Punch Out!! Wii Review
Punch-Out!!’s resurrection has been long overdue. Nintendo has finally opened up the gaming vault and called in the development team from Mario Strikers to splash a fresh coat of paint on the beloved and underused Punch-Out franchise.
The series has always been recognized for its unique characters and Punch-Out!! Wii has them in spades. The pre-match cutscenes and hilarious fight animations add a wonderful dimension to the characters and shy away from relying on stereotypes. Glass Joe’s black turtlenecks hide his chicken neck, Bear Hugger uses bears as sparring partners and King Hippo eats a lot of meat and tropical fruit.
Punch Out!! Wii Review - Graphics and Sound (4 out of 5)
The cutscenes are vivid and sprinkled with humor. Characters are sharply rendered with a bright, crisp appearance, and they sport a stylish cel-shaded look. The wacky character animations are smooth and fluid whether you’re facing the charge of Bald Bull, trying to dodge the hurricane punch of Macho Man or avoiding a bear hug from King Hippo.
The contenders all speak their native language so some of the dialogue will be foreign to many gamers, but the voice acting is excellent. You’ll laugh at the verbal sparring of these characters, assuming you’re able to follow their bantering. This is a great addition to the game and really breathes life into the characters. The soundtrack is also a highlight, with energy-filled tunes that appropriately match the characters' personalities and fighting styles.
Punch Out!! Wii Review - Gameplay and Controls (4 out of 5)
Punch-Out!! is one of the most accessible Wii games to hit the market, with difficulty that increases at an even pace as you progress. It also features functionality that makes jumping in to a fight a seamless experience and a presentation that is faultless. You need to duck, dodge, block, punch high and punch low to succeed. The movements are fluid and satisfying.
You should be able to cruise through the first few fights, but they start to increase in difficulty as you enter the Major Circuit. Fortunately, if you are having trouble with a certain opponent, you can use the useful practice mode to take on a holographic version of the fighter to hone your skills.
Once you have beaten the entire roster of challengers, new cutscenes will show you how your defeated opponents have dealt with defeat and are planning to get revenge. In the second career these opponents have improved their boxing ability with defensive skills, new punches, new looks and increased punching power.
Multiplayer has been added to Punch-Out!! in the form of a split-screen Mac vs. Mac fight that is almost as fun and exciting as the single player experience. However, the lack of online play and variety of game modes in the offline experience leaves a lot to be desired.
The default Wii controls work well enough for the first round of opponents. Once you make it to the second career the classic NES control scheme works better, as it provides a higher level of precision punching. There is also an option for you to use the Balance Board, but it wasn’t accurate enough for the finesse required in Punch-Out!!.
You have the option to, at any time, schedule an exhibition bout with any previously defeated fighter to attempt three achievement-style challenges. You’ll try to K.O. this fighter in under a minute, or try to discover the characters' one-hit kill.
Punch Out!! Wii Review Review - Final Verdict (4 out of 5)
Punch-Out!! delivers the knockout punch Nintendo was looking for, and developer Next Level deserves a tip of the hat for doing an outstanding job of making this game even better than the original Punch-Out title. It’s only unfortunate the multiplayer functions weren’t fleshed out a bit more to give the game some longevity. Despite its shortcomings, there’s no better way to annihilate a friend or foe while being totally entertained than dispensing a Punch-Out!! pummeling.