Blissful Death: getting a chub on for Fingun

Blissful Death: Celebrating the Shoot 'em Up

I’ve gone back and forth on my feelings about new indie boss rush shoot ’em up Fingun since I first played it, and I think I’ve finally come down on the side of liking it. It’s a peculiar one, for sure, and might not be for everyone — but on the whole I think it’s a rather endearing project, and one worth supporting, particularly if you enjoy lewd games and indie efforts in the space.

Fingun is a game developed by solo UK-based indie developer Tashan “Pixelteriyaki” Davis, who describes it as a tribute to Konami’s 1996 title Sexy Parodius. Rather than being a straight attempt to clone Sexy Parodius, however, Fingun focuses exclusively on the boss-fighting side of things — there are no side-scrolling stages in the game at all.

Fingun

The concept of Fingun is that the world has been invaded by giant anime girls (and a few emphatically not-girls) and it’s up to you to blast them into oblivion using the world’s most powerful weapon: your Fingun. Along the way you’ll beef up Fingun’s weaponry with power-ups, fight your way through 14 different bosses and eventually bring peace back to the world the only way you know how: through a swift and forceful bit of finger action.

Fingun is blissfully, unashamedly and refreshingly sexualised throughout, with most of the bosses taking the form of pixel art women designed with loose inspiration from anime. Weak points generally take the form of breasts or crotch areas, and phase transitions during boss fights are marked by “breaking” a particular layer of clothing at various points on their health bar. There’s no completely explicit nudity during the game itself, though the gallery of unlockable art does feature some bare nip-nips.

One of the most pleasantly surprising things about Fingun’s character designs is that most of the characters — both male and female — are designed to be rather on the curvy side to varying degrees. Expect plenty of chunky thighs, bouncing boobs and lovingly animated jiggly bum fat; it’s absolutely sexy in a pleasingly non-conventional way, and definitely shows that Davis has genuine affection for character designs like this rather than wanting to mock the overweight or the slightly chunky.

Fingun

Rather oddly, though, the high-definition character art that appears in the unlockable gallery after beating the various stages very obviously slims down a fair few of the characters; they still have some curves to them, but they’re not as obviously “chubby” as they are in their in-game incarnations. Not a dealbreaker by any means, but it would have perhaps been nice to see a bit more consistency here, given the artwork is a reward for progressing through the game.

The bosses are themed in a variety of ways with plenty of different influences. The first one is a twerking glasses girl paddling in the sea with a seagull standing on her butt; later levels feature a near-naked Japanese man in bondage being repeatedly picked up and moved around a conveyer belt in a sushi restaurant, a slutty streamer ahegao’ing every time you shoot her in the tits and a rather literal interpretation of foot fetishism. Davis clearly has an audience in mind for Fingun, and caters to them perfectly with a combination of sexy and absurd enemies that will, by turns, make you laugh and get a naughty grin on your face.

Each boss you fight in Fingun has their own distinct attack pattern, featuring clear telegraphs of things that are about to happen in the form of “warning” signs. The first time you play, you won’t necessarily know exactly what these mean — sometimes they might mean the boss is going to fire a barrage of shots in that area; at others it might mean they’re going to move their entire body into that part of the screen — but over time you’ll learn the patterns and be able to clear each stage more and more reliably.

Fingun

The patterns are enjoyably varied, and in all cases it’s possible to completely avoid damage with properly timed movement and appropriate positioning — even if the way to achieve this might not be immediately obvious. Thankfully, you’re given a certain amount of margin for error: Fingun has three pips of health, and it’s also possible to acquire a shield that effectively gives you an extra “hit”.

Reaching phase transitions or defeating a boss completely awards coins, which provide points, and a power-up, which can either increase Fingun’s power level or restore a point of health. In the former case, Fingun’s power gradually increases with each new level, initially adding a couple of “options” floating either side of it, firing at half Fingun’s rate, and subsequently expanding with two rotating shields that can cancel bullets and eventually fire in their own right.

Like most classic shoot ’em ups, the longer you can go without messing up, the more powerful you’ll become — though if you do have to continue (and thus reset your power level), it’s generally not too hard to get back up to decent fighting strength, and Fingun is by no means powerless at its lowest possible power level.

On top of all this, Fingun has an absolutely banging soundtrack by Levi Bond and David Robinson, which you can listen to over on Bandcamp if you’re so inclined.

Fingun

So why was I unsure as to whether or not I liked Fingun when I first played it? Well, it simply felt like it was missing something. When I went in to the game with the expectation of an homage to Sexy Parodius, I was hoping to see some side-scrolling stages as well as just boss fights, and was initially a little disappointed when the game simply presented me with boss after boss.

This disappointment didn’t last too long, though, because each boss felt completely unique from the last, effectively making the battle with them a “stage” in its own right rather than simply the conclusion to a level. When I beat the game having credit-fed my way through it, though, I still felt like there was something more that the game needed.

So I played again, and this time I made a specific effort to try and survive as long as possible without having to continue. I noticed that the scoring system was a bit deeper and interesting than I’d initially given it credit for, with solid performance in a level definitely providing greater rewards than clumsy, careless play. I saw that the score display (which inexplicably says “HI” rather than “SCORE”) constantly shames you with a big red cross if you’ve dared to continue even once. And the game’s more long-term appeal became a bit more obvious.

Fingun

This is a game about learning to one-credit clear — and it’s a game where achieving that is absolutely within reach even of relative shoot ’em up newbies. That does mean that veteran shoot ’em up players will probably exhaust the possibilities of the game in a couple of hours, but it will provide more casual shoot ’em up fans with an enjoyable experience that will help them develop some useful shoot ’em up skills.

Perhaps the thing that Fingun is lacking is something that will give it some real long-term appeal. An “endless” mode where you simply loop around the stages with a single credit might be a good addition, for example — that would be eminently friendly to competition on online leaderboards, too. Perhaps a caravan mode, where you attempt to progress as far as possible in five minutes of play? Or perhaps a time attack mode, where you attempt to clear the game as quickly as you can, maybe with unlimited credits?

There are quite a few possibilities that Fingun in its current form sadly doesn’t pursue — and that’s where my initial hesitance came from. But settle in, enjoy Fingun on its own terms by focusing on what it does do well rather than the things it doesn’t do, and there’s a good time to be had here. It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s charming, it’s sexy — and it certainly makes me want to see more from Pixelteriyaki in the future.

Fingun is available now for Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.

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Pete Davison
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