Punch Club is coming soon to iOS and Android from Lazy Bear Games and Tiny Build. Exactly when? If you’ve got a Twitch account, that’s kind of up to you.
In what’s either a brilliant or mad stunt, the developers have left the game’s release date up to the masses. Inspired by the “Twitch Plays …” series of videos featuring crowdsourced play-throughs of various games, Twitch Plays Punch Club is currently running, with people voting on what to do next. And the stakes are real, as the game will hit Steam as soon as Twitch manages to beat it (with the mobile release to follow shortly after that).
VentureBeat has a great write-up that describes how the event has divided gamers, with some believing it’s a fun gimmick, your predictable drama queen types decrying that the game is being held “hostage,” a few pondering how it might spoil the plot and others just opining that the whole thing is silly. It’s also definitely not fast; as I write this, Twitch Plays Punch Club is only 31 percent of the way through the game, and it’s been going for … well, a while.
There are two important things to keep in mind. One is that every time the in-game hero wins a fight, the chat bot spits out a Steam pre-order key valid for whoever can type it in the fastest, so there’s incentive to participate outside of simply unlocking the game. The other seems to have been missed by many critics, which is that the game was originally targeting a January 25 PC release, and it’s likely to be out even sooner than that this way.
That hasn’t stopped the venom on the Punch Club Steam page, so this could turn into an interesting case study on whether any publicity is good publicity for an indie developer. For what it’s worth, I’ve been playing a pre-release iOS build and I love the game. It’s a fighting sim with retro graphics and tons of old school pop culture references, with multiple branching story paths and plenty to keep you occupied for hours.
Think of it sort of like putting Knights of Pen and Paper and an MMA sim in a blender. Then again, that RPG and combat sports are two of my favorite things, so your mileage may vary. I just know I’m rooting for Twitch to hurry up and finish the game so it hits mobile that much faster.