Drunken Fist or Drunken Boxing (in Chinese, zuì quán) is the name given to all Chinese martial arts styles that simulate the movements of a drunk person, focusing on feints and deception. Its roots trace back to Buddhist and Daoist religious communities. Still, due to the lack of historical sources, it isn’t easy to pinpoint the time or place of Its origin. You may have already seen it in movies, games, or animes. The most emblematic case that comes into my mind is Rock Lee fighting against Kimimaro on the anime Naruto (episode 123, if you are curious about it 😉). Now in 2021, the Russian indie developer DEKLAZON and the publisher Eastasiasoft Limited bring their take on these millennial techniques with Drunken Fist, a Totally Accurate Beat ’em Up! But how accurate is it really?
First of all, forgo about all the Chinese shanenigans. Playing as a drunk hobo (or what looks like one) staggering throughout the streets, you will fight bullies, gangsters, hipsters, and other dangerous folks on his way home. Why are they fighting? I have no clue. But as soon as they see you come close to them, they won’t rest until you’re laying on the ground – what won’t take long, since keeping your hero standing is not an easy task. And so is controlling him. The physics of the game makes it almost impossible to walk him into a straight line, like a real person under the effect of alcohol. And for representing it so accurately, I congratulate the developer of the game. But what starts with comical turns into a nightmare in no time. Your hero and his enemies behave like ragdolls. Still, the collision detection between them is one of the worst I’ve ever experienced. You will see punches and kicks, hands and feet going through bodies as if they weren’t there. And I have the impression that this was the developer’s intention. To make things even more frustrating, the camera is never in the right angle and is terrible to maneuver – like if it was drunk as well. And again, I believe that was the plan.
Talking about punches and kicks, if you ask me, I’d say your hero is a Drunken Fist master! Using his bare fists, he can use combos, flying kicks, and uppercuts to launch enemies in the air! But the combat pace is too slow and frustrating that it pushes away all the fun in it. Our hero suffers from some bladder problem and cannot hold his pee for long – what comes in handy (no pun intended) to be used against your enemies. No, you won’t pee on them – but on the floor, making them slip on it. Yeah, disgusting, but useful. You must always keep your hero in good shape, paying attention to his life meter and his alcohol meter. To replenish his health, you can count on hamburgers lying around on the floor. The same goes for your drunkenness, which can be filled by booze found scattered in stages. Just note that if your liquor meter reaches zero, he starts losing health. Apparently, the source of the power of our inebriated friend is the alcohol.
The visuals of the game are colorful and simple. Characters and scenario’s level of details is minimal, with an inconvenient clipping all over the place. Character models are made on a minimalist polygon art style, which is very charming. But thanks to their bodies behaving in strange ways (and the collision detection problems mentioned earlier), this charm goes down the drain. The sound is just ok – with a single track playing on repeat on and on and on.
Drunken Fist was an odd experience. The game tries to be comical but ends up being just disappointing with broken mechanics and uninteresting gameplay. Like when your friend tells you a joke, and he’s the only one laughing about it. Achievement hunters and players searching for a boost in their Gamerscore will appreciate it – mainly because you can get your precious 1000G in less than an hour. But for the vast majority of players, this is a title you better skip.
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.