Punch Club: Round one, Fight!

I’ve never been one for mobile games. I always lean towards the familiar titles that I know people love, only to find out a week later I only played a total of two hours.

That or I need to spend cash to buy the ‘Super-Enchanted Sword of Gilgamesh’ to get past this one Joe giving me trouble.

Punch Club is a nice bridge between the two, and a very good game for time-wasting. Unfortunately it’s not much more than that.

Punch Club is a Strategy RPG, (Role-playing game), based around dynamic management and balancing statistics for PC and IOS developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild.

You also need to the standard lifestyle of an upcoming boxer sensation, beating up crocs, chatting with mobsters and sitting back while the game plays itself.

Yes, this is a game about fighting with no actual fighting.

As a mobile game it makes sense, kind of, but it feels like a missed opportunity and instead creates an air of total luck as you sit and pray that your fighter does what he should to win.

Sometimes he’ll fight, other times he’ll look lovingly into his opponents eyes (Happy Valentines). I’m not asking for much, maybe a button for punch and another for block but it just needs something else to keep it interesting.

Maybe you punch and do four damage, maybe you pick your nose. It's all luck at the end of the day.

Maybe you punch and do four damage, maybe you pick your nose. It’s all luck at the end of the day.

Let’s briefly sum up the positives.

The visuals have this very nice arcade style to them, sporting really nice looking characters, detailed environments and realistic animations while still feeling ‘retro’.

The game is chock-full of references and jokes that genuinely make you chuckle. The game does change depending on the choices you make. But for what it does well, Punch Club just has too many issues to be considered a good game.

Punch Club doesn’t do any favours for those who get bored of repetition.

While really addicting in places, the game expects you to do the same actions over and over again for stats. The term for this is ‘grinding’.

For some it’s cathartic but for others it’s extremely boring, and I’d say this is an example of it being poorly done.

Before you fight you select a series of skills going in. It adds some strategy but it's not enough to really be fun.

Before you fight you select a series of skills going in. It adds some strategy but it’s not enough to really be fun.

Your main progression will be through fighting to the top of various circuits, developing your three main stats, strength, skill and stamina, and gaining experience through fights.

The trio of stats effect what your character will do, ensuring offense, defence or pure agility. Experience will unlock skill points for you to access new moves and specify how you’ll fight.

One of your greatest enemies will be time itself.

Travelling, working out and sleeping among other things all take up your time. At the end of every day your main stats get cut down in an attempt to keep you maintained.

This “attempt” results in you being forced to keep working out, or else you risk losing all your work for an entire day and more. It is annoying as all hell to say the least.

The game establishes these walls, challenges that limit your progression that you really don’t have much of a chance at beating on your first go but you won’t know that going in.

All you can do to prepare is grind every method possible for money to live off of and give yourself the energy to work out. And with your stats decreasing every day it’s really frustrating to play.

You can spend the entire day working out and still lose stats. This is why I don't pay for gym.

You can spend the entire day working out and still lose stats. This is why I don’t pay for gym.

I’ll save you some time; if you want to blitz through the game and do it in the most optimal route, go with pure agility and learn ‘The Way of the Tiger’.

I’ve tried the other styles and while they work, there’s a clear improvement in your “skill” with this route.

The sad thing is, the ability to customise and try the other styles encourages multiple play-throughs, but with one being the clear winner out of the three there’s not much reason to choose the others besides giving them a try.

I really want to like Punch Club; there’s so much here that I look at and know it could be a lot of fun, but there’s even more arguing against it that eventually it loses the leg its standing on.

There’s enjoyment to be had here, but it’s just average.

It’s not bad, and it’ll surprise you for a first-time mobile game, but if you’re looking for that strategy RPG boxing sim you’ve been after for so long, it’s here, but it’s not 100% what you’re expecting.

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