One Hit Kill
With rock-paper-scissor reflex based gameplay, One Strike is an approachable one-on-one fighter. The premise is simple in that one successful attack will kill your opponent. One button attacks, another blocks, and the shoulder buttons can dash in either direction. That’s it. There is no high/low attacks, weak/medium/strong buttons, or technical combos to learn and master. Modern fighting games like the latest Street Fighter, Soul Calibur, Mortal Kombat or Killer Instinct can be intimidating and take months if not years to fully master. One Strike, on the other hand, can be learned in just a few minutes.
The all-or-nothing gameplay means each match can take just a few seconds or can last an anxiety-fill minute or two between more experienced players. In fact, The One Life mode only takes about one minute to complete from beginning to end, making this great for gaming in short bursts. The Arcade mode still features one-hit kills but composed of five rounds instead of one. There is also a Team option, in which the player chooses a set of three fighters, and Tournament Mode that can be composed of AI or local players, both of which still feature the insta-kill gameplay. The player can even pit AI against AI and watch battles. Quick loading also keeps gameplay moving at a fast pace.
The Accolades option from the main menu provide replay incentive as the game wants the player to beat each mode, which each character, on each difficulty. The AI is much more difficult on the Hard setting in comparison to the Easy or Medium setting too. While it is frustrating to survive to the final battle only to die with that one strike, it creates excitement and puts nerves to the test. The soundtrack, which is composed with a Mega Man-ish style quality, increases in pace as the player wins more and more, also increasing the pressure. Unfortunately, each musical track, although are some good tunes, loop poorly. The good news is, gameplay is often so fast, players might not hear the song transition.
There is only a roster of six playable fighters but each one plays entirely differently. For example, Hinode the ninja is more jumpy and attacks quickly with short range, Soujirou the monk attacks with slow but long-range attacks, while Kenji’s katana strikes with brutal speed. No matter which character is chosen, the player who learns to block and counterattack usually wins. Being patient, knowing when to dash and when to strike is a key component to victory so button mashers be warned. Perhaps the biggest absence from the roster of features is a Practice mode. Since there is a strategy to each character, the player can only test the roster through trial and error in the main modes against the AI or against another player in versus mode.
One of the standout features is the pixelated graphics composed of the characters and backgrounds. While the game functions well as is, the pixelated presentation could have benefited from a little more detail. Each sprite is a faceless Atari 2600 blob but yet the game’s art is composed of these detailed comic book drawings. The two types of presentation values is rather jarring and stand out on the Switch’s screen for the wrong reasons. Shame the sprites were not at least something out of a 16-bit title. However, the winning/ending round results in the winning fighter disemboweling or gruesomely killing the opponent which isn’t Mortal Kombat fatality quality but still rather satisfying; trash will be talked if playing against your friends.
Honestly, it took me a few play-throughs before I understood what One Strike really was. Once I got the hang of it, it is easy to appreciate this simple game for its approachable design and basic presentation. It is casual fun that is only as serious as you want to take it and stands as a fighting game for non-fighting game fans. Like many other Qubic titles, this Switch eShop digital download only costs $5. Unlike other recent Qubic games, this one is actually worth the price of admission.
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