Fly Punch Boom!

Have you ever seen an epic fight scene in which counterparts fight for the very fate of the planet, their lives or the survival of their species and thought 'this is all well and good but what would really make this fight epic would be a game of rock, paper, scissors'? No? Anyone? Well, that's exactly what Fly Punch Boom! Boils its battles down to. And I almost forgot to mention the quicktime events.

The lore of Fly Punch Boom! States that when two or more punchies fight it can be so powerful that galaxies are born. It's the way they reproduce resulting in either the creation of the aforementioned galaxy or a new punchie from the violent dance. It's a fun premise that doesn't really translate to what you see on screen.

Fly Punch Boom

The strongest compliment that I can give this game is that it's functional. I encountered no bugs or glitches in the few hours I spent with it and all the systems work as intended. The character art is fun as are the fatalities. However, none have the staying power to continue being amusing or interesting after you've seen each one several times. I don't particularly care for any of the character designs though I do like Buya's belly jiggling animation on the character select screen. He looks tremendously proud and delighted with it. The main problem, and there are many, is that for a fighting game the very foundations are shallow and primarily luck based. When did that ever sound like a good base for a fighting game?

All characters essentially play the same apart from a second state and a special ability. You fly around the map and engage in one of three starter actions: punch, parry or throw. Once both characters make their choice they are revealed. Punch beats throw. Throw beats parry. Parry (sort of) beats punch. That's pretty much the game. It's a tedious and constant repeated rock, paper, scissor mechanic but somehow it manages to get worse. There are two levels: blue and yellow. A line will move along a bar and you have to stop it to decide the power of your action. Yellow is more powerful but harder (but still easy) to achieve. If both characters pick the same action and the same level of power you then enter a quicktime event where you have to mash X more times than your opponent. I would say you have to repeat this ten to twenty times per fight. It's simple, tedious and I got no enjoyment from it.

Fly Punch Boom

This rock, paper, scissor styled action can be the beginning of a combo. If you are successful you can launch your opponent and achieve a free hit but only if you are able to reach them before they complete their quicktime event for recovery. If you fly straight into them without initiating the encounter you can hammer X some more for punches which lasts a few seconds. However, there are numerous aspects in each level that interfere with your combos.

If you or your opponent get hit or simply fly to one of the areas that initiate a fatality you have to complete yet another quicktime event or you lose. That's right. It's instant death. Even if you have full health or were one hit away from defeating your opponent that's it. A simple slip of the thumb or slowed reactions from trying to work out where on the screen you are can be the difference between success or defeat. If you are in the middle of a combo and you hit your opponent into one of these zones it effectively cancels it, assuming they survive the event. The bar in which you need to place the slider starts off pretty big and decreases as your health does.

There are also bounce pads in each level in the style that you'd see in a pinball machine. These seem to have no purpose but to shoot you off a different direction if you veer into them which is very possible to do. The movement is horrendous. It's different to control with any sense of precision and it feels like your swimming through grease as you fly around the environment. The turning circle is seemingly non-existent. I even witnessed the computer opponent clearly miss the power-up they were after due to this issue. Also, if you have to constantly label the one and only collectable power-up with the word GET in capitals above it you need to rethink your visual signalling.

There are other complaints too. The arcade mode is too long considering you have to finish it in a single sitting. The start of each match has zero impact. There is a countdown but there is such a quiet sound effect it's actually easy to miss. An announcer would do wonders for the 'epic event' that the game is trying to portray. When you get to sudden death on a fatality the sliding bar is actually wider than the space you need to stop it in so it's purely luck whether you succeed or not, and it's massively stacked against you. It's impossible to tell when a power-up appears on stage unless it literally appears in shot. There is no indicator and usually the best way to tell is if the computer opponent suddenly zooms off in a seemingly random direction. I don't understand what use the teleport function is actually good for as the point at which you reappear is randomised and finally; if one character is staying still and the other is zooming about the place the camera zooms in and out at such frequency and velocity it's bordering on nauseating.

Some other positives deserve to be mentioned though I feel their effect is diminished by the repetitive and tedious gameplay. The character animations are generally good and I particularly enjoy their nonchalant and cheeky expressions when parrying a punch. The fatalities are varied, inventive and humourous even though they get old fast. The music is fine and it scores points for having a theme song.

Fly Punch Boom

I find it difficult to work out who this game is for. The nature of the gameplay will be tedious for adults but Fly Punch Boom! Contains a considerable amount of cartoon gore which I wouldn't recommend for a young audience even though the blood is substituted with sweets. I might say it would be a party game amusing for short bursts with different sets of people but to be honest there are many better games to play in this scenario.

Fly Punch Boom! Feels a bit lost. Too shallow for serious competitive play but not pick-up-and-play enough for casual players. The unlocks give you something to play for but I couldn't bring myself to complete the arcade mode with everyone. It really is a shame as I was interested in the concept, but it's desperately let down by the luck-based and shallow gameplay.

It should be noted that I only played single player modes and was unable to find a match online. I was playing this pre-release and received a PC code for the purpose of the review.

2

In Short

  • + Bright visuals in both characters and levels
    + Did not encounter any bugs or glitches

  • - Simple, repetitive and tedious gameplay
    - Nauseating camera
    - Any fun dissipates after a few matches
    - Only four stages

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