Plasma Puncher puts you in the body of a white blood cell, giving you the job of brawling it out with a bunch of micro-organisms on the surface of a large germ mothership. Your job is obviously to beat this germ out of the blood stream alone, and if my white blood cells were half as strong as the one you are playing is, I’d feel confident that I’d never be ill.
Your job as the white blood cell is to kill germs which drop different “particles”. Green particles allow you to make various enhancements, such as more HP or different attacks, while blue particles build up a charged attack to deal damage to the mothership that the battle is being fought on. The green particles also level you up and makes you progress to the next “wave” of enemies, which usually includes one new enemy type and increases in difficulty as the game progresses. You will also get some friendly enemies which don’t attack you, but when you hit them a few times, will give you various bonuses. Red monsters will drop you some health, while green ones will drop you “power ups”, which contain a variety of weapons that make killing monsters much easier, especially with power ups that grant you ranged attacks. When you reach certain stages, the game will also initiate certain mini boss fights against enemies with larger health pools and requires the player to have to dodge a lot more attacks than they need to in the general gameplay.
As much as I appreciate the game’s developers’ attempts to keep a simple control system, it does feel like more controls would be beneficial for the game. The “dash”, which is the main way for your character to cover large distances and evade is triggered by pressing the left or right key twice in rapid succession. However, this causes a natural delay in the activation of the evade skill, making the move feel clunky when evading the constant stream of enemies is important. This is also important due to the movement speed of the white blood cell, as it is very slow, making the dash move the primary mechanic for its mobility.
Its mobility is also hindered by a lack of a double jump, which, though not necessary, would help to take care of flying enemies, which can be a pain as they often fly too high for your character to actually reach them, which kind of breaks the flow of the combat as you have to deliberately go after it. These are not really issues with the easier difficulties, but with the harder difficulties, when there are so many enemies so grouped together, not having better mobility for evading attacks makes even the normal difficulty much more difficult.
The music and aesthetics of the gameplay makes it feel very much like a game that you could play in an arcade. The art style is very simple, with the cartoon germs drawn like cute monsters, as they have funny looking simple eyes, are brightly coloured and usually with strange appendages. There was obviously also a lot of love that went into the game’s cutscenes, as the developers obviously wanted to include some context behind your character brawling it out with these beasts that ends up being really enjoyable. The music is very fitting – a repetitive, fast-paced tune that perfectly complements the brawl-it-out style of gameplay.
At the end of the day, Plasma Puncher is actually really fun. It’s repetitive and grindy, but it’s definitely something that you can spend a few hours on. The difficulties they have are actually balanced very well, with the easy difficulty being very laid back and enjoyable, while the harder difficulties actually present a good challenge for when you want to actually focus on the game and try a bit harder. So whether you are wanting to be challenged with a fun brawler or you’re just wanting to casually pass the time, Plasma Puncher is definitely one that you can turn to.