If you’ve spent any amount of time browsing through the titles on the Xbox Live Indie Games store, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the work of Jonathan and David Flook, better known as Silver Dollar Games. Essentially, they’re a couple of brothers just having some fun and making some really silly games. The subjects of their games have included flatulence, telemarketers, pickup lines, animal sounds, fortune cookies, whiny children and trying to keep a cat away from your food. Oh, and cooties.
Aside from a few guidelines concerning things like sex and violence, Microsoft’s Indie Games program allows pretty much anyone to create and sell any sort of game that they can imagine. But like a stuffy socialite in a Three Stooges short, some people just don’t like to see others being silly and having fun. In certain circles of the Internet, Silver Dollar Games is seen as an example of what’s wrong with Microsoft’s Xbox Live Indie Games program. Some see the work of Silver Dollar as making a mockery of the Indie Games channel and point to them as an example of what can happen when you give the inmates the keys to the asylum.
But it’s not as if Silver Dollar Games isn’t capable of greatness when they decide to get serious. Between some of their goofier titles, David and Jonathan have created what they refer to as their passion projects. The latest of these, One Finger Death Punch, had the honor of winning the grand prize in Microsoft’s 2012 Dream Build Play competition.
One Finger Death Punch has gameplay qualities often associated with rhythm-action games, but the music isn’t really part of the gameplay here. Your character simply stands in the center of the screen, and enemies walk towards you from the left and right. When they’re close enough, you attack them using either the left or right attack buttons, and that’s pretty much it. When you’re not attacking, you can’t even move.
It’s a very simple idea, but the amount of variations on this basic theme will keep you playing for hours. The game is excellent about introducing new features, and the amount of content is surprising for a title that only costs a dollar. It also presents just the right amount of difficulty, where the later obstacles seem like they’ll always be beyond your abilities, right up until the time that you practice enough to prove yourself wrong. It’s challenging, rewarding, and a lot of fun. In fact, even after finishing the game, I still find myself coming back to tackle an unexplored section of the map, or test my skill with the endless survival mode.
It was One Finger Death Punch that prompted me to reach out to Silver Dollar Games for an interview, and I’m happy to say that Jonathan Flook was kind enough to accept our offer.