Review: Pulling No Punches - Channeling Anger against Denialism
08/16/22 0 comments
Pulling no Punches is a Brazilian game with good gameplay and focused on the political and social message that expresses a collective revolt against denialism.Edit Article
Repudiation1. act or effect of repudiating. 2. act of repelling; non-acceptance, rejection. There was a time when institutional repudiation notes used to generate some social repercussion. After all, they basically mean that a certain organization does not accept or reject a certain attitude, or decision, coming from another political, economic or social sphere. However, times have changed. In fact, we've reached an
age of anomaliesand these notes have lost whatever value they once had, basically becoming mere pompous and formal letters that signal nothing but a mix of disgust or revolt from a part of the society — It has become a mere visual impact with low practical potential, since they do not prevent the absurd from happening, much less prevent people from committing atrocities. And they don't prevent authorities, for example, from adopting denialism in the face of a global pandemic.
Pulling No Punchesis born.
Channeling your anger in a creative way
Beat 'em Upstyle game inspired by the classic arcade games of the 90s, where up to four players can team up to solve the problem of denialism of a fictional pandemic with their own fists, and it's available
in English and Brazilian Portugueseon
Itch.iofor US$10 and with relatively simple requirements: 6GB of RAM, 4GB of disk space and a dedicated GPU. Produced by
Braindead Broccoli, the game was created through crowdfunding between April and May 2021, which raised more than US$ 10,000 - guaranteeing all the goals set by the project, which promises to launch the game also on
Four characters with different play stylesThe game tells the story of a city ravaged by a deadly virus that has driven all citizens into social isolation. But, due to disinformation from a fanatical group, many began to ignore the dangers and even sabotage protection measures in favor of profit and propagating the lie of a false cure. Tired of dealing with mass-cult ignorance and disrespect for other people's lives, four young adults unite to fight denialism - with their own
punches. With up to four-players, each one can choose one of four available characters:
Lola— each with distinct abilities and gameplay styles that let the player decide how they prefer to enjoy the game and adds an extra layer of replayability in a single player mode. Laura is the character with the most balanced stats and doesn't specialize in any of them, making her the "safer" option for new players, while Nina has a higher reach with her robot companion, but they don't deal as much damage. Olga is the fastest of the four characters and has a better cadence for her attacks, but she also lacks a bit of damage and range, often forcing her to fight closer to her enemies than you'd like. Lola, as her own physical trait demonstrates, is totally focused on brute force in exchange for speed, becoming the slowest of the team, but the one that causes the most damage among the four. If that wasn't enough, each of the characters can, in each stage, find some torn books that, when completed, teach them new moves and attacks such as kicking, sweeping, dodging, rolling, among others that hone your combat skills and increase your options for dealing with the more than 30 different enemies spread across the game's four stages.
GameplayAs soon as you start the game, it asks which difficulty level you prefer to play at: on normal, you'll see more items being distributed around the levels, while the harder level makes this distribution practically sparse.
Made in BrazilBoth the protagonists and the enemies are well-designed, their movements are fluid and look completely natural, and although some of them get too caricatured when executing an attack, this correlates well with the game's proposal to bring as much of a Brazilian-stylized satirical dystopia as possible. This element is also seen in the design of each of the stages, rich in details and Brazilian easter eggs, ranging from the famous graffiti that exist in large cities of a prophetic year in which Jesus will return, to other famous memes such as Michael Douglas (which became popular after a song with the actor's name), and even something as simple as a poster on the wall alludes to some part of the Brazilian humor on the Internet. The soundtrack also carries strong roots in contemporary Brazilian culture by bringing some of the best known beats and rhythms today in an 8-Bit version. It's not the most elaborate thing in the world, but definitely fits as fun, and serves its purpose well in the game's atmosphere.
A game about responsibility, politics and anger
want you to be offended. Although this may alienate an audience with little interest in seeing local politics represented in the games, the studio also seems to make it clear that it doesn't care about meeting the wishes of these players and, honestly, it doesn't even seem to need to, since it communicates so well with their audience and still captures the attention of many people who just want a fun and relaxed game for cheap. The only thing that partially bothers me about Pulling No Punches is how often it feels like a 2000s New Metal album: it's all about anger, and it's only about anger. All of its language is made up of aggressive and pejorative terms in an extremely simplistic way, bringing little or no rationality to the "why are we punching these people" beyond the obvious answer "they are putting others at risk. So, they are despicable" — the game lacks reflection and communication that can actually move the player and bring a little more substance to the plot. The exception is the cutscene at the end of the journey, where the authors reflect that abnormal times won't magically disappear. Even when the greatest evil is defeated, the feeling of seeing a scorched earth remains, and it is still necessary to deal with many remnants and irreparable losses from the dark times. But, perhaps with a gradual reconstruction, it might be possible that one day we will see the sun rise on the horizon of what we used to know and call "normal" in our lives - a simple and clear message in the face of uncertain times.
Where to download the gameYou can download the game from this link here. It is available on
Itch.iofor $10 on August 16, 2022. There is also the free
Demoversion of the game, which can be found here.
Pros> Easily memorable gameplay. > Very well designed 2D environment with movements that looks incredibly natural. > Plenty of replayability as it has with four different characters to play and several challenges to fulfill. > A great marketing strategy that knows very well how to cater to its target audience's desires, giving them exactly what they promised - a way to channel their anger at a bad social and political situation through entertainment.
Cons> Attacks' timing fluctuates a lot from one character to another. > Minor bugs in the map pause menu make it difficult to transition between characters in single-player mode. > The plot feels like a 2000s New Metal album as it fills the players' collective feeling towards villains, but lacks any substance that goes beyond anger.
Pulling No Punchesis a 100% Brazilian game with good gameplay and a relevant political and social message that expresses a collective revolt from the pandemic times. It manages to bring the best of Beat 'em Up classics to our reality and offers a fun experience to play alone or with others.