Wow, this game is addictive. I can't remember the last time a game has gotten its hooks into me quite so quickly. I think the credit for that has to go to the game's simple, yet elegant design.
One Finger Death Punch is one of those games that literally takes 10 seconds to learn. You're a kung-fu stick figure, being attacked from both sides by a horde of aggressive stick figures. Press the left mouse button to strike left and the right mouse button to strike right. Don't click unless the enemies are relatively close, otherwise you'll leave yourself open to attack.
Yet, if that were all there were to the game, it would probably get old pretty fast. On top of the basic framework are all sorts of wrinkles that add depth to the game's strategy. Certain enemies require more than one hit to take down and can dodge from side to side, forcing you to switch up your attacks, others put you into a sudden QTE, where you have to follow the instructions or get hit, there are weapons you can pick up to increase your attack range, occasionally, a ball will appear that kills enemies in one hit if you can manage to kick it into them. It's not just mindlessly clicking, or even mere clicking to a rhythm - you have to make actual choices.
For a game that only uses two buttons, it's really quite impressive.
From my vantage point here at the beginning, it's hard to see how the next 17 hours will go. I like that the levels are short and there's no penalty for repeating them. I can easily imagine myself just happily completing the whole game, then repeating it on master and grandmaster difficulties, focusing on one level at a time in order to get the jolt of pleasure that comes from finishing one.
On the other hand, three hours in and I'm starting to feel like One Finger Death Punch has lost the ability to surprise me. I'm greatly digging its martial-arts-movie-inspired backgrounds and shockingly gratuitous (if abstractly rendered) violence, but I'm certain the novelty will wear off.
The question then is "which impulse is stronger?" The clock is ticking on a race between a hedonic addiction to arbitrary awards and the tendency to become jaded by repetition. The way I see it, either I'm going to be so wrapped up in the game that I forget about the passage of time, or once I crest the hump of the game's difficulty, I'll rapidly lose interest and start counting the hours until my ordeal comes to an end.
I don't foresee any outcome in between.