Thursday, June 7

Review: One Strike [Nintendo Switch eShop]

There’s a case to be made, in this age of games with massive budgets and controller schemes that can sometimes make your hand cramp, for simplicity in games. Even if only to act as a palette-cleansing break between meatier material, or perhaps to help lure in someone new with less complexity, simple doesn’t have to equal bad. Unfortunately, it really is a tightrope walk as well, and there’s such a thing as reducing complexity to the degree that something becomes a bit pointless and dull. One Strike is a fighting game that simplifies to what feels like the lowest point possible, but unfortunately sucks anything enjoyable about the experience out with it.

You’ll begin by choosing from the roster of 6 warriors, each having their own signature weapon and general style. To its credit, One Strike does end up with what feels like a diverse roster, it’s just everything downhill from there isn’t so good. Each fighter has an attack, a defense position, and a forward and backward dash. Don’t misunderstand, there is only one button for each but it’s more than that, there are no variations of high/mid/low… you only have your warrior’s one attack and defense pose. They do vary in how they’re implemented per warrior, with some first getting into a position with the first tap and then striking with the second, striking from a distance, or closing the gap to strike up-close, but getting to know each warrior ends up taking very little time because there’s next to nothing to know.

Now throw in the fact that, true to its name, a single connecting strike will end the round and the result ends up being pretty one-dimensional. You can certainly feint and position yourself, both opponents locked in a game of mental chess, trying to anticipate and strike at a vital moment… or you can just move in for the kill and hope for the best. It’s the combination of an extremely limited moveset and the one-hit kills that absolutely suck the life out of the experience. Aside from hoping to make your opponent blink first there’s not much room for a metagame, comebacks, or deep technique… just hope you connect first and start over again. You can choose the mode where you put together 3 fighters who you’ll use in sequence as each one dies but, again, with there being no depth they’re just bodies you have lined up, you can’t dramatically switch to rally, you just hope with one of them you’ll find the odds more in your favor.

This is absolutely one of those games where I have to question who the target audience was meant to be. There’s no doubt it is friendly to newcomers since there’s very little to understand, but as an introduction to the fighting game genre it would also seem amazingly boring. It could be argued hardcore fighting fans could get a kick out of it, finding ways to eke out every bit of technique possible… but with no ability to be down and turn the tide or anything else exciting that is normally associated with competitive fighting games I can’t see that being likely either. Moreso than almost any other title I’ve reviewed One Strike simply is what it is… and that’s a one-dimensional, bare bones fighting game that offers little to thoroughly enjoy.

Score: 4

  • A roster of 6 fighters who are legitimately different from one another
  • A few different modes to toy with

  • So much simplicity it becomes shallow
  • One-strike kills mixed with single-round matches = no room for comebacks or excitement
  • No idea who this game is really intended for