Nostalgia makes for good business. We’ve got a natural inclination toward entertainment from simpler, happier times, after all. If a marketer can push that button, you better believe they’re going to hammer on it as hard as they can. That doesn’t mean that every attempt at nostalgia’s going to work out, though, as for every Cave Story that feels just like the games you loved, there’s ten no-name indie pixel platformers that feels just like the aftermath of a bad plate of sushi.
Fly Punch Boom! would very much like to sell you on nostalgia – it’s all about the classic anime battles you loved as a kid. Y’know, punching enemies through mountains, smashing through entire cities, intense power-up scenes followed by world-ending super attacks, that kind of thing. This isn’t a licensed game, of course, so don’t expect to see any Saiyans here, but it’s clear what the inspiration was. Rather than Goku and co., you’ve got a goofy cast of characters ranging from a snake that devours its opponents to an Elvis-impersonating bird. It’s nuts, but it works.
As for what exactly you’re doing, well…it’s anime combat. Power up and go slam into your opponent at top speed! Once you make contact, though, Fly Punch Boom! has more in common with Rock-Paper-Scissors than FighterZ. Each player can choose to attack, dodge or throw, with attacks beating throws, throws beating dodges and dodges beating attacks. The player with the upper hand gets to send their opponent flying (or counterattack with the same result) and, ideally, the poor sap on the receiving end will sail into one of the many deathtraps surrounding each stage. If they fail a timed button press, they’re toast – and that’s on top of potential death from running out of life.
This is all pretty wild stuff, but it’s a fair amount more cerebral than you’d think. You’ll have the best time playing Fly Punch Boom! with people you know, since that’ll give you an idea about the kind of actions they’ll prefer to use. On top of this, there’s power-ups to collect, super moves to use ranging from mega-speed to shooting annoying projectiles everywhere, and no shortage of new deathtraps to try. On the other hand, you’ll have the worst time trying to play it alone; there’s a single-player option with cute unlockables and all, but it’s definitely not all that fulfilling compared to yelling at each other over Discord.
Fly Punch Boom! is a great time for players who appreciate the style it’s going for and who have friends they can enlist for battles. It’s also got a pretty neat idea in allowing players with the demo and full game to play together, ensuring that enlisting those friends is going to be pretty easy. It definitely merits a look – especially since, with workshop support, it’s only a matter of time until you can play as Goku…