Sunday, May 24

Game: Punch Out (Wii) Click for more info

Aaaah. As some of you might have figured out by now, it's the simple games I like the best. Take Punch Out - a remake of the classic NES and SNES boxing games. There's no statistics and management here, no gym training requirement, no countless moves to remember - heck, you can't even move around the ring during fights.

What it does have in spades is some brilliant gameplay bathed in simplicity: holding the Wii remote sideways you have a button to punch for each hand, and the ability to duck and dodge. That's pretty much it. Yes there is a motion option (including one which uses a Balance Board) but in my opinion they can be swiftly ignored.

So how does such simplicity generate such joyous fun? Well in some ways its precisely because of it. You see, your opponents can duck and dodge too, as well as pummel you with some powerful attacks. These follow a deliberate and discoverable pattern, and it's finding these that bring such a sense of achievement, especially when you were getting your ass kicked moments before. The game is full of things just clicking into place.

And if you fail (and you will), it's not the game's fault. You know there's a weakness somewhere, you just need to take the beats until you find it (and you will). It's having this faith in the game that means you won't get too frustrated with it.

Apart from the main game (which is a bit short having only 13 opponents), there's a two player mode. Although this hasn't been well received in the press I thought it was awesome - you have to use the same tactics on your real life opponent that you did on the virtual one, except this time you get to play mind games too. There are other aspects of this mode (including being able to turn into a Giga-Mac after a series of successful volleys) but in essence it's just a video game version of rock-paper-scissors.

Graphics and sound are simple yet vastly more effective than other current games and there's nothing else to really comment about. I love this game!

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