Drunken Fist – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by DEKLAZON and published by Eastasiasoft, Drunken Fist: Totally Accurate Beat em’ Up is a physics based brawler where you try to get home, fighting those who stand in your way. Stumble your way through the city, using a variety of attacks to take down your foes while making sure not to be defeated. This title is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam Service, if you want to check this game out, links to each version will be at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank Eastasiasoft for providing the copy of Drunken Fist used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own. This title is also rated Mature, so discretion is advised.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. There is little in the way of a conventional plot with this release, so I will be omitting the story segment from this review.

Gameplay – in Drunken Fist you take the role of a man trying to get home after drinking a little too much, but there is a problem, everyone you come into contact with is trying to beat you up. To get home safely, you need to fight off punks, jocks and more to get through each of the stages. To clear each of the stages in the game the player must complete a set of objectives without being defeated, if the player is taken out they must try again from the start of the stage.

When fighting enemies in the streets each attack uses up a portion of the stamina meter, with different attacks using up varying amounts of energy for each move. There is a standard punch, kick, dodge and sweep available to the player, alongside an expanded move set by pressing the shoulder buttons and triggers. The combat is clumsy and a little messy, with a difficulty to consistently attack enemies due to the use of tank controls which have a very slow almost uncontrollable feeling to them.

The inconsistency of combat and movement is interesting to say the least, as the tank controls and wild flailing of limbs does give the impression of intoxication, but weakens the playability in parts. There is also a momentum system in place for walking/running, with the player’s speed increasing more to the point that the character will fall over taking damage. Momentum and combat flaws add an increased level of challenge that requires caution and with no difficulty setting, be prepared to restart stages often.

As well as the combat and accidents that can occur, damage can be caused by poor management of “essential needs” which are separated into two categories. The first is the drink meter, which depletes over time and can only be refilled by drinking bottles found during play. The second is the bathroom meter, opposite from the drink meter as it will fill over time and must be depleted through urinating, this will leave an area of yellow blobs in front of the player that can cause fall damage if stepped on.

The only way to recover health is to eat burgers that are found on the street, increasing the health meter on screen when used. The current amount of food and drink that the player has in their inventory will appear on screen and is carried over between stages, the items that they carry will also carry over between restarts making use of food and drink tactical in some instances. Now while this is a unique gimmick and an entertaining one at that, the game does have some major flaws to it.

I do enjoy the combat gimmick for the most part, the action can flow well, with a slapstick style charm to the way that limbs and body parts can get stuck in other objects. However, this is also a point of frustration as some enemies have extremely good accuracy with strikes, causing repeated knock downs as you swing around wildly. There is also the possibility of getting surrounded quickly and due to some unfortunate hit detection, it is entirely possible to miss every attack you make to your enemies.

Now I want to finish here with what are either software bugs or oversights with gameplay. First, when clearing a stage, if the bathroom or drink meter is critical, damage will still be applied during the transition between stages as the main characters dances for an extended period of time. This is a major problem as player death can occur quite easily after, either by weakening the player before fighting new enemies or by outright killing them immediately.

Second is what looks like loading errors during play. Several times during play of Drunken Fist, items and enemies that have been included on the stage objective list have failed to spawn. This occurred several times during an early portion of the game with a required item simply not spawning in the level at all, causing great annoyance as I searched for several minutes to no avail. The failure of items to load in game can cause forced restarts, losing significant progress in that stage and overall weakening the experience.

With the gameplay discussed to a level I am happy with, I will be moving onto the other parts of Drunken Fist, starting with the controls.

Controls – the controls for this release are a little unresponsive and can be difficult to use. The movement uses tank controls, with the player needing to turn before moving in the direction they want to move. The movement is slow and can be lacking in consistency, as there are some problems with input lag which is made worse when trying to move and attack enemies. Unfortunately, the grievances with the controls of Drunken Fist carry over no matter what controller is used.

Presentation – the visual style is silly and has a very goofy look to it. The character models are slightly blocky polygons, the eyes are googly and bodies just flop about when knocked down adding to the comedy of the experience. On the subject of sound, the music, sound effects and minimal voice acting are fine, with generic action, rock and surf style tracks that play in the background. These don’t really add or take anything away from the game, the way that the sound cuts off when knocked down before coming back is a nice touch but doesn’t really do anything.

Final Thoughts – Drunken Fist is an entertaining game, but I feel that the drunken gimmick can get tiring quickly so it is best to play this game in bursts. The controls are a little awkward and the input lag doesn’t help, but it is playable if you take your time when playing. It is tough to recommend this title as the gameplay may be off putting for players, compounded by the flaws of loading errors and the essential needs issue dealing damage between stage transitions.

In the end, I give Drunken Fist a final score of 3/5. Drunken Fist is an entertaining and comedic physics based brawler, but the experience is sadly marred by clumsy movement, lagging inputs and some programming errors. The game is playable and fun in bursts, with a modest price point that can justify picking it up for a couple of hours of entertainment. If you want to check it out for yourself, links to each version will be below.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation 4 version (HERE)

Link to Xbox One version (HERE)

Link to Steam version (HERE)

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