Have you ever painted the town red with a little too much gusto and ended up emptying your bladder on absolutely everything whilst fist fighting every passerby? No? Makes sense… Well, neither have we, but if for whatever reason you wanted to experience that vicariously through another, boy oh boy do we have the game for you! Drunken Fist developed by Deklazon came in swinging to Xbox One, Switch, and PS4 today (12/23/20). We put in the leg work with this quirky physics based brawler let me tell you, but was it a knockout punch or a swing and a miss? Well, pull up an uncomfortably tall stool and a beverage of your choice and we’ll tell you all about it in this newest Backlog Twosome review!
I have a complicated relationship with physics based games. My son thinks they are hilarious beyond reason so if there is one available we’ve probably played it together. Listening to him giggle with delight every time his floppy character randomly collapses mid-task, or throws my floppy character off of a building, truly never gets old. He’s gaming and having a blast so win-win all around. On the other hand I don’t think there’s anyone that will praise the base game mechanics. They’re often glitchy and awkward and definitely come with a steep learning curve. Nonetheless, they are not games meant for long playthroughs and really that’s their saving grace. Just a quick bit of fun, good for a few laughs and then you move on. In this case Drunken Fist is no different.
Honestly, I have a love hate relationship with games like Drunken Fist. On the one hand, by design these games are made to be frustrating! You are meant to struggle while attempting to accomplish the smallest and most menial tasks due to their janky controls (I Am Bread), wonky physics (Human Fall Flat), and nonsensical in-game objectives (Goat Simulator). Not to mention their often low budget aesthetics.
On the other hand however, they can be hilarious! Especially when playing with my son. I’ll tell you one thing, he finds the antics and predicaments you get yourself in, absolutely hysterical! In turn, making me laugh out loud as well through a case of the secondhand giggles. This is despite me wanting to throw the controller across the room.
With that being said however, the enjoyment is short lived and the same can be said about Drunken Fist. Your only objective in the game is to stumble around the streets (drunkenly) and punch the living daylights out of the nearest Jock or maybe Punk. Which by itself, and without any real depth, would wear on anyone. Throw in the horrible controls, and the inevitability of you wandering in the wrong direction because of them. Then you’re maybe looking at a single session or two (at the most) before you need to set it down and never pick it back up. You know, out of sheer lack of will to go on.
Like I said before I’ve played my fair share of physics based games so I already knew, somewhat, what I was in for when we booted up this game for the first time. What I didn’t expect was for the already flaccid controls of games like this to be turned up a notch by taking on the characteristics of a very drunk old man. Honestly, as a concept I get it. These games very much tend to mimic the sloppy actions of a very inebriated person anyway. Drunken Fist though just made it too difficult to maneuver and more often than not I ended up feeling like I wasn’t controlling my befuddled old timer a lot of the time. The added mechanic of needing to refill your drunk and health meters by grabbing beer and burgers from the ground required a precision I just didn’t feel was manageable. Half the time I died just from lack of drunkness alone and the other half was getting my ass kicked by the bands of various thugs my sauced senior decided he needed to fight.
If the developers had just stuck with the established floppy physics style instead of running wild with the drunken theme I think the game would have been overall more fun to play. The objective to fight a bunch of guys and evade cops is an interesting one filled with alot of potential silly hijinks. However, it really only ends up frustrating the bejesus out of you when you can’t even turn your character around to face in the right direction. You take damage almost constantly between the fights, falling down, needing to pee at an inappropriate time, or having your drunk meter depleted. You can hold on to the beer and burgers you find without consuming them right away but the meters deplete so fast that it’s just not always possible to stockpile. Finding either to fill your meters up will almost assuredly kill you since they are just sparse enough or often placed near the guys you are tasked with fighting.
Now, even the typical draw for playing games like Drunken Fist, the comedy of “never being able to succeed at this dang game”, is lacking as well. In a lot of ways it feels like it’s trying too hard to be silly, by doing things like letting you pee anywhere when your bladder is full, or chugging a bottle of beer down to “maintain” your “drunken power”. Nonetheless, it just falls flat, kinda like when you’ve had too much to drink. So, it thematically ties back I guess. The actual brawling aspect doesn’t add much either, and that’s saying something, when that’s supposed to be the gameplay appeal.
Really though, what would improve Drunken Fist, would be for the devs to just add more types of objectives. Give us something else to stumble around and do. Let us get into more drunken shenanigans. You know lean into the whole drunken asshole thing! That and maybe make the brawling actually fun. The concept is there, the execution is not.
I mean, it feels like this is an obvious result, but it’s truly hard to recommend Drunken Fist. At any price point honestly. Unlike many of the more popular “simulator games”, the fun factor just isn’t there. It’s weird to say but it’s frustrations are just frustrating and unfulfilling, instead of being frustratingly fun.
If, however, you feel like subjecting yourself to Drunken Fist, then maybe wait for a deep, deep, deep, discount before you take a swig.
The only reason I usually play these types of games at all is because my son wants to. So, with that being said, in general games like it are not really my cup of tea. The fact that you are playing as a very juiced up elder who beats the tar out of anyone and everyone means it’s really not appropriate for younger audiences, so I’d have to pass on this game anyway. The blood spatter took it to a dark place I don’t really associate with these goofy types of games and it kind of spoiled the mood. I think the game held a lot of potential and while it did still make me laugh a few times, those controls were a total kicker and kind of ruined it for me. If you can find it for a few bucks and are willing to accept it’s limited level of enjoyment then I’d say give it a go once the kids are in bed. Honestly though, I’d rather play Gangbeasts or Human Fall Flat with someone who enjoys those types of games and call it a day.
So, Drunken Fist definitely wasn’t the KO we had hoped for but the consensus says it wasn’t a total fumble either. There’s a short lived bit of fun to be had if you can find it at a very steep discount. There will be frustrations abound but playing it with an open mind and maybe an open bar will make the experience worth a try if you really like those droopy character antics with a more adult twist.