Ad Nauseam

HIGH Entertaining for the first ten minutes.

LOW Severely diminishing returns after the first ten minutes.

WTF Laying puddles of urine as traps, only to slip on them.

An unnamed elderly man who’s had way too much to drink (some might call him a bum) shimmies towards a group of younger males, who are also very drunk. He can’t walk in a straight line — he can only wobble and teeter about. After falling down a few times, he haphazardly manages to stand up in front of them and inaccurately swings a wrinkled fist!

One of the men answers in kind. They both miss! Their bodies collide in an amalgam of soft physics, sweat and gurgling sounds. Their limbs flail unwillingly, following directions set by the illogical dance lines of ragdoll physics – and I wonder why!

Drunken Fist is a third-person beat-’em-up that tries to present humor via intoxicated brawling, but everything aside from this setup is serviceable at best — and I’m being very generous when I say “serviceable”.

What’s immediately striking (pun intended) upon starting the game is that the blocky, low-poly visuals are from at least four generations ago. Apart from this chunkiness, Drunken Fist sports heavy doses of ‘barfed up’ colors, like dark yellow and brown-ish. Admittedly, this is in line with the premise, but it contributes to the overall lack of visual flair.

Gameplay-wise, Drunken Fist is hindered by needlessly unresponsive and annoying movement control — pushing the left stick in a direction will not result in the player moving there. Nope, only constant attention towards that goal will work in conjunction with careful circular motions, multiple camera rearrangements and vigilant observance of the hero’s unprompted actions.

I know this is supposed to be a ‘simulation’ of walking while drunk, but the sensitivity is way more than too much, and will primarily antagonize anyone who attempts to play. When trying to simply walk forward results in the character falling on his face, things need to be dialed back. Because of this difficulty in simple navigation, I never felt comfortable in strolling towards enemies and punching away — and isn’t that the supposed draw here?

On the other hand, the fighting mechanics don’t need much investment from the player as the challenge comes from learning how to navigate. Once standing close to combatants with names like “punk” and “hipster”, it’s all about filling their hitboxes with punches and kicks. Drunken Fist also allows for combo moves done by pressing two buttons at once, but the sweep attack (a single press of the “O” button) will one-shot someone every single time. If you can manage to maneuver close enough, that is.

There’s also a special move — the ability to pee! Available after reaching the maximum capacity for liquid, the hero can release pressure in a puddle at his feet, which then serves as a slippery trap. However, it’s a trap mostly for him because it takes a miracle to immediately direct him around his own piss. Ending up on the ground immediately after peeing is common.

Between confrontations, the hero can consume beer to maintain a good stamina recovery rate, or eat random hamburgers to replenish health — and that’s really Drunken Fist in a nutshell. Move from one group of drunks to the next, engage in ‘hilarious’ fights with their mushy bodies and waving arms while frequently kissing the asphalt and recklessly consuming alcohol!

I wish that the developers had put more effort and creativity into this setup. It seems designed to be streamed since it’s much funnier to watch than it is to play, and most of the playtime consists of waiting for the hero to get up or to simply turn in the desired direction. It took me about 80 minutes to finish Drunken Fist, but it stopped being enjoyable after the first ten.

Rating: 3 out of 10

— Konstantin Koteski

Disclosures: This game is developed by Dudarev Alexandr Vladimirovich and published by Easasiasoft. It is currently available on XBO, PS4, Switch and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 1.5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains Blood, Use of Alcohol, Crude Humor and Intense Violence. The game aims for humor, but some might find the notion of an elderly man getting beaten till unconscious hard to stomach. The shaky camera and (at times) incomprehensible music and sounds work towards simulating a drunken state. There is a lot visible blood and pee, so, it’s not a kid-friendly game.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game does not offer subtitles, but there isn’t a need for them at all — there’s no dialogue and sound is completely unimportant for finishing this game.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable. This game does not offer a controller map diagram, but movement is on the left stick, camera is the right stick, and all of the face and shoulder buttons are used for punching and kicking.

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