The Punchuin (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 01.02.2023

Review for The Punchuin on Nintendo Switch

Shin'en, the developer of The Tourist and Fast RMX released a surprise 2D puzzler. The Punchuin was released shortly before Christmas 2022 and marks the team's first 2D game in a good while. This release is also a Switch exclusive unlike its previous title which was multiplatform. How does this fare - can it punch above its weight?

A plucky boxing penguin goes on a quest for treasure. Guided by a huge deity-like boxing glove they make their way to the bottom of the mountain interacting with colourful characters. The goal is to complete puzzle levels and upgrade the Penguin's punching abilities along the way. The adventure takes the form of a puzzler, and a unique one at that. It's not the longest title ever but it's got a lot of content to make its runtime special. It's obvious that Shi'nen had a crystal-clear vision for this game and they executed it perfectly. Progressing through the levels unlocks each of the three sections, with each area adding new hazards and most adding one to two characters to interact with.

With a couple of exceptions, the levels themselves are puzzles. Puzzling in here is quite unique. Think of Match-3 gameplay, but with punching, platforming and some nice constraints to go with it. Some of the blocks are breakable and manoeuvring the blocks into stacks is very satisfying and pitched just right in terms of difficulty. Failure comes in many forms with either blocks stacking too high or falling in lava, both instantly reset to the map screen. Luckily, loading is like snapping fingers, extremely quick meaning several failures don't get tiresome when learning a level gimmick. Some levels also have set solutions that the player must solve, these levels usually have a larger reward and take quite some problem solving.

Screenshot for The Punchuin on Nintendo Switch

To incentivise players, this offers collectables. There are two main types: crystals gained by beating levels, and coins collected during levels. Coins can be used to purchase upgrades, and these upgrades are crucial for some of the side missions. They can power up the basic punch or expand the move set, which will save you in a pinch, especially in certain special levels or boss fights. Yup, this has a couple of boss fights - they repurpose the normal puzzle gameplay into a 2D battle. It's not always balanced in the players favour but it feels great to win! Mini-games are in here too and require a different use of the normal punches and platforming making sure players really get the most out of the gameplay.

Visually the pixel art aesthetic of The Punchuin is fantastic. Everything is colourful and stylish, while the characters have a lot of personality in both their design and animations. The puzzle blocks are nice and distinct with clear colours to differentiate them from one another. The map screen and UI elements are similarly drawn with pixel art, lending the whole game a cohesive charming visual makeup. This is supported by an appropriately "bloompy" chiptune soundtrack. When it needs to be it can be intense, but at other times the music is chill and atmospheric. Sound effects are similarly great with pleasing bloops when jumping and punching and suitable reverb when in caves and caverns. It's such a great wintery atmosphere.

Screenshot for The Punchuin on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The Punchuin is a delightful adventure where players take a journey through a variety of progressively complex puzzle rooms, meeting eclectic characters, and enjoying the wintery atmosphere. It's a short experience, but it more than makes up for it with just the right amount of substance. A perfect wintery pick-up for all puzzle lovers looking for a charming retreat.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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


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