One Strike is a 2D game developed by Retro Reactor that was released on November 3rd, 2017. It’s an arcade fighter with few inputs: attack, dodge, defend. However, this compliments the one strike kill mechanics for the better. If you’re looking for a complex fighter, this isn’t it — it’s all about precise timing and reflexes. However, you can hone those skills with this game and translate it to other fighters you frequently play.
Despite this being a 2D fighter with a minimalistic aesthetic, it’s by no means ugly. The backdrops are simple, yet stunning. Whether you’re fighting in front of the mountains, on a bridge, or outside a dojo, running through the arcade mode is like a digital trip to Japan. The character designs for the selection screen are reminiscent of the photorealistic fighters you would see on arcade cabinets for Street Fighter and other similar titles.
An equally significant aspect of the game is the music. The tracks were good and got me pumped up for each fight; at least the first twenty times I heard them. The biggest shortcoming here is that there are only two songs that play during battle and after hearing them so many times I found myself muting the audio and playing my own music to go along with it. Even the best songs in the world can be eroded into mediocrity once you’ve listened to it on repeat for hours on end. Don’t come into this expecting a diverse arcade album that you’re going to be crawling back for more of.
On the other hand, I had fun with the small, yet charming, 6-man roster. Even though they all have one attack, some characters incorporated strikes in their dodges and defense which was a welcomed change of pace. The characters aren’t memorable and have no interesting backstories to build them up, but they’re mechanically sound for what the game is trying to accomplish.
In spite of the lack of story, the arcade mode was a blast. My only complaint is having too many lives which only served to fill in the lack of content and lengthen playtime. The Only Life mode is the built-in solution to the drawn-out arcade mode, it functions similarly but, as the name entails, you have one life.
Team Mode was the best single-player mode in the game. You pick three characters and proceed to conquer Japan with your selected team with one life for each character. Tournament mode is just like The One Life, but with brackets.
Local multiplayer was the real crowd-pleaser with my friends since it’s an easy game to pick up and play. In multiplayer, everyone is pretty much on equal footing so even a very competitive player can be beaten by their friends who don’t play anything but platformers.
In short, One Strike is a unique retro fighter that can be a ton of fun, but it definitely isn’t the best thing since hotcakes. It’s a wonderful library addition for playing games locally with friends and can take you back to the feeling of walking into an arcade with quarters jingling in your pockets.