Boxing will always have a place in the hearts of men. This complex yet savage sport has evolved with us rising from illegal venues and outlawed prizefighting to become a multibillion-dollar industry and has influenced cultures across the globe. It requires skill and determination, perseverance, and grit. Which is why we made videogames in the first place. Because let’s be honest, nobody likes getting hit in the face.
Boxing Champs is a top-down boxing game with surprising depths. There are two modes of play; a VS mode and a career mode. The majority of the game focuses on career mode, which involves creating your custom character and then advancing through the ranks with the ultimate goal of securing the championship belt. Combat mimics basic boxing with the ability to chain four different punches into combos with the end goal of a knockout. A unique twist to this standard fare is that when using a controller, there is the option to use the left joystick to throw punches. This feature allows for a greater sense of flow, then when compared to standard button mashing. Winning the fight awards stat points that can be used to customize your characters abilities. This customization is surprisingly detailed and complex, allowing you to pursue your preferred style of fighting. A big issue with this system, however, is that the relationship between the stat values and actual gameplay is significantly uneven. Stat points are awarded too easily, being able to max out your stats long before you reach the final match. Also, regardless of how you stack up to your opponent numerically, they will almost always do the same damage as you and have the same defense. Combat, in general, seems to be skewed in favor of your opponents. With the AI seemingly not held to the same restrictions as the player in regards to movement and stamina.
Game art is cartoonish but not childish, being very similar to anime in style. The theme of customization continues with your character’s appearance. Being given the ability to choose from multiple color options, hairstyles, and body accents during character creation. Camera perspective is top-down but slanted, similar to Zelda: A link to the past. While this allows for a more dynamic view, it causes the fighters to appear deformed. Giving them massive heads and shoulders but tiny legs and feet. The backgrounds are simple and repetitive, with the only thing difference between venues being the center icon. Though the developers are limited in what they can do within the theme of the game, there should have been more done to distinguish the various real-world venues.
Boxing Champs is a good game. While it would have been nice to include more technical aspects and more interactive backgrounds, it still provides an entertaining experience. With its emphasis on customization and the inclusion of 2 player mode, this has relatively high replayability and is worth buying.
Also coming soon to Nintendo Switch.
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