There aren't that many game developers that would make a zany game like Will Fight for Food: Super Actual Sellout: Game of the Hour. Many of the games that do take the extra step to purposefully focus on comedy are point-and-click adventure games such as Monkey Island and Sam and Max. To my knowledge the only comedy that comes from 2D brawlers is the cheesiness that was found here and there during the few moments there's character interaction that doesn't involve mashing the punch and kick buttons.
Will Fight for Food decided to do something to spice up the amount of funny they could write in while still playing like the classic 2D brawlers found in arcades. Two different modes are available to use when starting the game. One mode allows you to walk around as the ex-professional wrestler Jared and talk to people. The player can use this mode to smooth talk their way into improving people's opinion of Jared and persuading them.
What I found to be rather interesting was the way players have to correctly persuade someone. Instead of giving the next line of dialogue from a limited selection, you are offered three different styles of speaking. You change your Body Language, Posture, and Tone in order to advance the next dialogue. You could show you're annoyance at the person you're talking to in order to aggravate them into spilling info or coax the information out with honeyed words - the possibilities are (near) endless.
The combinations are effective and interesting; it's a dialogue system far more versatile and entertaining than simple multiple choices. I find this style to be far more suitable for role-playing games. To go off on a tangent, conversation and dialogue has been the absolute weakest point of RPGs. There wasn't enough freedom to do as you please in actual conversation. Sure you could show your anger by using violence, but you could never make a snarky character make quips left and right every time they meet a new NPC or a character with low intelligence truly act like someone without the slightest hint of what's going on around them (Fallout dialogue choices aside.)
To see something original in Will Fight for Food was a refreshing breath of air. It really did make me notice that there was an overabundance of simple dialogue multiple-choices and I'm extremely glad to see something break the mold and evolve.
However, while as much praise I can give this ingenuitive conversation system, I simply cannot say the combat is well designed. For starters, there's no mouse control. The player has to use the second half of the keyboard to perform attacks, or simply reassign the keys to something else. I put my combat buttons on the keypad so I could better switch between the mouse for the dialogue mode and the combat mode. But the lack of mouse control for fighting tells me perhaps it was designed for controllers, but there's no support for using a gamepad instead.
The actual fighting is extremely limited. You can punch, kick, and body charge, and any combination of the three. That's about it. But it really doesn't matter because you can simply spam body charge and catch all your enemies in a stun lock. There's no real challenge, unless you play on harder difficulties where you don't get healed as much in between checkpoints. From what I understand that doesn't actually change much, as you can save anywhere in Will Fight for Food, and if you die you can reload from that save. At least I think you can, I've never died during the time I played.
I haven't been able to open Will Fight for Food anymore for the past week or so, as it crashes the moment it starts up. I've looked around a little to see if there's a fix but I ultimately gave up. I beat the game once in a couple of hours and replayed again to see if different styles of playing would be interesting. I lost interest after I couldn't open Will Fight for Food for the twentieth time, but the short time I did play was fun.
But Will Fight for Food's writing was brilliant. The characters never failed to make me chuckle and the protagonist was as loveable as just about any comedic point-and-click adventure games. The length and combat are huge flaws, though. I don't think I would recommend Will Fight for Food if the game was ten bucks or more, but if it sits at $5.99 on Steam, I think I can point to it as a good time-waster and something that has a really ingenious dialogue system.
The author was given a Steam key by the developer for review.
Innovative dialogue system that's undermined by short length and lousy combat.