A free-to-play Android boxing app that’s heavy on the graphics quality, but also on the wallet
Gloves On, Wallets Out
Blood, sweat, and boxing gloves: the perfect combination for many mobile-owning boxing fans. There are few boxing sims out there that can reach the level of Punch Boxing 3D when it comes to appearance and animations. It’s a gorgeous-looking game, with large amounts of polish extending from the game’s menus through to the supremely detailed fighting animations and what are effectively console-quality graphics. In the interest of balance, however, I’m obligated to cover the game’s negatives in this review too, which stem mainly from the unfair advantage enjoyed by premium-paying players, and the incessant grinding necessary to make any progress if you don’t wish to pay any real money.
Punch Boxing 3D’s entire premise feels a tad muddled from the start. Of course this is a straight-up boxing game, concerned with putting you, the player, in the ring in order to fight against a variety of opponents, each of whom increases in difficulty as you move on to the next. It’s a classic freemium model, too, with a dual-currency system consisting of easy-to-earn coins and hard-to-earn cash. There’s also an energy system, and you’ll need certain quantities of energy to fight and/or train. This is quite straightforward, but it’s the gameplay that’s a little more muddled when it comes to what the developers are trying to achieve here.
Before I cover why the gameplay itself is somewhat muddled in its execution, I’d like to point out that it’s still reasonably entertaining. Fights are undertaken in the third-person perspective, with touch-screen controls that are intuitive, possessing a realistic feeling even though they’re interspersed with some classic on-screen button controls. Taps on either side of the screen initiate jabs, hooks are achieved by swiping left or right on the screen, and uppercuts by swiping upwards on the screen. You can also clinch, which you can break out of by tapping rapidly. There’s’ also an on-screen button that allows you to block. So far so simple, but the confused execution in the gameplay isn’t down to the controls, but rather a problem with the animations and/or pace of the matches.
Letting the Guard Down
The problem I mention above isn’t on that ruins the gameplay, but it does affect how the matches feel. The main problem is that Punch Boxing 3D is marketed as a flashy, fast-paced boxing game. It achieves the flashiness through some pretty impressive graphics (mentioned below) and a huge amount of polish on everything from the menus to the player models. However, the impact of the matches is severely undermined by some pretty sub-standard animation, including some fairly wooden-feeling movements from the players, poorly looped/executed sound effects, and an altogether jerky feel to the punches themselves.
Many people on the app store reviews have complained about the lack of any feeling of real impact when it comes to the punches – and after spending hours with the game, I’m inclined to strongly agree. What’s worse, the animations don’t flow from one move to another, with each different move feeling like it’s tacked together, lacking in any real flow and with a noticeable absence of smooth, well-connected combinations. So in this respect, I feel that developers Canadadroid let their metaphorical guard slip down a little bit. Continue Reading
Release Date: 11/09/2015
Custom Fighters, Rage Knockouts for your Bouts
In spite of its somewhat lacklustre punches and the oddly relaxed pace of its matches – a stark contrast to say, Real Steel World Boxing - has some fairly engrossing arcade-like features to allow it to claw its way back into the metaphorical match that is this review. Firstly, one of the main arcade-like features is the Rage Punch attack, which can be performed when your boxer’s Rage Bar is full. You can execute this punch when your avatar is on fire – just tap your avatar in the corner and you’ll execute the punch, which depletes your opponent’s health significantly.
Other features that add to the longevity of the game are the Gym, which is used to train your boxer to improve his stats. You can train three different free sessions per day, as well as spend coins on various stats such as your stamina, defense, and speed. There are also items that you can buy that change both the appearance and the stats of your fighter. For example, you can purchase different footwear which has the potential to increase your speed. Likewise, you can purchase wrist wraps, shorts, and also gloves, all of which have varying positive effects on your various stats.
It’s all About the Payoff: Monetisation and Conclusion
Now we come to most peoples’ main contention about this game: the currency system. Though freemium is fast becoming the go-to system for developers to make their apps both popular and lucrative, in this case the balance is skewed in favour of the developer. It takes a long time even to earn enough coins from matches, let alone the premium-level cash, which is very rare unless you get involved with the in-app purchases.
One of the saving graces here is this game’s impressive graphics, which are admittedly as good as Real Boxing, if not better. We’re talking just shy of console quality here, too, so if you’re after a seriously good-looking boxing game that seemingly compromises its gameplay quality in favour of slick graphics and a polished appearance, then Punch Boxing 3D will likely appeal to you.