You know those big over-the-top battles that you see in anime? The ones that have massively destructive attacks breaking out from both opponents and utter destruction caused as they fight? Well, Fly Punch Boom, the newly-released fighter from the team at Jollypunch Games, is based entirely around that style of showdowns, with chaos and devastation at the forefront of the charming battles between the battle-hardened Punchies. It can make for a pretty fun time too, though the simplicity of the gameplay mechanics might see your time with it being short-lived when compared to other titles in the fighting genre.
Battles are 2D airborne events, with players zooming their way across an assortment of large and open environments as they beat down on their opponents, all whilst utilising anything and everything around them in a destructive manner. That alone is probably enough to get most fighting-fans itching with excitement, but Fly Punch Boom’s combat doesn’t play out in a conventional manner – instead, there’s a mixture of QTE-style events with ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ mechanics, which makes for a weird but mostly effective combination.
So there are two styles of main attack in Fly Punch Boom: a tackle that is initiated by flying your way into your foe (which then sees you having to mash the attack button to deal out some damage), and the clashes that see a filling-meter appear with both players having to stop it as close to the edge as possible with a button press. Pressing Y unleashes a hit, A a throw, and X a counter – simple. However, this is where those aforementioned ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ mechanics come into play, with hits overpowering throws, throws overpowering counters, and counters overpowering hits… still following?
If your attack is effective against your foe’s, you’ll unleash damage upon them – the same works the other way around though, with a random element tied into combat that sees your success based more upon luck than anything. Sure, if you both throw out the same attack, whoever filled their meter the most is deemed more successful, so your timing can be just as important as your button choice in places. Other than that, though? Clashes boil down to luck. There’s no denying that it’s a cool mechanic and it certainly made for some fun situations when playing with friends, but given that the fighting genre is one that’s so heavily associated with skill it was a little underwhelming that a lot of your successes can simply be based upon being lucky enough to just press the right button.
That’s not to say that EVERYTHING relies on luck though, with each of the game’s characters having their own unique abilities that can be game-changers in the midst of a frantic battle. Some deal heavy accurate damage, some cover larger areas, whilst others set traps for foes – it adds a clever twist to Fly Punch Boom’s gameplay where you’re just as likely to have a favourite character based upon their special move as opposed to just their appearance alone. That’s not to say that their appearance doesn’t factor into the mix though, but what would you expect from a game that has such a colourful and wonderful cast as Fly Punch Boom? They’re all utterly zany in design, whilst the game’s vibrant and simplistic aesthetic fits the over-the-top and destructive vibe of the game perfectly.
It all comes together to make for a pretty fun experience, albeit one that is a little limited in design. A lot of battles play out the same way because of the QTE-style events and you can even save yourself from the brink of death by stopping another meter in the right spot. Still, there’s no denying there’s a lot of charm to the game’s chaotic and deadly world, with the player even able to smash into giant objects to launch them at opponents. Levels are full of unique death sequences that tie into the environment in a variety of ways too, with Fly Punch Boom simply oozing with character in almost all facets of its design. I just wish that the combat itself could’ve offered a little bit more oomph in places and didn’t have such a heavy focus on luck and timely button-presses.
Fly Punch Boom is at its absolute best when played in multiplayer, but it does have a single player component in place for those who want to play alone. It’s simple in design and it isn’t very consistent as far as its difficulty levels are concerned, but it does allow you to get to grips with how the game works and can also see you unlock additional characters and costumes.
Multiplayer can be played both online or locally, with online supporting one-versus-one battles and generally playing quite well. Whilst I haven’t had a ton of battles against players across the globe, everything I have done has been consistent and smooth, with no network issues causing problems… it’s good stuff. Local multiplayer on the other hand supports one-versus-one and two-versus-two in tag-style battles, with both proving to be a whole lot of fun when you’ve got other players sitting around with you. There’s no denying that Fly Punch Boom is a bit crazy in design so it’ll definitely get plenty of laughs out of players during multiplayer showdowns, whilst the elements of luck can even make one-upping your opponents feel all the more satisfying – even if it can be a bit frustrating when it pans out the other way and you’re on the receiving end of a beating. It’s all simple in design too, so anyone can pick up and play, making Fly Punch Boom ideal for quick showdowns with friends.
That simplicity can work against Fly Punch Boom though, with the game not offering enough depth to keep you hooked in for too long. It’s not like other fighters where you can spend time learning combos or utilising a myriad of different moves with each character, whilst the elements of luck and dependence on QTEs can make battles a little repetitive in design. Still, there’s no denying that the hours you do get out of the game will be a lot of fun – it’s just not the sort of game that I’ll find myself fully invested in for the long-term.
Fly Punch Boom is quirky and fun, with the over-the-top battles making for some destructive and satisfying showdowns. However, the simplicity of its gameplay mechanics and its dependence on luck can grow a little repetitive over time – even if the battles themselves do remain utterly chaotic.
Still, if you can get some friends together to join you for some battles, you’ll certainly have a good time with Fly Punch Boom. It’s very accessible and you’re guaranteed to get plenty of laughs out of its zany battles, even if lady luck isn’t on your side when playing. Just don’t expect the same level of depth or variety that you’ve seen in other titles in the fighting genre, with the game being best suited for a few small bursts here and there more than long play sessions.
Developer: Jollypunch Games
Publisher: Jollypunch Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC