Dutch Courage isn’t a character from the MCU, but our hapless hero in this Drunken Fist game on the PS4 may as well don a cape and go by the name as he cleans up the streets using the power of his fists.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t realise he’s half cut as he stumbles into bins, face plants into the tarmac and “uppercuts” any chump that gets in his way. Uppercuts is in quotes as the concept is there, but he often hits the dirt before then.
The controls are somewhat on par with being intoxicated as movement is often erratic, confusing and chaotic, but the real question is ‘Is Drunken Fist any good?’ or should it be left in the gutters smelling of strong cider, or as we collectively call it ‘wee’.
Drunken Fist Game Review
You might be familiar with the drunken style of kung-fu from films aptly titled Drunken Master, played as Brad Wong in the Dead Or Alive series or hung around when the bars close, witnessing how booze can grant superpowers: teleportation, superiority complex and projectile vomiting.
The ‘hero’ in Drunken Fist is the epitome of the latter-day fighter. You’re continually moments away from tripping up, and regardless of any comprehension of what a straight line is, it’s guaranteed that you’ll take the scenic route.
It’s a no-frills experience without any features, cutscenes or plot. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to knock out the flurry of street dwellers, starting with the jocks on your way home. Combat is already difficult with a Human Fall Flat approach, but enemies don’t require too many hits.
Between fights, you have to expel any liquids you may be carrying on you that you aren’t likely to drink a.k.a. piss in the street, plus you need to keep your superpowers going by drinking your elixir – whether that be whisky, cider or mouthwash.
Kids, Don’t Drink
In some ways, this game by DEKLAZON and Eastasiasoft may well have been funded by the world’s governments as a deterrent not to drink. Outside of not experiencing the hangover, this yarn is a cautionary tale about being on the lash and knowing your limits.
Don’t read that as educational as this Drunken Fist game is a fun approach that doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s just that the drunken experience is relatable, albeit not on the same scale as this avenging hobo – and certainly not getting into the fights.
But it’s a sandbox to a degree. The street designs are a linear construct as it’s clear you need to wobble from A to B. While there isn’t much to interact with, the game’s nature makes you want to experiment with it a little, so you wander both intentionally and unintentionally.
Within the first few minutes of having knocked down my first adversary, my daughter suggests I pee on the jock I had just socked. Sure, why not? It didn’t unlock a trophy or award any health or skill tree, but it did make us laugh. Poetic justice moments later as I then slipped up on the homemade lemonade.
A Party For One
Here’s a maverick thing to say: Drunken Fist is a single-player party game. There are no other players in the game, local or online, but it’s the type of game that’s a lot more fun with an audience – especially if you take turns at controlling the lush.
Movement is unpredictable and equally frustrating. If you’re on your own, you might end up dismissing the game as too difficult or too few rewards, but with someone else looking on, they want to have go, thinking they can do better (they can’t), and it motivates you to try harder.
As a physics-based fighter, it takes some getting used to with the controls. It’s not complicated in terms of a move list, but you can’t button mash either as the character is unresponsive. However, the real challenge is persevering with movement.
Unable to run in a straight line due to his alcohol levels, the controls are further made more challenging as you have to swivel him around to face the direction you wish to head/attack. It’s a bit similar to operating a turret.
On top of that, he’ll fall regardless of the obstacles, health levels, your zodiac sign… it doesn’t matter, he’s drunk and unpredictable. For that reason, having another person share the controls might take off the edge, preventing you from throwing the controller in rage or, heaven forbid, reaching for the bottle.
Seeing the world through beer goggles is always a pleasant one, until you see the Snapchat or Facebook posts later where you were caught licking a radiator or dumping in the sink. But from a sober perspective, the presentation in this Drunken Fist game is very good.
Besides being a physics-based game, meaning that characters are bound to end up in compromising positions with limbs in places you wouldn’t think could work, the low poly approach is excellent, with character eyeballs literally popping out of their skulls.
Don’t expect high-res textures or backgrounds, but the environments your hobo frequents are great and feel real gritty. More so when you’re lying in a dumpster or kissing the kerb, or lying in your own whizz. Again.
The music is by Kevin MacLeod, and if you’ve used the internet for more than a week, you might be familiar with the artist as one of the most prolific musicians around. Despite being incredibly talented, the choice of music does feel out of place but has great comic timing and stops when your drunk runs out of juice or hits the deck.
Drunken Fist Review Summary
Drunken Fist is a novelty game that offers plenty of laughs initially, then once more when you ‘get’ the controls. It’s a short game but reasonably priced for what you get. Drink and pee freely without the headache or moral police on your back.