Game: Fly Punch Boom!
Genre: 2D, Fighting, Party, Action
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC)
Developer|Publisher: Jollypunch Games
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £13.49 | EU 14.99 | AU $22.95 | CA $19.94 | US $14.99
Release Date: 28th May 2020
Review code provided with many thanks to Jollypunch Games
Fly Punch Boom feels like a game where a school kid has doodled down some random super hero like characters on their exercise book and then spent the rest of the lesson day dreaming about these characters fighting each other. Fly Punch Boom is that day dream.
In this 2D fighter you can choose between a selection of wacky looking characters and fight in a pretty large arena. According to the games lore section these character are ‘punchies’ which reproduce through their epic combat. Yeah the lore is weird but it appears that’s the style the developers were aiming for. To take down your opponent you need to knock them out of the level boundary or perform a special move when there health bar is sufficiently depleted.
The main theme is over the top action, you clash with your foe in over the top fire balls and throw them through buildings, maybe a boat, maybe a whole planet. It’s crazy and exaggerated and it sounds like a pretty cool concept. There’s a bit of a steep learning curve to adjust to the mechanics though.
This isn’t your typical fighting game like say a Street Fighter or Tekken. Levels are a generous size and zoom in and out to depending on where each character is on the map. When characters were too far apart and the camera zooms out the action was quite hard to follow due to the large amount of clutter in the level. You fly around boosting into your opponent and tap the ‘y’ button to initiate a power bar. You then choose a prompt either attack, counter or throw. These three choices act as a sort of rock paper scissors system. So say your opponent chooses throw, but you choose punch you win. How far you have filled the power bar also matters as well. So if you both choose the same prompt the player with the highest bar wins. If you match completely it then becomes a mash of the ‘y’ button to see who wins.
You have to do all this in a incredibly small time frame. So if you struggle with multi tasking like me it can take some time to get used to. As well as this system you can also ram into hazards, like buildings and even whales, in the level environment in an attempt to damage your opponent. You can also fill a power meter to unleash a special move. As you and your opponent fling each other around another bar will often appear which will mean life or death. Failing to stop the slider in the yellow bar will result in death and the loss of the match.
This all took me a little time to get my head around. The game does offer a tutorial but I had to replay it multiple times to get to grips with the mechanics. This isn’t exactly a pick up and play fighting game.
The game feels more designed to play with human opponents as opposed to the computer. Especially since the mechanics lean into Quick Time Event (QTE) territory something I’m really not fond of. The computer AI isn’t prone to human error like we silly humans are. So when I knocked the AI out of bounds or into a hazard they rarely failed the life or death QTE until I depleted their health bar significantly. This meant most fights ended up being quite grindy. You can slow down the QTE reaction times in the options but even then I found it too fast for me and I often lost matches to the AI early just because I couldn’t press a button quick enough, which was very frustrating.
Choose your Mode
You can choose to play arcade mode which sees you take on each character one by one. Each time you finish arcade mode you unlock your selected characters back story. Which is often unusual and wacky like the games general design. You can also choose to play single matches one on one or two on two. The later playing out more like tag matches as only two characters are present on screen at once. I tried playing this mode with my co op partner since we could be on the same team. Unfortunately this made things more confusing as QTEs would fire off for players were not even tagged in. Easy for the AI of course but difficult for us and it lead to some quick deaths and general confusion.
The game has online. With thanks to fellow writer and gaming superstar Paige I was able to enjoy several matches. I experienced almost no lag even in handheld mode. The game was more fun playing with a fellow human than the computer AI. I still wasn’t any better at the game since Paige absolutely destroyed me. It felt like a fair fight though. If you opt to find a match in quickplay with a random player a mini game plays in while searching for a player. You move the snake character at the bottom of the screen from right to left and eat as many pigs dropping from the top as possible whilst avoiding the mines. A fun little distraction and nice touch.
Over the top Colour
Graphics are 2D cartoony and very wacky. There are a variety of characters to choose from which all seem very happy to be fighting. While overly happy they weren’t particularly memorable expect maybe the massive pig fella. Levels are filled with colour and range from deserts with pyramids to throw at your foe to underwater where boats and squids can be used as weapons. This game also handles gore in a rather amusing way. By that I mean if you punch your opponents head off as a finishing move, instead of the expected blood spillage you usually get from video games, sweets fall out instead. This is both weird and hilarious making this is absolutely suitable to play with your kids.
The game is also loaded with environmental deaths. You can get squished by various buildings, eaten by fish which then get eaten by bigger fish. These are all handled in over the top and hilarious ways. As you take on your foe an over the top anime inspired soundtrack plays in the background which I actually dug. Particularly when it started to build towards the end of an epic fight. The main theme of the game is addictive and I started humming it while writing this review.
The Final Blow
Fly Punch Boom is an interesting game. At it’s core it feels like a fun anime inspired fighting game to play with a friend provided you can both get the mechanics down. I enjoyed the wackiness of the graphics and general design of the game. However, my reactions were just not quick enough for the AI so I ended up failing to get to grips with it despite my best efforts. Not a game for me but I can see this being a fun time for a niche audience.
Final Verdict: I’m not sure