Wii Punch Out!!

What It Is

When the 1980’s began, video games were predominantly played in establishments outside of your home where over-sized cabinets housed the games and quarters were inserted into slots to play. These barbaric sounding spaces were called arcades and they are where Punch-Out!!, the video boxing game, made it’s 1984 debut. A sequel, Super Punch-Out!!, arrived in the arcades in 1985 but as the decade approached its end, more and more people were playing games at home. The game makers responded to this shift by creating home versions of their arcade games and in 1987, the first home version of Punch-Out!! was created for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

The game would go on to receive several updated versions including a Mike Tyson edition, a Super NES iteration and now the latest, Wii edition. The gist of the game remains the same today as it did when Neander-gamers played in arcades—you are a boxer fighting a cast of comical characters in an increasingly difficult succession of matches. To win, you must punch, jab, duck, block and find the right combination of moves to knock out your opponent.

So what has changed? As you would expect, the graphics, interaction, and mechanics have all been updated to take advantage of the Wii’s hardware power. With the Wii’s motion sensitive controllers you now have to physically swing your arms to throw punches rather than press buttons like in the previous games. The biggest change might be the addition of a Head-to-Head Challenge Mode that, for the first time, allows two players to fight each other in the ring.

Why It’s Fun

The Punch-Out!! Games have always been known for the over-the-top fighters you face in the boxing ring. Each one has a distinctive and comical personality with outlandish looks, trash-talking taunts, and signature moves, which have only gotten funnier with each new game. In one of the early matches you will face off against King Hippo, an obese oaf whose trunks can’t stay up on their own. The one new character to enter the game is Disco Kid, who loves to boogie as much as he loves himself. While all of the fighters (there are 14 in total) are incredibly entertaining they are also challenging and you will have to figure out what combination of moves is required to beat them.

The other element of Punch-Out!! that I found to be the most fun is the head-to-head mode where you can duke it out with a friend. The game’s Wii-Remote and Nunchuk control system is so easy to grasp that two people can instantly pick it up and get in the ring for a comical yet competitive match. This is also a great way to determine who is going to take out the trash or clean the dishes.

Who’s Going To Love It

Whether you have been playing Punch-Out!! since the days of arcades and .25-cent games or this is the first time you have ever heard of it, you will enjoy this game. Playing the game in single-player career mode can be difficult at times for the average gamer but it never becomes so frustrating that you want to give up.

Kids will love this game because of the ridiculous and hysterical fighters and cartoon-style hijinks (objects floating around someone's head when they get punched), however, it is a boxing match and characters will get bruised and battered. There is no blood and bruises are cartoonish but they are a huge part of the game.

What To Be Aware Of

Punch-Out!! can be played with either the Wii-Remote and Nunchuk controller or the more challenging option of the Wii-Remote and Balance-Board controller (the control board that comes with Wii Fit). There is also an option for old-school gamers that allows you to play with the Wii-Remote alone by turning it sideways and forgoing the motion-sensing action.

This game isn’t going to replace your workout routine but it will get you up off the couch and physically engaged, especially if you are playing with the Balance Board. Even using the Nunchuk and Wii-Remote requires a lot of upper body activity.

During the game, you have to keep an eye on your stamina level because when it’s depleted you open yourself up for a knockout. For a little stamina boost between rounds, press the "-" button on the Wii-Remote, which will give your trainer a candy bar and increase your stamina. It might not make any sense but who cares, it works. You can only use this trick once in every match so use it wisely.

Fun Scale

0 out of 5

It has to be fun or it wouldn’t be on Time to Play. But some games are more fun than others so here’s our scale: 1 is fun, 2 is a lot of fun, 3 is great, 4 is awesome and 5 is out-of-this-world!

Video Game Information

Publisher: Nintendo
Rated: Everyone 10+

System: Wii
Genre: Sports/Boxing
Players: 1 - 2

SRP: $49.99
Available: Now, at most major retail and toy stores as well as electronic gaming specialty shops and many online e-commerce sites.
Launch Date: May 2009
Date of Review: May 18, 2009
Review By: Jeff McKinney, Electronic Gaming Editor

*Rating determined by the ESRB


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