Saturday, March 26, 2016

One Finger Death Punch - 16/20 hours

It is the paradox of One Finger Death Punch that the more difficult it gets the better the game it becomes and the less time I can stand to play at a stretch. When enemies are flying at your left and right as fast as you can see and you get into the zone where your fingers dance and your clicks fall into a perfect rhythm, it's an intense experience, one that leaves me breathless. I need time to cool down between attempts.

But it's astonishing to learn that you are capable of things you once thought impossible. It took me the better part of an hour to get past the final light sword round in Student mode, and for much of that hour, I was convinced that I would never reach the Master levels.

What wound up happening is that I burned out on the last few Student levels so I decided I would  cool off by replaying some early levels to try for platinum medals. Unfortunately, One Finger Death Punch has an annoying mechanic where the more you win, the higher the game's speed, so after just a few medals, I was back where I started from.

Since the only way to reduce your speed multiplier is to fail levels, I decided that it would be just as well if I failed the last few levels which were giving me trouble. Anyway, it turned out that during one of these doomed attempts, I didn't actually fail (probably due to all that practice I got playing the level at 150% speed), and that's how I managed to beat Student-level difficulty.

After that, I was kind of lost for awhile. I decided to give Survival mode a try, and that's a nice way to kill 15 minutes, but I wouldn't want to sit and do it for hours at a time. In the course of playing Survival mode, I unlocked Blind Survival mode, which is just like regular Survival mode, except you don't have the handy little UI elements that tell you when it's safe to strike.

Blind Survival mode is probably the best way to play the game. In the normal course of events, it's usually much more efficient to pay attention to the colored bars and ignore everything but the general position and movement of your enemies. Which is a shame because One Finger Death Punch has some really fun animation (stick figure Drunken Fist is adorable). With the bars gone, you're not only allowed, but forced to watch the martial arts action directly, and it just feels like a purer and more entertaining form of the game.

If you succeed at Blind Survival Mode well enough to get 500 kills, you unlock the game's final play mode - No, Luca, No Survival mode. This is just like regular survival except at random intervals a picture of a black cat appears on the screen and you have to swipe it away with a movement of your mouse. It's utterly ridiculous and I can't imagine I'll ever play it again, as the novelty wore off almost immediately.

It's still  a realistic depiction of a cat, though.

The plan for the last four hours is to just take it easy and do whatever comes to mind at any given moment. It's funny, if I were playing this game for a half-hour a day for forty days, it would be the easiest thing in the world, but marathoning it in the space of a week is going to take everything I've got.

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