A boxing tycoon management game named 'Punch Club', it was too fun an idea to pass up on. I took a look and here's my findings.
I actually waited a little while for some patches to come in before properly giving it a go, as people did have legitimate complains with it, which have now been nerfed somewhat. Looks like now is as good a time as any to take a gander.
I did rather like the fact that it started in windowed mode by default, the amount of games that screwed up when I used to use two monitors was troublesome, so being able to set things up before it takes over your screen is welcome.
It's quite impressive on my first look, the graphics are retro, but in the appealing and good looking sense. It even has a really retro intro video, that is also done quite well and it doesn't take up too much of your time.
It really wasn't long before my first fight, since I decided to walk to my first job and got jumped on the way there, what crappy luck is that! After this initial fight it gave me my first perk of "Thin Guy" which is annoyingly appropriate!
What's funny, is the game is titled Punch Club, but your starting skill is Kicking. Amusing, but you can unlock the Punch skill about 20 minutes in.
It's very much a management sim, and not an action game so don't go buying this if you're into the beat-em-up type games. The fighting is done for you, after you have picked which moves you want to do during the battle.
The only problem I have with it even after a short time, is that early on in the game it hasn't made fights seem all that interesting. Especially as you really are limited on your skill choices at the start, which makes the preparation screen completely pointless when you have nothing to pick each round. I can understand why it's there though, if it wasn't it would give the impression that the fights later on are much simpler than they are (when you actually unlock new moves).
Originally, I thought the game needed a speed option for the fights. I thought that way until one particular fight I won't forget in a hurry. I had my opponent down to 1 health, and I was on 10. The only problem was that I had very little energy left (I didn't put any training into Stamina), and he had quite a bit. I actually felt quite tense watching it, and I would have missed out on that feeling if I had sped it up with an option. It was frustrating, but awesome at the same time. The rest of the fights have all needed a speed up option though, so I'm a little torn on it.
I do love when you're training, you see coloured bubbles float off into the skill you're currently training to fill it up, it's a really well done effect to show your progress:
It's not as easy as it may first seem, while each day you can train your Strength, Agility or Stamina, you also lose stats every day. You need to keep what you do each day balanced enough to keep yourself strong.
It's certainly not as simple as it looks. At one point I went to the gym and some fella asked me over to help, once finished he told me about some secret underground fighting I can do to earn money. The only problem with that, is my guy could get seriously injured, but damn food takes so much money, and the gym fee of $10 every time is extortion.
I feel like it needs a good bit of balancing work. It feels like no matter what path I choose I face a big grind doing it. It's really hard to find the right balance of earning money, working out and eating all while sleeping enough to have energy. If you focus too much on one thing, then everything else suffers. The game feels very punishing right now.
There's a couple of things that I wish I had realised at the start:
1) You can wait until the very end of the day for a league fight
2) Don't forget you can workout for free in your garage, I completely forgot about this as soon as I could go to the gym
One thing that's bugging me the most: the end of the day pop-up, as it disrupts whatever you were doing at the time. If it would just pause what's going on behind instead of resetting you to doing nothing I wouldn't get so annoyed with it.
The TMNT reference fight was pretty fun, but I chose to do it way too soon.
Final thoughts: It's one of the most interesting management simulators I've ever played. A great time killer that's for sure, and I did enjoy my time a fair bit. It has a little bit of re-playability in it, but due to the grind I'm not sure how fun it will be a second time around. I'm already feeling a bit of fatigue with it, and I've only played just over two hours. I'm a little torn on this title. At this point, it's a maybe, I'm not saying go out quickly and buy it, but I'm not saying don't buy it either.
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