One Finger Death Punch: A Case Study In The Rising Legitimacy of Mobile Gaming
I have a confession to make that probably won't come as much of a surprise, given that I write content for this site: I'm kind of addicted to video games. Like, a lot. To the point where if I don't have ACCESS to a video game of some kind, just so I know I can play it, I feel weird. Video games have managed to squeeze their way into pretty much every moment of my daily life as something that's just sort of there, like the shirt I put on every day, or like television.
And part of the reason for that is the astounding level of growth in mobile gaming. It's gotten to the point where, as another contributor pointed out here, it's sort of crushing the dedicated handheld gaming market under its big, ubiquitous boot. But I'm of the opinion that isn't a completely bad thing, and I have four words for you that pretty much make my point for me: One. Finger. Death. Punch.
"Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting!"
At this point, you're probably having one of two reactions. Either you're going "WTF is One Finger Death Punch?" (Hey look, a TotalBiscuit video!) OR you're getting all giddy and excited like me, because you know the answer is "tiny stick-man kung fu glory!" Ladies and gentlemen, this is One Finger Death Punch...
More specifically, this is the trailer video for the Android and iOS release, done by mobirix. And that's an important distinction to make, as is the fact that I used the word "release" rather than "port." See here's the thing: This particular "mobile port" isn't actually a direct, 1:1 port of the original One Finger Death Punch first released on PC and consoles (featured in the TotalBiscuit video linked earlier in the article). And, shockingly enough, that turns out to be a good thing.
Here comes the part where I start saying things a few of you will probably find a bit crazy. I love One Finger Death Punch. The original. I bought it on my Xbox and Steam I love it so much. The concept of a stickman kung fu game that uses only two buttons sounds...weird, when laid out like that, and probably shallow and quick to bore. But it's not. I have no idea how the hell the guys over at Silver Dollar Games managed to take the idea of a two button game and make it SO. DAMN. FUN. But they did. To an almost criminal degree.
Now, as a gamer who fully embraces the notion of mobile as a gaming platform, I took one look at this game and thought "This thing was practically made for mobile." Cue immediately going to the Google Play Store and searching for it...to be met with crushing disappointment. There was no mobile port of OFDP. At least, not for a while.
Months passed, and every so often, I would keep plugging the title into that search bar at the top of my phone screen, hoping that one day I would be met with victory. And then it happened. Out of nowhere, there it was. One Finger Death Punch, available for my phone. Within a minute I was feverishly booting it up, excited to see how well the port job had been done.
I Never Thought I'd Say This, But...I Love You, Overtly Freemium Death Punch
Right here, at the very beginning of my mobile kung fu adventure, was where I very quickly realized this was definitely not a port. This was a second party redesign, loaded with freemium tactics. And at first, I was disgusted. But, I kept playing. The actual gameplay was just as satisfying as I could have hoped, and I was hooked, again.
That infernal core gameplay was still just too good.
I continued playing the game for a really long time, and through several updates. And while I definitely saw that it was very clearly going through some serious growing pains, I came to realize that I actually liked the design of this mobile version MORE than the original. It contained more content, and more things to aim for as far as progression. Furthermore, especially after the most recent overhaul that allows gold to be earned in the higher Survival leaderboards, you can very easily earn everything in the game you could want, without spending a dime.
[Insert Mandatory Disclaimer Section Here]
While I realize this is not necessarily the norm when it comes to mobile ports vs their original platform releases, or even all of mobile gaming in general, this game just serves as one of the best examples I could point to when demonstrating that mobile as a game platform is, and should be fully considered, a legitimate thing. That being said, I've got more than enough other games I could point to in defense of this argument. To this end, I've decided I'm going to start writing a weekly series, and call it "Mobile Mondays," where I will introduce and go over one example of a great mobile game that I've found. I'm actually writing this on Monday, but I realize that as a result of editing time, it'll probably go up around Wednesday or thereabouts, so I'll be planning ahead for that in future installments.
But tell me what you think. Am I completely off base here? Do you think mobile gaming is just a terrible money sucking machine, and an insult to the gaming industry? Sound off in the comments, I look forward to reading them and engaging in discussion with all of you.