Genre: Fighting, Action
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 23/Dec/2020
A code was provided for review purposes
I’m a fan of silly little games that utilise chaotic physics systems and ridiculous gameplay mechanics. They offer an experience that’s a little bit different to the norm. I’ve spent a ton of hours with Goat Simulator and it still gets plenty of laughs out of me. I also have fond memories with the likes of Surgeon Simulator and Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Sure, they may not be the most polished of gameplay experiences, but that was part of the charm.
Drunken Fist, is a third-person brawler from EastAsiaSoft that sees players taking on the role of a bellicose hobo wandering through the streets. It is looking to embrace that ‘broken but beautiful’ charm but fails miserably. This isn’t a game where you’ll laugh at how broken it is or where some wacky antics will keep you absorbed in the experience. Rather, it’s one that just feels like a massive chore to play.
At least you get to pee on the bodies of your fallen foes though, if you’re into that sort of thing…
Dive Straight Into the Action
There isn’t much of an introduction to be found in Drunken Fist, with players sent straight into the action with no narrative telling the tale of your drunken woes and no tutorial to teach you the ropes. Fortunately, the gameplay itself is simple enough to understand – you find enemies and you beat them up. There are multiple moves at your disposal (each of which can be looked at in the move list), though you can stick with a pair of simple punches and kicks to take out most enemies with minimal fuss.
That’s if you can actually land a hit on them, mind. No, enemies won’t dazzle you with swift dodging or impenetrable blocks, but instead, prove to be elusive targets thanks to the miserably implemented combat system. It’s difficult to simply line up your attacks on enemies, whilst even standing right next to them. Mashing combos can prove ineffective at times too. Fortunately, your foes are also pretty useless at fighting. However, if they do land a hit you can expect to fall to the floor in a heap and find yourself having to stagger to your feet and TRY to line up your own attack again. It’s daunting.
Sluggish Controls Hamper the Gameplay
I understand that Drunken Fist is a game that’s built around a chaotic physics system, but it just makes fighting feel so cumbersome and unenjoyable. It’s the same case with movement. It’s a real struggle to get the protagonist from point A to B thanks to the tank-like controls and a severe lack of responsiveness. I couldn’t tell if there was input lag or if it was intentionally designed to add ‘drunken authenticity’; either way, it makes for a shoddy gameplay experience.
Each of the game’s seven levels takes place in the same city environment. New areas open up once you’ve completed each level’s objectives. These objectives are made up of things such as defeating a specified number of enemies, avoiding the police, or finding items hidden in the environment. There’s not a whole lot of variety to them. Finding the hidden items proved to be a real pain due to the fact that simply traversing areas in the game feels awful. Plus, the items themselves are small and well-hidden that I couldn’t help but get agitated as I scoped them out. Don’t get me started on avoiding the police, with their erratic patrolling patterns often making it impossible to evade the long arm of the law when you’re stuck in the middle of a drunken fight.
At least the enemies you face off against bring some much-needed diversity to the experience. There are jocks looking for a melee brawl, punks launching rocks at you, and gangsters trying to shoot you. Just to name a few. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all pretty useless in trying to take you down for the most part, but they can prove deadly when facing them in numbers.
Taking the P…
You also have to consider your ‘pee’ and ‘drunkenness’ meters, with each seeing your HP fall when they’re empty (or full in the case of peeing). Fortunately, all you need to do is hit the ‘urinate’ button to unleash your todger and pee everywhere. That’s easy enough to handle. Your drunkenness, however, only fills by using one of the many bottles of beer that are littered around the environment. These systems don’t really add or detract anything from the already poor experience, but I must admit that peeing everywhere did get a few laughs out of me – especially when incoming enemies slipped on it and fell to their demise. It works both ways though, so try to avoid yellow puddles.
There isn’t a whole lot to like about Drunken Fist with the poor gameplay mechanics and general brokenness of the experience not making for a fun time. However, I was a fan of the minimalist poly visual style which managed to hold up well on both the Nintendo Switch’s handheld and docked modes. I also found myself sniggering at some of the character animations. Especially with the clerks who have this ridiculous prance as they make their way towards you. So, the game did manage to get the right vibe of humour in places.
Want to know my favourite part of all? It’s beatable in around an hour and a half, though I must admit, even that felt seventy-minutes too long. I just wanted it to be over…
You know that horrible feeling you get when you’ve had a bit of a mad one and you’re left lying in bed drunk whilst the room spins around you, all whilst woefully regretting those extra vodka shots that you PROBABLY shouldn’t have had? Well, I felt that same sense of regret after playing Drunken Fist and its disorientating shambles of a gameplay experience. There’s certainly a place in the gaming world for these gimmicky physics-based titles that go for laughs over quality. However, Drunken Fist is simply a joke that’s missing a punchline. Avoid it.
You can get your copy of Drunken Fist from the Nintendo eShop here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.