Drunkn Bar Fight | Review 59

Drunkn Bar Fight | Review

Drunkn Bar Fight | Review 63
Release Date
Sep. 2019
Developer
The Munky
Style
Action, Fighting
Locomotion
Free Locomotion / Room Scale
Length
1 Hour / YMMV
Price
$14.99
Our Score
2.5

The Hollywood Bar Fight

Bar fights are a staple in Hollywood movies, and for a good reason – they can be a lot of fun. They’re also an excellent opportunity to make viewers realize just how tough a character is, and, more importantly, his values. In Second Hand Lions, Robert Duvall, an old man, is bullied by some younger bar patrons. Before he proceeds to beat them up, he says “I’m Hub McCann. I’ve fought in two World Wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I’ve seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I’ve won and lost a dozen fortunes, KILLED MANY MEN, and loved only one woman with a passion a FLEA like you could never begin to understand. That’s who I am.”

Bar fights make for great movie scenes when they’re placed into a context that gives value to the conflicts. Without context, a bar fight is just a meaningless montage of violence.

Remember The Complaints About GTA?

When the non-gaming audience found out what gamers could do in GTA, the game became (at least for a while) pretty controversial. Parents didn’t want their kids playing a game that allowed gamers to have sex with a prostitute, murder her, then steal her money. I didn’t mind because, well – if you did that, it was entirely your choice. It wasn’t something the game required you to do. GTA gave us a systemic open world, and we were free to use or abuse it.

But whereas GTA gave you an expansive world rendered with state-of-the-art technology, and remains, to this day, a game that you can play over and over again, Drunkn Bar Fight feels cheap. The greatest crime Drunkn Bar Fight is guilty of is that the fights are devoid of context. The second crime is that the game offers you little to no choice. 

Drunkn Bar Fight review
Images courtesy of the Oculus Store.

Let’s Beat Up Some Stereotypes

Drunkn Bar Fight starts with you standing in the street, in front of a few bars. Your phone rings in your left hand, and that’s where it materializes. Your phone is your menu screen, where you can change some basic settings. 

All you really can do is to walk into one of the nearby bars or a back alley. This is how you get into the game’ levels,’ of which there are four. Once you’re inside these locations, you’ll find nothing to do at first, except listen to NPC characters that are supposedly funny but are instead, offensively stereotypical. No story evolves, and there’s no plotline to the narrative. In fact, there is no narrative at all. 

All you can do – all that the game wants you to do – is beat up the stereotypes. Let’s beat up the flakey gay guy! Don’t you want to beat up the boorish biker?! Let’s beat up the nagging women! The greatest failure of Drunkn Bar Fight is that it provides no context for the fighting, no clever writing or dialogue or cut scenes are employed to explain why these fights are happening, or why we should care.

As video game players, we don’t always need a complex narrative, but we’re usually at least told that we’re saving the world or a cute princess named after a fruit. Sometimes we’re just helping out a mouse.

We’re doing something.

Mindless Violence Does Not Make For Mindless Fun

Remember MadWorld on the Nintendo Wii? MadWorld promised “exciting, visceral” gameplay, and it delivered in spades. Now, many years later, I couldn’t remember what the context for the violence was, but I do remember the violence itself – because it was glorious. MadWorld gave you a stark black and white world colored only by gushes of red blood, and it did this on a Nintendo console, of all things. You could rip people in two, you could throw them under giant spiked machines that would splatter them all over the place. It was gory, it was brutal, and it was delightful

Remember when I said that the greatest sin committed by Drunkn Bar Fight was that the fights had no context? I was wrong, the greatest sin is that the battles are tedious. There are no combos to speak off, no power-ups, and no apparent multipliers. There are objects in the environments that you can use to attack the NPCs, but they’re predictable; pool cues, bar stools, beer bottles, etc. 

Drunkn Bar Fight review
Images courtesy of the Oculus Store.

Bartender, My Beer Is Flat

You don’t even need to be particularly skillful. All you really have to do to beat characters is to hit them repeatedly while making sure they don’t hit you. It requires some speed and some basic situational awareness, but it’s nothing that a seasoned gamer would find challenging or, for that matter, rewarding. To test just how simple it is, I went into one of the bars, started the fight, and literally just waved my right arm horizontally for a few minutes, believe it or not, that was enough to beat the level.

Drunkn Bar Fight not only denies you a challenge, but it denies you a plot and denies you good graphics. It denies you good sound (although some of the songs in the jukeboxes aren’t too bad) and denies you good physics. All the game really offers is a cheap thrill that you can only enjoy if you have meager expectations of what a game can accomplish.

Drunkn Bar Fight | Review 64
The best thing about the game is the soundtrack.

Too many things also don’t work the way you’d expect them to in Drunkn Bar Fight. When I tried to grab bottles by the neck (to smash them against a table and use as weapons) the game invariably had me grab them by the bottom, so all I could really do was break them against the NPCs. When I tried to grab stools (to break them against enemies), that didn’t always work out, either. The gameplay is wonky, and the gameplay opportunities that it seems to provide don’t really work.

Ghost Guitars, Blunt Knives

At one point, after I had grabbed a guitar from next to a table and broke it on somebody’s head, the guitar just rematerialized next to the table. Only this time, I couldn’t pick it up. Why? I don’t know. In another bar, I grabbed a mic stand and hit somebody with it, then, for fun, tried to poke it into the ceiling fan just to see how the physics model would react. It didn’t.

At some point, I grabbed a knife and started slashing away at enemies, thinking the game will at least allow me to spray some blood around the room (yes, writing this review has made me miss MadWorld, badly…), well, it didn’t. The NPCs reacted to the knife the same way they reacted to my punches, the same way they reacted to the guitar, the same way they seemed to react to anything – they got hit and stumbled around a bit.

Let’s Not Be Shy

Some reviewers might shy away from telling you just how bad this game is, and we understand the politics of their diplomacy. However, we believe readers read reviews precisely because they want to know what a reviewer thinks of a game, even if they themselves might have the political and social sensibilities of a honey badger.

Coulda Been a Contender

Drunkn Bar Fight disappointed me on all levels. I had the advantage of coming into this game out of the blue. I had, literally, never even heard of it before a review code landed in my inbox. The premise sounded exciting, the game was not.

The core idea of a game focused on bar fights offers tremendous opportunities and could have been ideally suited for the room-scale virtual reality experience that the Quest enables. Drunkn Bar Fight could have given us some narrative context that gave meanings to the fights. It could have introduced the main character as a lonely stranger passing through the city, getting forced to fight bullies to protect himself or to help others in need. We could find out more about his backstory from NPCs that would recognize him in those bars, and help flesh out the narrative.

You Can’t Handle The Truth

The game just isn’t that ambitious and contents itself with promising players the ability to perform “socially unacceptable behaviors” without dealing with their consequences. This is a fantastically low bar. What’s next, a game that simulates spitting on people? If this is what my Quest is for, I’ll go back to the Wii.

The graphics also could have been much better. We know that the Quest isn’t a polygon-pushing polymath, but when a game only has a few simple environments, there’s absolutely no excuse for them to look so drab. We’ve all seen Red Matter, and developers need to understand that our expectations have been raised accordingly. 

Drunkn Bar Fight review
Images courtesy of the Oculus Store.

They Say The Oculus Store is Curated

Many developers have complained about the curation process on the Oculus Store, saying it’s not easy to get games approved. The curation has been controversial because some gamers feel that Oculus is keeping good games from them. Others think that it’s good to have high standards, and I usually lean towards the second camp. However, if the release of Drunkn Bar Fight on the Oculus Store proves anything, it’s that those standards cannot be taken seriously. How is it possible that this got approved while Crisis VRigade did not? I don’t know. It’s a mystery only the world’s greatest detective could answer.

This Bottle Is Empty

The game is a singleplayer experience and has four bars to visit. The variety of NPCs that you beat up is limited. If this is the kind of game that you enjoy, you’ll soon find yourself running out of offensive stereotypes to beat up. When you ‘finish’ a level by beating everybody up, you get a scorecard. The scorecard shows how many punches you threw, how many KO’s you made, how long it took you, and what new moves you discovered.

Conclusion

Drunkn Bar Fight is a shallow, short-lived exercise in game programming that belongs, at most, as a freely available download on SideQuest, where it would be overshadowed by some truly great titles available on that platform. It’s not a game that you want your children to play, and it’s not a game you’ll get much mileage out of. If you want a physical brawler, get Creed instead.

Drunkn Bar Fight | Review 66
Drunkn Bar Fight
TLDR : Summary
Not so much a game for tough guys as a game for people desperate to feel tough, Drunkn Bar Fight is a misbegotten demo you're being asked to pay for.
Concept
1
Gameplay
3.5
Graphics
2.5
Audio
4
Longevity
2.5
User Rating5 Votes
7
Pros
You get to fight in bars
Music's not bad
Cons
Mediocre everything
Shallow gameplay
2.5
Feeble
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Geordi Wentworth

Are you kidding me? This game is one of the most fun, most re-playable games available in VR. People are playing this for hundreds of hours. You choose to focus on stereotypes and social justice agendas to judge the game? Really?

karmamole

Are you kidding me? This game falls apart on all fronts, and we explained how bad it was on all of them. Bad graphics, tedious and mindless gameplay, no difficulty or challenges, a campaign absolutely lacking in plot or narrative. You choose to focus on the one part of the review that mentions the stereotypes and the absolute social bankruptcy of the game? Really?!

Geordi Wentworth

You explained your opinions on the game. The reality of it’s success is something else entirely. The whole point of the game is “mindless gameplay”. It is a simple fighting game with no plot or narrative. Those things are needed for people who need to be guided and noodged through a scenario created for them. This game is just made to be fun. The graphics are so so, the game mechanics are silly, and the dialogue is meant to be funny and not at all socially conscious. It was designed to be fun. And fun it is. I couldn’t care less about the stereotypes. But I do love to beat the crap out of the big fat hipster dude who whines about personal space and his man bun!. Did you actually print the phrase “social bankruptcy of the game”? LOL!

karmamole

Just because you enjoyed the game, doesn’t impose an obligation on me or others to enjoy it, and just because you had fun with a game doesn’t mean it’s objectively fun for anybody else. I’m sure some people might enjoy it, just as I’m sure some priests like to molest children, but that’s not for me. I derived absolutely no entertainment from the game, not because of its lack of social sensitivity, but because it’s trash. Something like MadWorld was not at all ‘socially conscious’ but it was a LOT of fun. This game was not. It seems you’ve missed the whole point of the review. Honestly, your criticism of our review says far more about you than it does about this third-rate demo of a crappy game. If you feel so strongly about it, use our Reader Rating box and give it a 10. Insisting that a game is… Read more »

Geordi Wentworth

That’s what you got from my comment? If you are going to review anything at all, you should at least have the ability to be objective. Do you seriously believe that people disagreeing with your rather heavy handed review of this game are trying to force you to like it?. How can somebody commenting on your review be considered an attempt to make you an obligate fan of it? I completely accept the fact that you do not like the game as an individual. I took issue with your comments criticizing the game not because of the game play or technical aspects of it, but because of “social consciousness”. I also just realized that you have reviewed the Quest version of the game which might explain that. The Quest version only shows three people in the bars at any given time, plus the Quest version is missing many of the… Read more »

karmamole

In order: Essentially. Yes, some are, absolutely. Some people seem to need their feelings about a game validated by others or by review sites. General comments on a review are not attempt to obligate me, but bringing up the game’s popularity (it’s actually #22 in terms of sales on the Oculus store as I write this) as ‘proof’ that there’s something I should like about it, certainly is. I did indeed criticize the game’s social messages because they’re horrible, disturbing, and fairly disgusting. They set the world back, not move it forward. The game thinks hate is fun. Having said all that, it shouldn’t be an overriding factor when reviewing the game, and as such, I made a very conscious effort to only let these issues (particularly the remarkable lack of ANY narrative) affect the ‘concept’ rating of my overall score. Every other score is what I (do we need… Read more »

maxdujapon

The game has a 4.3 score on the oculus store. I think you just don’t get the point of this game. There is no need for a story, it’s just to pass some stress, anger or just have fun alone or with buddies. The only bad point in my opinion is the lack of npcs, I don’t know if the quest can handle it, but at least 5 or 6 NPCs would be cool, 3 feels a little bit empty.

karmamole

We are completely disinterested in Oculus Store ratings. Most titles on the Oculus Store have incredibly inflated scores, and give readers the impression that all Quest games are fantastic. Maybe it’s because most Quest users are new to VR and are simply awed by the experience. It takes a little more to impress us. It’s funny that you say that we don’t get the ‘point’ of the game, then proceed to tell us that it has no point at all. There are easily twenty other games on the Quest that are perfect for passing some stress, anger, or having fun with friends, all of which offer a far superior experience with better graphics, better physics, and better game mechanics. This is easily the worst game (on all levels) that we have yet seen on Quest. If you feel differently you can rate us as highly as you want, both on… Read more »

Geordi Wentworth

The scores on the Oculus Store are not inflated. Each review comes from a verified player, and there are no “critics” scores to falsely prop up or bring down a rating a la Rotten Tomatoes (or here). I only realized after re-reading your review that this is a Quest-only take on the game. Is this site basically geared to Quest users? The Quest itself is a stripped down version of VR as compared to even it’s Rift S relative. I have both of them. This game as played in the Rift S is a completely different experience. Might I suggest creating a category for Quest/standalone VR which is separate from the PC-based VR? I happen to own both the Quest and Rift S, and yes, the Quest limitations change how the games are developed for that platform. This game is a perfect example of it. And yes, I agree that… Read more »

karmamole

Sorry, I’ve been a bit too busy with rl to reply 🙂 I didn’t mean the scores on the Oculus Store were artificially inflated, just that I think (from experience) that a LOT of Quest users aren’t hardcore gamers, some aren’t really gamers at all. Most Quest users are also new to VR, since the Quest provided a very low barrier of entry to real 6DOF VR, and a lot of reviews are somewhat in awe. And yeah, 6DOF Reviews is totally geared towards Quest, although we’re open to any new all-in-one stand alone VR sets that come along, whether from Oculus or elsewhere, but for now – that scope helps us focus. We have considered branching off to more VR stuff, like PCVR, but I think we’d be trying to do something that a lot of great sites are already doing. When it comes to Quest, we have more… Read more »

Geordi Wentworth

Agreed. The Quest can’t handle the full version of this game. This game on the Rift S has 12 NPCs in each bar at the same time. It also has awesome props to use to fight with. Also for the Rift, there is another smaller version of the game called Drunkn Bar Fight: Halloween which has zombies, and you get two different pistols and just one bar. There are several NPCs in that game which you don’t see in the regular game, but only three in the bar at any given time like in the Quest version of the regular game. Try this game on a tethered headset! It is fun beyond belief.

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