Punch-Out!! (Wii) Review

By Mike Mason 30.06.2009 5

Review for Punch-Out!! on Wii

Punch Out is a throwback. Essentially a NES game done over with a fresh coat of paint, it's a throwback to the times of simple yet addictive titles, games with singular compelling concepts and none of the extra dangly bits and flashing lights to distract you along the way. Punch Out is the perfect example of a 'bridge game', one that can be enjoyed by the casuals and the hardcore alike.

In case the series is new to you, you are the plucky Little Mac, a 17-year-old boxer from the Bronx who wants nothing more than to become the boxing champion of the world. You take on a variety of OTT characters who live up to the stereotypes of the countries from which they originate, such as Von Kaiser, a harsh and efficient German, or the wimpy Glass Joe. He's from France. Rather than being a straight boxing game, though, Punch Out takes on a more accessible approach, no doubt because of its arcade roots. You're fixed in one position on screen, directly in the centre, as is your rival in front of you. It's more like a rhythm game in many ways; you can never outright punch a foe and hope to be effective - instead, you must study their patterns, blocking and dodging as you go, until you spy chinks to exploit in their armour.

Screenshot for Punch-Out!! on Wii

There's really very little more to it. You have four normal punches - right and left equivalents of jab and body punch - and special star punches that are put into reserve to be used whenever you feel is best, gained when you hit your foe at just the right time. Biding your time is key, as if you strike when your enemy is guarded you will do nothing more than wear down your own stamina, leaving you unable to attack until you've successfully dodged a substantial amount to catch them off balance. The first fighter to have their energy bar worn to the end is knocked down and given the chance to recover; if taken down thrice in one round, it's an instant loss for them. If both survive all three rounds, it comes down to the referee's decision as to who the victor is.

Screenshot for Punch-Out!! on Wii

While the gameplay comes right from the 8-bit era, the visuals certainly do not. Taking on a gorgeous cel-shaded style, on a standard definition set you would be hard pushed to see a cataclysmic difference between Punch Out and a similarly stylised 360 or PS3 game, thus proving once more that realism is not the way to go with Wii. The game revels in the distinct style, in the way it affords hysterical expressions and reactions in its characters (Disco Kid is a highlight, channeling Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air at one point, insane aerobics instructor another) and in the way bruises are lavished over the boxers, becoming more severe as they are punched multiple times in a single area. Whenever a fighter takes a critical hit or falls down it is an event that is celebrated or lamented, dramatically and often comically. With the simple gameplay and the fixed, tiny area in which it is carried out, much of the Wii's capabilities have been put to use wholeheartedly into the presentation. Brilliantly retro-tinged tunes tinkle around as you beat the living daylights out of each other, the pain punctuated by an array of hilarious squeals and grunts.

Screenshot for Punch-Out!! on Wii

It seems only right that Punch Out is controllable as if it was a NES game, with the remote held sideways to emulate the retro pad. This is the way in which I preferred to play, using the d-pad's left, right and down to dodge, 'up' to modify punches, activated with 1 and 2, while a special attack is quick tap of A. However, to accommodate a wider audience there are also motion controls, with the expected movements activating attacks and the analogue stick taking on the role and functions of the d-pad, and the triggers used as modifiers. For those who want an even more involved experience, you can hop on your balance board and physically dodge and duck around yourself while punching away. It works well after the expected time necessary to adjust to how it wants you to move, but for me the traditional controller approach was the only way to go.

Initially Punch Out seems like a very short-lived experience - it takes just two or three hours to get through all the championships and down everybody that stands in your way of the belts. It's after this, though, that title defence mode rears its head. Here, Little Mac is champion and everybody's out for revenge, as well as the gold around his waist. The opposition is far trickier this time around, having added new moves to their repertoires and covered up their previous weak points. This is the meat of the game, and the challenge is upped so much that it offers a workout even for hardened gamers.

Screenshot for Punch-Out!! on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Punch Out works due to the tight mix of concise, simple gameplay that has not grown stale despite being over two decades old, a superb slapstick sense of humour, a style that matches it perfectly and because it caters to everybody without being detrimental to anybody on the control front. However, the difficulty level later on plays against its accessible beginnings. After skipping two generations of consoles, Punch Out's return is so well realised that it feels like it never went away at all.


Next Level







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (6 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Excellent review Mike. Smilie

I find it to be a good game, but I find it lacks that Nintendo quality about it. I was a bit disappointed that it didn't have Gamecube controller support. If a game can work with it, then I don't see why they shouldn't add it.

I love the visuals, they look gorgeous, in my opinion and I find it gives the game a lot of character.

It's a shame this hasn't been as big a hit here in Europe as Next Level Games' Mario Strikers. I would have thought people who enjoyed Wii Sports Boxing so much would have lapped this up...Instead the game's been totally overlooked and people pounced on Fight Night 4 instead (the first boxing game to hit No.1 in the UK ever!).

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

well, it's kinda understandable when you look at Fight Night 4.

But I personally love Punch Out Wii. Unlike the realistic puncher that is FN4, at least "Wii" can say, at least we actually "box" in our game. So being realistic is nothing more than a point of view! Smilie

-make it count- Hey if you wanna play Wii Games with me, check out my game portion of my profile and pm me if you wanna add me so I can add you!

Meh looks pretty good I'D go buy it Smilie

I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out

You should! It needs all the sales it can get, and it really deserves them! Smilie

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