously huge number of levels, tons of secrets, unlockable skills, different play modes, and anything else Silver Dollar Games can think of to cram in there. Despite it’s size the game is designed as a quick adrenaline hit, something you play in bits and pieces over months rather than marathon over a week, because as good as the fighting feels it’s still a two-button game and that can easily become repetitive if you overdo it. For the demo, though, you’ll want to set aside about 30-45 minutes due to there being no save, during which the game goes from a nice casual stroll through a handful of baddies to a turbo-charged race to stay just out of reach of the charging horde. Check it out on Steam and try not to let the stick-figure bodies pile too high.