Back in 2015 Rusto games released Drunk Fu for Android and iOS – it quickly gained a cult following although struggled to hit the download numbers of other, more popular games. Despite this the game continued to be updated right up to 2017. Here we are a year on and Rusto games have rebuilt the game from the ground up for Xbox One. So is this still the fun little time waster that the mobile version manages to be, or is it a drunken stumble down the gutter?
From the outset Drunk-Fu: Wasted Masters reminds me of the excellent Kung Fu Chaos that graced the original Xbox years ago, and the premise of the Get Smashed! Mode here is exactly the same; knock the opponents out of the arena in any way you can. Playing as a drunken character is a little different however and I found myself struggling with this as the controls are purposely difficult with your drunken avatar stumbling in all directions while you try to wrestle them across the map. It is completely counter intuitive for this type of game and often leads to unnecessary deaths. While it makes sense for the premise, in action it is just a pain.
The melee combat again suffers the same issue. You have a light and heavy attack available, along with a jump and dodge. Throwing punches feels very drunken (as it should I guess), and that is hilarious to watch but it constantly feels like you are fighting the character on screen which leads to frustrating moments of mashing the button in the hope of scoring a hit. The dodging is just as imprecise and often leads to deaths that would otherwise be avoidable. The heavy attack that takes a second to charge is really the only move that has any sort of control – you line up and zip off across the map in a straight line, barrelling through any opponents or obstacles that get in the way.
Despite the issues with control there is a sense of fun to be had with Drunk-Fu. As you progress through a match and opponents take damage, your hits begin to have a larger impact and it isn’t long before characters are flying around the screen destroying everything on the map. It becomes a manic brawl as you knock each other about until one of you either makes a mistake or gets hit hard enough to go flying. Tables and chairs fly across the screen and it genuinely looks like a massively exaggerated bar room brawl.
The levels that are included have a nice variety to them; standard bars, diners in the sky, and even a helipad become the focus of a brawl. Each map has a pickup that gives you a weapon too and these have a significant increase to the damage you can inflict. Those that go for it will find it much easier to knock opponents out of the arena, but I do find this an odd design choice as the original allowed you to pick up almost anything as a weapon and so it feels like a bit of a step back in this respect.
There are a few modes on offer in Drunk-Fu: Wasted Masters and whilst the aforementioned Get Smashed! scores points based on knocking opponents out of the level, Get Swarmed! is a co-op friendly mode that sees you trying to survive increasingly difficult waves of drunken opponents. King of the Keg meanwhile is an objective based mode that tasks you with trying to control the area around the keg, whoever finishes the match with the most points wins. For what it’s worth all three modes are actually great fun to play and even more so with friends and even though the game supports both local and online play for up to 8 players, it’s the local that is most fun here, bringing back fond memories of couch matches where the banter comes thick and fast. 8 players is absolute insanity and you’ll often find yourself losing track of where you are on screen, but it won’t matter when you’re having so much fun, even if it all degrades in to a button mashing mess until one of you comes out on top.
The game offers a decent character customisation screen too, one that lets you pick everything from skin tone to the boots you wear. There’s a good variety of options here and watching a zombie trucker with a handlebar moustache fly across the screen is hilarious to watch. Graphically it is a big leap up from the mobile version and it’s clear that the game has been rebuilt completely as levels are more varied and much more colourful while texture work is also much improved. Xbox One X owners also get native 4K support adding a nice clean finish to the games aesthetic. The audio has also been revamped with some nice meaty sound effects that fit the game nicely.
There are a few issues though and these are most notably in regards the controls. This is an odd one as the game is designed this way but when playing alone it can begin to frustrate very quickly, particularly when stumbling in to unnecessary deaths. With friends the issue is altogether alleviated due to the hilarity that ensues, easily making you forget the frustration involved. It does also suffer from some pretty bad screen tearing and I have suffered a couple of crashes mid-match.
The online mode is also fairly pointless, if only because there just isn’t anyone playing. I found zero games through matchmaking and a mammoth one opponent when I hosted my own match. If playing online with friends is your thing then it makes sense to host, but the game could remove the matchmaking altogether.
Overall and there is some decent fun to be had with Drunk-Fu: Wasted Masters. On your own it is a great game for a quick five minute fix, although longer sessions can get frustrating thanks to the unusual control scheme. If you play with friends however then the game is transformed; matches degrade in to nothing more than hilarity even when playing the co-op modes and I’m hard pressed to remember a game in recent times that has given me more of a laugh than this has when enjoyed with company.
It is one well worth checking out if local multiplayer is your thing.