Developer & Publisher: Gamuzumi
Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Reviewed For: Nintendo Switch
There are times when satire and homages can blend into something really joyous and fantastic. Games like Turnip Boy Commits Tax Fraud are clearly so over-the-top in parody and ideas that they translate into fun times top to bottom. But sometimes parody is lazy and just an excuse to not fully deliver on one concept in favor of playing it off like a joke. In the case of Fingun, I’m sorry to say that the winks and nods overshadow the complete lack of gameplay.
The idea isn’t a bad one: the world has been invaded by erotic anime and game characters, and the nations of the world are powerless to stop them. Somehow, the only remaining weapon that is effective is the old finger gun, where you use your index finger to pretend your hand is a pistol. Playing as a disembodied appendage, you have to blast your way through fifteen different bosses, each with different “sexy” weak points, until you successfully save the world and then you can celebrate with a glass of gamer girl bath water. Front to back, you can probably get through this game in under an hour, depending on your patience and also how long your good taste can keep you in check.
A horizontal boss-only shmup, Fingun has two basic buttons: shoot and flip. Sometimes the boss might come at you from the other side of the screen, so you flip. You move around to avoid collision and bullet damage, and you shoot until the baddie falls down. Since we already used the words erotic and sexy in this review (and we’re less than 100 words in), you can bet that there’s a strip element to everything. Each boss will gradually change their undergarments (or lose innocuous pieces of clothing entirely) until you win. Successfully destroying one stage of the boss will net you powerups that involve getting mini ships and shields, which are both pretty useful in getting to the end. In fact, I would argue that the whole game hinges on starting at the very beginning and rushing towards the end. The momentum is very important, and being able to build up from Momo Miyazaki all the way to Manscape is essential.
On the plus side, Fingun is an inexpensive title that has some charm to it. The music is poppy and fun, and it gets you bopping along as you blast your way through each and every character, some of whom seem vaguely familiar if you’re aware of game and internet personalities. The bosses themselves are mostly well designed, though the focus on trying to toe the line of lewd shock while also not pissing off Nintendo is very clear. The HD gallery that unlocks has both pixel and anime art photos, so if you’re really intent on seeing nipples they’re right there. I guess that’s saying something: Gamuzumi and Pixelteriyaki seem to know their audience, and they’re playing right into it for them. If you’re into seeing boobies while doing a mediocre shooting game, then this is for you.
But as a shooter, I found Fingun to be disappointing. Everything felt too sluggish to really be challenging in a way that I wanted. You move a bit slowly around the screen, and the bosses are lethargic in turn. When characters popped up randomly or moved across the screen, it was a minimal effort to dodge around them. Sometimes I had to learn to identify certain attacks, but that almost never resulted in more than almost getting hit, not even necessarily getting hit. The bullet density was also too light for my taste, resulting in my ship being very piddly in terms of fighting and the bosses feeling almost disconnected from the battle. Plus, as stated before, buffing up from the very first boss resulted in the eighth or tenth boss being an utter cakewalk. The shields deflect anything that isn’t direct collision damage, and your miniships can lay down hell in no time flat.
I would have liked to see more of the world of Fingun as well. Just jumping straight from boss to boss left me disappointed and flat. It would have made my life if we did a bit of a leadup in which we could buzz through a world, shooting down floating cherubs or disembodied like buttons or something like that. I know this wouldn’t be the first game to do that, but the pixel art style here was decent, and it was very limited by keeping us focused only on bosses. Adding more stage presence would have increased the game time and also made it feel more like a game instead of an arcade rush that I didn’t earn.
I wish I had more to say about Fingun, but that’s the final and most important issue: it’s so short. You fight bosses, you save the world, you’re done. Go back and see if you can complete the eight challenges, fight your favorite bosses again, ogle the gallery and then probably never play this again. It’s certainly a game, but it’s not much of one, and I don’t think it’s worth your time unless you’re specifically hard up for Nintendo handheld nudity. If that’s the case, go nuts: it’s only five bucks and your friends won’t judge you too harshly.