I don’t like violence in real life, I know that sounds cliché and obvious but I think its something that a gamer in this current climate of “Games are the route of all real world violence” should put forward. That being said, I enjoy a violent game. The visceral escapism of beating someone up or performing horrific acts with a machete is liberating for someone as middle class and repressed as myself. Sometimes though originality in presentation of violence is more interesting than 12 gallons of pixel blood. Step forward Buddha Finger.
Buddha Finger is a game that I knew of vaguely when it was released a while back but never really knew enough about to take the plunge. Turns out I was a grade A prime piece of numpty for not trying out this little bit of joy sooner. I often heard kids on my playground growing up saying their hands were registered as lethal weapons, obviously this was followed by “My dad’s bigger than your dad”, often this wasn’t the case as my dad was a somewhat overweight gent. Buddha Finger makes you feel like a kid again, wanting to run around screaming how you can take down a hundred men and women with just your fingers
The story is as convoluted and convenient as 1970’s kung-fu flicks that I feel that this game owes a lot to. The basics seem to involve you as a novice nobody who has a twin brother that is awesome at murder, though you know, the good kind. You get trained by his old sensei and travel around the world to try to save your brother from the clutches of an evil gang.
Gameplay wise this game borrows heavily from rhythm games like Elite Beat Agents. Buddha Finger however isn’t as tied to the music as EBA, it’s more about reaction time rather than listening for the base line. During each fight you are presented with an enemy with a series of circle with numbers on them. You as the owner of deadly fingers must tap these numbers in order or face a penalty/ loss of a life. Later in the game more complicated buttons are presented, ones where you have to draw a line between the icons or spin a wheel around the button. At one point I was given the task of tapping multiple buttons at once, this was hard because I was at the time lying in my bed and supporting my iPad with one hand and tapping the other, I also managed to annoy my girlfriend who was trying to sleep next to me with my repeated tapping as a lullaby.
The Buttons are well designed and clear, A lot of effort seems to have gone into the UI design. The process of having multiple fights per level one after another is where the game provides stressful fun. And that’s the crux of why I recommend this game, it’s frantic stressful fun, like a twisted version of Whack-a-mole. You hectically tap the numbers in what you think is the right order “Don’t be an idiot Ruaidhri, 6 comes after 5 not 8! Duh Brain!”.
Music in the game is chipper and energetic, this is exactly what is required. You need to get your pulse going and blood rate up to be able to hit the numbers in the time limit on the later levels.
The game falls in a couple of places, mainly the “cut-scenes”. It seems a shame to attack the game for these fun little inconsequential moments but the rest of the experience feels polished but this area is lacking. The main problem is the design, the characters in the fights and menu system design all work great; but during the story moments the game it has what looks to be a Times New Roman font and a style that works well in the background of the fights but when on the screen alone it falters. All that being said it does seem intentional, the game is going for that lo-fi almost art house style. I am conflicted. As a reviewer I should know my view and stand by it but this game has split my opinion. For the bravery and style I say kudos to Lady Shotgun Games, but at the same time this is a game that is charging money and lots of gamers on the App store aren’t going to appreciate lo-fi as much as me.
At 69p this game is worth a punt. For a pick up and play game you can’t go wrong. Though games like this do exist, not many good ones do appear on the App Store. It’s fun and frantic, though it is let down in areas like its design choice and font for story scenes the writing is strong and interesting enough to justify some of the locales for fights. On the whole Lady Shotgun Games has produced a solid and entertaining first game that is commendable in its style and fun to play. Just remember to use your new super strong Buddha Fingers for good rather than evil.
+Fun finger action
+Pick up and play simplicity
+Fun design and great UI
-Cut-scenes are lacking in polish
+Soundtrack keeps you in rhythm without stressing