Who doesn’t know about Punch-Out? Well for the last twenty years this classic arcade boxing title that at one time had you facing off against Mike Tyson as the final boss has finally been recreated for your Wii. You are once again thrown into the ring as Lil Mac, the 17 year old boxing phenom that hails from the Bronx and is challenging for WVBA title. (World Video Boxing Association) Does this title serve up a knock out or just a decision?
The gameplay is straightforward, you are Mac and you fight opponents on a quest for the belt. You will go through different divisions, each getting progressively harder as you amass more wins. Expect to see many of the same fighters you did back when you were a kid, but now with nicer graphics and a bit of back-story for each. Once you have defeated all thirteen fighters and gotten the belt you must then defend your title against them.
The game is the same as it was twenty years ago with the exception of the controls. Motion controls have been added in to make flailing your fists at the screen more fun and even integration of the Wii balance board is an option. The balance board works terribly to control dodging and you will quickly abandon it. The punching controls are sloppy at best with the Wiimote and nunchuk and you will grow tired of this option as well. The best way to play this game is holding the Wiimote sideways or using a classic controller.
The key to all the fights is recognizing patterns for different fighters. King Hippo will require you to hit him in the gut during certain animations while Glass Joe you can just knock his block off. Figuring out the different patterns is both fun and frustrating, but once you have it is pretty repetitive to win fights. Recognizing these patterns and timing them with the motion controls or balance board is very frustrating.
This new version of Punch-Out does also add a local split screen multiplayer mode. You fight against a friend and gain energy to become a huge hulking boxer (Giga Mac) and knock each other out. It is fun for a bit but again grows old. The depth of the game is in the single player campaign. Unfortunately there is a lack of online play, which in today’s gaming world is unacceptable. There is also a sever lack of leaderboards for some reason, I guess the developers used up all of their resources making the game pretty to add any online niceties. The replay factor occurs when you have to defend your title against the boxers again but the second time they are stronger and have changed their patterns.
This version of Punch-Out is more a game of nostalgia and really is great for those gamers that are looking to relive the past or for brand new gamers that have never played the classic. You could very well just pick up the old version for the Virtual console and be just as happy, but give up some pretty graphics. This is a decent title that falls short much like many other Wii games in the motion control department. A definite rental, but not a must buy.