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Punching Games I've Played

Punching games are categorized by a primary gameplay loop of combat where pressing a button corresponds to throwing a punch or swinging a sword. Most action games fall into this category. I've played 60 games in this genre so far.

You can also go back to all genres.

poster for Hi-Fi Rush

Hi-Fi Rush

Stellar writing, gameplay, animation, and of course, music. Just the complete package. Doesn't overstay its welcome, but uses its time well. I love the attention to detail and amount of care put into this game.

poster for God of War Ragnarök

God of War Ragnarök

Cinematically superb. Good characters and storytelling. Combat felt great and the weapons were distinct and fun. Biggest downside was the bloat- they could drop half the sidequests and 3/4 of the equipement and not lose a thing. There was more enemy diversity this time around and the abilities were more varied. Definitely a worthy successor.

poster for Death's Door

Death's Door

Very atmospheric. Decent puzzles, pretty tight combat, great soundtrack, nice writing. Cool level design too! I haven't played any soulsbourne games, but this seems like a fitting version of a "lite" one. Very fun! I didn't feel compelled to go explore and get the bonus ending, but it was neat that that sort of thing existed.

poster for The Pathless

The Pathless

Very neat game. Can't die, so you just explore, solve puzzles, and do boss fights. Felt like a disitllation of BoTW. It wasn't perfect (scripted monster attacks didn't add much), there wasn't too much incentive to explore), but the world was cool and the music was great. Interesting spin on an open world.

poster for Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Great level design and branching narrative. Decent, if repeticious gameplay. Cool worldbuilding and story. Great many-sided approach to objectives (stealthy, not, etc). Didn't love the bosses, but I was into the game as a whole.

poster for Ape Out

Ape Out

Audiovisually superb. Gameplay was decent, if a little repetitive. Didn't always seem totally fair. But, I liked how it expanded on the stylistic approach and had some enemy variety. Pretty short, pretty sweet. Died 83 times total, 56 of which were on the last world. Not a great diffulcuty ramp, all told.

poster for Katana ZERO

Katana ZERO

Really great style, presentation, and writing. Story is need, plus a good dialogue system for a little bit of choice. Great evolution of the Hotline Miami gameplay formula. Tight controls, some decent environment variety.

poster for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Combat was ok. Inventory seemed needlessly complex with little reward. Writing was great. They did a good job making decisions and dialogue options affect the story. Side quests were largely interesting and engaging. Voice acting was good. Gear was mostly unsatisfying. Mostly junk which became money which I never really needed. Compelling Econ is apprently very tough to get right on these big open world games. I also looted basically everything I saw and it mostly never mattered. I can't not though, just in case I need it later (aka the cable box problem). PS4 load times were frequent and lengthy. Basically all menu operations were laggy, but you get used to it. It also crashed more than any other PS4 game I'd played. Finished main story at Level 35. Got the "Ciri becomes a Witcher" ending. Didn't do any DLC quests. (though will come back to them after a healthy break)

poster for Furi

Furi

Great art style. Punishing yet rewarding. Honestly basically a rhythm game. Cool way to tell a story.

poster for CrossCode

CrossCode

Really fun game. Great art and quests. Some frustrating platforming where perspective was tough. Mostly good bosses. Great puzzles. Good writing. Tons of content. Really quite impressive.

poster for God of War

God of War

Wow, what a game. Amazing storytelling, great combat, pretty good collectables. Biggest harp would be the map, which was pretty useless for an open world game. Great character building and narrative control. Deserves the accolades it got for sure.

poster for Stranger Things: The Game

Stranger Things: The Game

It’s pretty simple, but it’s straightforward and fun to play. Puzzles are pretty good and music/animation is very charming. Especially for free, this is pretty awesome.

poster for Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix

The game is phenominal. Seriously. The gameplay is a blast (even better than BBS, but it's close) and the art/design is amazing. Fun all the way through. Highlights are the drive forms, Tron World, and the art in Timeless River. KH3 has big boots to fill. Got right up to the final boss in 27 hours or so. Wanted to do extra leveling, boss fights, and side quests. Ended up finding most of everything. Didn't do a lot of optional bosses, but am probably strong enough at this point!

poster for Kingdom Hearts Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix

Really fun. Good jumping off point for the series. Some of the puzzles are a little heavy on the wandering around, but the combat is fun and there’s a lot to collect. Some great levels. I don’t feel compelled to go and collect everything now, having just finished the game. Not unreasonable to come back later though, maybe.

poster for Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix

Originally played on PSP. Some (most) of the levels feel pretty empty (just a few rooms each), but the combat and progression are awesome. Cool story, great tie-ins to the series. Notes as I went Bad: bland environments. Small, only a few sections. Lots of hallways and clearing. Feels like you can always find the beats, chests, and mobs. There's no exploration because it's just a big empty room. Wonderland and agrabah have nooks and crannies. Bosses in bbs are big unversed in a room (until you hit named characters, which are great fights). Fight with mickey in badlands Cool: ven sleeping beauty maze. Aqua jumping on tinkerbell orbs

poster for NEO: The World Ends with You

NEO: The World Ends with You

Definitely an interesting game. Ultimately, the battle, equipment, and leveling system are awesome. They still feel fresh and they solve a lot of problems that RPGs have. Unfortunately, the story and characters leave much to be desired. Most of the dialogue is just _bad_. Maybe I'm just nostalgic for the first game, or I was a dumb teen when I played it, but this is rough today. Also, the story pacing is dreadful. For a game that doesn't have random encounters, it sure doesn't let you walk 15 feet without a cutscene and a forced battle. Honestly I think this is a place where the postgame will really shine, since I can do exactly what I want, when I want to do it. Also, the story doesn't really stand on its own because it's so tied to the first one. Fun enough (and I stuck with it), but definitely flawed.

poster for Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles

Really interesting game. Vibe was great. Story was good, but complex. Combat was weak and repetitive, but mostly flowed well and didn't get in the way. The world was great, huge and engaging to explore. Lots of filler sidequests, but some actual good ones hidden in there. Certainly lots to do. The level ups weren't very satisfying and I didn't engage with much of the loot and gem crafting, which was a big point of the game. Definitely polarizing between what it did great and poorly. But, I found myself coming back to it and that's certainly worth something.

poster for Astral Chain

Astral Chain

The combat was slick and the concept was cool. Story was fine, but the world and the investigations were neat change of pace. The combat got a _little_ samey after a while, but I enjoyed playing and the different legions felt interesting and distinct. The skill trees were fine wish there was more there. Pretty cool world to explore. I liked the two-brain-ness of the combat, but it definitely lead to some frustrating camera moments.

poster for Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

Cute, stylized, a little silly. Very simple game, but charming in its own way. Short and sweet, with a little bit of gameplay and a little bit of puzzles. Story is ok too!

poster for Tunic

Tunic

What it aimed to do, it did very well. There's a super-explorable overworld, great animation, superb sense of wonder and adventure. Unfortunately, some of the other systems don't support that well. The combat is fine, if basic. The targeting is frustrating and inconsistent. The bosses are pretty challenging for no real reason and don't mesh well with the rest of the game. There's a lot to like here, though!

poster for UNSIGHTED

UNSIGHTED

Neat concept, but with shortcomings. I liked the timer system more than I expected, but it felt sort of shallow and repetitive. Its dealing with loss angle was interesting (and the futility of extending that), but none of the characters quite developed enough to feel interesting. Exploration was pretty good, but had the same problem crosscode did where platforming in isomorphic maps was tricky. Combat was good, as was music. --- * Regular difficulty * 83/143 chests * 88.69% map completion * 17 deaths

poster for God of War III

God of War III

Combat felt great, story was decent (except for a weird ending message) and the other weapons were fine. Puzzles were neat, but not hard. Gore was... appropreately gory.

poster for Tales of Vesperia

Tales of Vesperia

Gameplay was great, story was meh. Sheer amount of content was remarkable. Decent sidequests. Definitely a bit of a slog and could have cut the third act. But, the game itself was fun to play. Felt a lot like ToS in a lot of ways, but with worse characters. They were pretty cheesy. Dungeons were ok, as was the overworld. I think the thing that saves it is the complexity of the battle system, which is _incredibly_ customizable. Maybe too much so, but there is a lot of depth. I raced it towards the end, but I could see savoring this for longer (or even re-playing it). There's a lot of ground to cover. The skill and weapon system is pretty good, and the UI for it is decent.

poster for Children of Morta

Children of Morta

Great visuals and presentation. Story was well narrated, if not a little dense. Environments had good variation. Progression was ok. Individual runs weren't always varied enough to make the repetition worth it. There was a lot of repeated pickups. Good character variation though. Side quests weren't very rewarding, and there wer only about 10-20 enemy types. Controls also didn't feel quite tight enough. So, overall pretty good. It's still in active development too, so they have a chance to improve this stuff.

poster for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Stylistically very cool. Very cinematic, like a disney ride. Combat is a little clunky, but wielding a lightsaber is neat. Levels are cool and dense, but annoying to re-trace. Music and sound design is cool. Force powers are decent, even if their puzzles are a bit simplistic.

poster for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

What an interesting game. Ok, so first off the story was weak. Some cute quests and characters, but largely forgettable. The inventory and weapon durability was a total frustration point throughout. The map and world were awesome, very extensive and well designed. The collectibles were fine. Cute to find koroks everywhere, but all the picture taking just felt like busywork. I don't want to find every single sword, throw it on the ground, and take a picture. The dungeons were fine. Cool sense of scale, but puzzles were samey and pretty easy. Same for shrines. Combat in the world was pretty good and dynamic. There's a lot of bits there for sure. Quests were ok, but were also very basic. Flying was _very_ fun. Did a lot right, but had a number of very frustrating bits.

poster for Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV

Woof. Ok. So, the game is gorgeous and has a lot of charm. Side quests are bad (lots of looking for a glowing dot on the ground) and samey. Main story is decent, if not muddled. They put a lot of important storytelling in the DLC. Combat actually feels pretty good once you get in the rhythm. For an open world game, it's locks you into a lot of stuff. Driving the car around is a lot of dead time, but sort of pleasant in a way. Didn't let me connect with the world much though. Surprisingly few equipment options and magic felt too strong and not strategic enough (despite options). Skill tree didn't feel impactful. Character development was eventually good. There were some cool locations shown briefly, especially later in the game. Summons looked cool but the systems were bad. Lots of side characters I didn't care about. Weird stealth sections. Big empty map with nice scenery, but not a ton to do (low density, there are dungeons scattered about). All that said, I did play the whole thing. I kept wanting to see what would happen next. Surprisingly emotional end. Good villain. It ended up being sort of inexplicably enjoyable despite having no right being so. The immersion was at some points great and at some points bad, which was extra jarring because of how good it is sometimes (car dialogue, picture comments, etc).

poster for Rogue Galaxy

Rogue Galaxy

A little dated, but dies a lot of things well. Story is expansive and has genuinely touching moments (balanced with a lot of very cheesy cliched ones). There's no load screens in worlds, which imparts a very fluid pace. Ability and item crafting is pretty fun, albeit on the simplistic side. There's lots of side things to do. There are some frustrating gameplay choices, especially enemies you have to jump to hit and who have shields. This really highlights some of the clunkiness in the combat. Overall, it hits in some important ways and is overall pretty fun.

poster for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Very polished for a mobile platform, but the controls are just a little too imprecise to really play it well. Still, I was overall impressed at the breadth of stuff to do on such a tiny device!

poster for The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Pretty fun! Generally simple puzzles. World was pretty fun to explore, but not terribly deep. Items were fine, honestly a pretty mixed bag. Decent character and story. The open ended was grew on me. The flat wall mechanic was used consistently well and I had to keep remembering to use it. My first Zelda game in a while and it was pretty good!

poster for Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III

Hoo boy. Lots to talk about here. I think the big takeaways are that it was fun, everything (spells, environments, etc) was gorgeous. Worlds were huge and great to explore. Actual KH story was pretty good once they got to it. Too many mini games. Disney story was fine. Gummi ships were pretty fun. Lost the cool scripted levels from kh2, but exploring was fun. Pirates was amazing, San Fransokyo was disappointing. Difficulty was too easy for sure. I was on normal and it's definitely the easiest game in the series. None of the bosses required much strategy. Attractions were too strong and too often, without any drawback. Definitely a good game, but KH2 is the gold standard. --- Finished main story on 2019-02-13 w/ 29:33 clock.

poster for Kingdom Hearts: 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage

Kingdom Hearts: 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage

It's a tech demo, but it's fun. Feels pretty smooth, rooms are big. Spells feel powerful.

poster for Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir

Action and art were great. Story was pretty good, if not convoluted. My biggest complaint was that there was a lot of repetition - the same bosses and levels were used across stories. Definitely felt like a grind at points. There were a lot of improvements and streamlines from the ps2 version, so that great.

poster for Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories

Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories

Pretty fun. Card system was neat, but definitely had flaws. Good story, good introduction to organization characters

poster for Trials of Mana

Trials of Mana

This is a very faithful remake of a classic 2D game I've never played. Though the graphics are nice, the game suffers from an aged simplicity. Not that every game needs to have all the bells and whistles of a modern RPG, but this one felt a little _too_ stripped down. I liked that gear choices were straightforward and abilities were interesting enough. But, the game got off to an _incredibly_ slow start - the first 5 hours, depending on your character selection, you have no abilities at all; just light attack and heavy attack. It's great if you want to mindlessly wander around and whack things, but left something to be desired. The game opens up after the first class change and brings a little more strategic depth. Mostly it was just fun to turn my brain off during a personally busy month, but not something that'll stick with me.

poster for Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake

There's a lot going on here. I can see that it's built on the bones of a great game, but I feel like a lot of that was lost in the remake. There are very lucid sections where everything is great, but they're few and far between with abysmal pacing. The is cool but doesn't make a ton of sense (having limited knowledge of the original). Combat is fun and customizing ability loadouts is good. It just sort of felt all over the place. Graphics and music were top tier though!

poster for Maneater

Maneater

Neat idea, but gameplay feels repetitive and fetch-questy. Neat way to do a very 3D experience though, and I liked the shark week crib.

poster for ICEY

ICEY

Interesting idea but felt thin. Middling action game. Not enough enemy variety. Basically no story, despite sort of hinting at one? Some cool exploration and alternative endings, but you always had to get on track.

poster for Torchlight II

Torchlight II

It was fun enough, but I didn't feel like I had a lot of interesting choices to make. There were maybe _too_ many skills and stuff? Also, lots of bum armor. Sort of played by the seat of my pants, so I didn't feel the need to dig in much. Decent enough, but there are better options

poster for Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4

Great art style and music. Cutscenes felt surprisingly lifeless given how great the rest of the art was. Punches and hits felt substantive and powerful, so that's cool. Interesting mechanic where specials take health that you have to fight back for. But, its direct inspiration for old arcada games is ultimately why I didn't like it. It's frustrating to miss with attacks from point blank so often - the "3D" perspective is really hard to be accurate with. Bosses were fine, but ultimately gameplay was frustrating enough that I didn't finish after losing to the final boss twice. Just couldn't quite be bothered. Nice environments, though!

poster for Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Started playing this and honestly it's too creepy for me to enjoy it. Very spooky vibe, but not in a way I found compelling. I'm sure there's a lot more there, I just don't want to spend time seeing it.

poster for NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata

Good visuals and great audio. Story was fine. Combat was ok, but repetitive. Only a few types of enemies. Skill system was a highlight. Lots of backtracking and replaying the same few areas. Repeated campaign and quests which weren't even great the first time around. Liked the meta parts of it, even if they weren't well explained. I think overall, it was more tedious than fun. Had nice parts though.

poster for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

This had a lot of potential and mostly failed to realize it. There's a lot of training Pokémon, but you don't keep most of the abilities you learn on them, so it feels like starting from scratch a lot (and wasted time). The levels are fairly empty like BBS, but flowmotion being a thing sort of helps justify that since you need space to zoom. They were also huge, which was impressive for originally being a 3DS game. They did a good job of not making the levels feel as repetitive as BBS, despite sharing maps. That said, Ven and co. felt fairly distinct, while Sora and Riku played like copies of each other (and most of the same abilities). The enemies were actiallly fairly well designed, but the bosses were mostly boring and/or frustrating. Combat also didn't feel like it had a lot going on. I was impressed by how many new worlds and characters were in this. It's also got good cutscenes and a lot of important story elements. Unfortunately, the rest of the game end up being more frustrated than fun.

poster for Tokyo Jungle

Tokyo Jungle

Neat concept, a few cool levels, but frustrating stealth segments and requirement to play survival to access the story ruined the experience.

poster for Tron: Evolution

Tron: Evolution

good art and music, mediocre gameplay. brawler, but without some of the polish of similar games.

poster for Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Very charming, had a lot going for it. Ultimately felt like a lot of cool ideas stacked together that led to a dissatisfying package. Difficulty was sporadic, spells were numerous but mostly useless, as combat rose in complexity it got frustrating, and micromanaging of familiars got out of hand quickly.

poster for Dust: An Elysian Tail

Dust: An Elysian Tail

Got right to the end, but the need to grind to progress turned me off. Pretty fun, impressive for one person's work.

poster for Apotheon

Apotheon

Neat game, great art, gameplay got in the way of enjoying it, particularly the combat.

poster for Brütal Legend

Brütal Legend

Great idea, good art direction, but got weirdly hard and turned a weird direction part way through.