There are a lot of retro games these days that are getting a face-lift, and are introduced to the new generation of gaming. These include Bionic Commando, A Boy and his Blob, Rygar, Contra, and the list goes on. While most of the retro games that are getting a face-lift might suck, like Rygar, there was always one franchise I wanted to see get a face-lift. This franchise is known as Punch Out. A few months back, they released a new game in the franchise for the Wii, and after waiting for a while, I finally got to play it. So, is this game worth your time? Or does this game need a few more minutes in the gym?
The story is basically just like how it played back in the days of the Nintendo and Super Nintendo days. You play as the underdog character, Little Mac, as you train to the max to fight the current champion. However, to get to that fight, you must battle against 13 fighters who are in your way to stop you from getting that belt. So yeah, the dramatic element of story is missing here, but with a game like this, does there really need to be a story? Before I move on, I would like to say that this game was made by Next Level games, which made the Mario Slugger series. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about the company.
The game play is kind of hard to describe. It’s a boxing game, but it isn’t based on realistic fighting which really works, since the whole look of the game is, well, cartoonish. The themes of the game are as listed, memorization and timing. Each boxer has a specific fighting pattern, and you must learn the specific fighter’s pattern and then land a couple blows. You can also gain stars if you hit the boxer a certain way, or when they are doing something like knocking the soda bottle out of Popinski’s hand, or punching the boxer when they weren’t prepared. If you hold down the A button while throwing a punch, you can do a super punch and cause more damage, depending on how many stars you have. There is also a heart meter that keeps Little Mac active. If the heart meter runs out he gets tired and can only refill it if he dodges the opponent’s punch. There are two different control schemes you can use in the game. You can either use the Wii-mote and nunchuk, or hold the Wii-mote sideways like an NES controller, like with the old Punch Out games. You can use the motion board from the Wii fit game, but I don’t count it as a control scheme since it’s silly to dodge moves with a board. You can play through the career mode where you tackle all the contenders to win the battle. After you beat that mod, you will go through title defense, where you fight all the boxers again, but they will either be stronger. or need another strategy to take them down. The final mode is where if you lose 3 times, you lose the title belt and that profile is locked.
Graphically, I like the look of the game. Just like Madworld, you can show off a game’s look with a unique art style. It always seems like, today, people want to see super uber graphics, but to be honest, I rather play Punch Out!! or Super Paper Mario over Halo 3 ODST, or any other game sporting uber graphics. The characters are just awesome. We finally get to see a little more of the characters’ traits and personalities through a series first, voice acting. Everyone does their each respective boxer just perfect, though they do speak in their native language, which begs for captions or subtitles. I also like the music of the game since every boxer has his own theme music. I personally love the theme song to the whole game. It’s maybe one of the only few songs that is always stuck in my head. The game’s difficulty is just right. It doesn’t really need to be placed as easy medium or hard. It’s also worth noting that the hit detection is perfect, and if you lose, you can’t blame anyone, but your own self.
Let’s put on some boxing gloves and spar with the bad parts of the game. First off, is that the entire roster of characters is only 14, and it just puzzles me since this is the first Punch Out game we have ever seen in about 15 or so years. It’s kind of annoying. Even though there is a multiplayer mode, I would like to see more stuff besides a tug of war between two Little Macs. I mean, if we have 14 or so characters, I would kill to play as Great Tiger or Piston Hondo. This game would also benefit from online playability, along with playing with other boxers.
All and all, this is a great game for the Wii. I would recommend buying this game along with other good third party Wii games like Madworld, or A Boy and his Blob. I’m also excited since Next Level is interested in making a sequel. There is also that special Wiiware Doc Louis Punch Out!!, which looks cool. Overall I say give this game a try and see if you like it.
This game gets an 8.5 out of 10