With a Touch controller in each hand resembling each virtual fist, it’s no surprise to me why we’ve seen a number of boxing and punching games appear on the Quest already. Drunkn Bar Fight is another game that follows this trend, allowing you to throw some virtual punches at some, rather unexpecting, bar-room bystanders.
Laying eyes on the promotional screens of this game first had me chuckle to my inner self at the thought of causing a bar room ruckus, as I attempt the classic barroom brawls I’ve seen in many classic Hollywood films. Is it finally time to find out what it was like to be Patrick Swayze in the film Road House? Let’s find out…
On entering the game’s street-based menu I was soon walking into the first bar ahead of me. It was from here that my excitement was soon to be slapped in the face by a round-house kick of disappointment. There I was in a large, yet ghostly empty, bar consisting of two or three idling bystanders. On my left was a guy talking with a friend at the bar whilst the third, a nerdy-looking fella, was to my right side idly mumbling to himself.
Like most bar fights, to get the ‘party’ started you have to throw the first punch or generally annoy one of the few people in the bar enough to cause them to retaliate back at you. Now you have their attention, it’s game on!
It was from the here that I encountered my first issue with the game. After beating down a few people I had no idea what to do next or how to ‘win’ the game. Without any interface or visuals in the world to tell me how well I was doing, I just kept on going, hoping that each fight wasn’t endless and that it was time-based. Thankfully it was time-based, and I soon realised that you just had to survive for enough time until the police showed up. The end usually came up after the beefcake bouncers enter the bar. So there was ‘some’ indication of how you’re doing, but it really is guesswork most of the time.
It’s not all about just throwing punches in this game. You have a number of throwable objects littered around the bar, on tables and on the bar counter. Bottles and glasses can be picked up and smashed over heads, knuckle dusters can be worn to enhance the impact of your punches, you can light firecrackers, spray sent into peoples faces and wield or throw knives. There’s even walking frames, guitars and sticks, to pool cues and balls laying around to beat people with. You can also increase and decrease your height by picking up and drinking particular coloured bottles to change your height – like being in some kind of bar-based Alice in Wonderland.
Combat is kept fairly similar across each of the four areas you can fight in. The people you fight do have varying styles, some make long-reaching attacks, some dodge and have ways in which they may approach you. Fighting back is fairly easy, and there isn’t much skill to it, this is helped mostly because you can keep moving towards a person whilst punching them to get them down on the floor. From here you can keep hitting them down before they start crawling their way out of the bar, triggering the next person to enter. So over time, the combat can feel a little monotonous and you’re just waiting for the rounds to end and the police to turn up and finish the game.
Being the last-man-standing ends the game with a rather low-fi result screen and a prompt to exit the bar and move on to the next. It’s like some kind of bar crawl, with each ending in fisticuffs. There is four bar venus to fight in. There is an old ranch bar, a more modern town bar and a fancy rooftop bar, and finally, there is a side alley location outside the bar. Each venue has their own visual differences and clientele, including dudes and college preps, homeless bums, to bouncers and innocent-looking women (one was even dressed as a bride!), all of these people you have to fight, no question, or else face losing the game by being punched yourself.
If you do find yourself being punched by someone in the bar you enter a sequence where you get thrown into an outer-body-experience, as you see yourself fall and hit the bar floor. Here is where you can bend over your own passed-out body and physically pick your ragdoll-self up off the floor. Doing so gets you back into the fight until someone else pushes your lights out. It’s a nice retry mechanic if I’m honest, and it is probably the one positive thing I can say about this game.
Quite frankly, I am surprised to see this game on the Quest store. It’s level of visual polish, it’s subject matter, it’s onboarding, it’s lack of depth and replayability value are all questionable when you’re asked to pass money over for it. More so, it’s a question to Oculus than its developer.
I would have liked to have seen this game turned away by Oculus and called for more work to be done on it. For £10.99 on the Oculus Store, it’s a little on the pricey side for what you are actually getting, and after you’ve had your fill of each room, there isn’t much else to do other than retry again. It would be better priced at £4.99-7.99 and its developer should continue to use this revenue to enhance the game, is visuals, onboarding, UI/UX, improve the pickup controls, scaling difficulty and AI, and add some level of multiplayer to enhance this game’s retention.
Currently, this game feels like a work in progress than a finished published game. If you want a good workout though, this isn’t a bad game for that, but things do get boring very quickly. For me though, I’d rather dodge this one and spend my money on something better, elsewhere.