REVIEW: Punch Club

Steam: Released

Developer: Lazy Bear Games

Publisher:  tinyBuild

Genre: Boxing Tycoon Management

Release date: 8th January 2016

Type: Single–player

This game brings back some little memories of my childhood and it also showed how you can promote the game. I remember that developer and publisher decided to put this game on Twitch so that people can play it. The catch was that as soon as people finish the game on TwitchPlay, the game would be automatically released on Steam and so it was.

The game is now sold in more than 150k+ copies, but that’s not only because of that great marketing and promotion, but the game itself. It is fantastic and I will try to bring that “fantastic” closer to you guys.

I was born in 1994 and in my childhood I mainly played NES games and so every time I see a new game with that old-school graphic style, I just want to play it. Same thing was with Punch Club when I first saw the pictures and videos of the game. Punch Club uses 16-bit pixel graphics and developers did a great job with graphics in the game. Pixel art is just amazing, this is one of the best game with pixel graphics. Also, the developers paid attention to the details, so you will find each building and interior of it, very detailed. In the same line I must mention the music that is fantastic and certainly adds that nice touch to the game. When you create such a good graphics and music, you get very pleasant experience.

I needed to mention graphics and music first, because as I said, this game brings back some little memories from childhood. Punch Club has a story and it’s pretty sad, at least on the start of the game. When you start the game, you will need watch few cut scenes made with in-game engine. It first shows your dad training and you playing with your brother, same that day you witness your dad’s death. As he was dying your dad says that you are going to be better than him. After all that, the dad’s police friend takes care of you and then the game starts. You sleep and the phone ringing wakes you up. First few minutes of the game is just a tutorial in which you learn how to control your character what can you do with him and where you can go.

Punch Club is by the official description boxing tycoon management game. I find this game technically very simple, but then again you must pay attention to a lot of stuff. First of all you must pay attention about your boxing and the league you are competing. Then you must watch for yourself: work, eat, sleep, excercise and many more thing. You will also become a hero, Dark Fist, later and you can ultimate fight to earn more money, but also get beaten and injured. In the end this game is probably more complicated than you think, be carefull. I have two saves at the moment. In the first save I tried to manage everything, but that’s just too hard task and I think it’s impossible. Also don’t ignore the game tips, especially that book that you will get in the game. The book itself say that you need to focus on one stat or ability to train. There are three stats to improve: Strength, Agility, Stamina. In the second save (my current) I first trained Stamina and ignored the other two abilities, after that I unlocked some skill that doesn’t allow your Stamina to drop under 4th level, then I started to train my strength and now I am on the way to unlock the same skill as for stamina. In between all of that training and unlocking skills, you must work to earn money, so that you can eat and go to the gym which you pay $10 every time (that’s with discount).  After some time I realized that I could work more and train less so that I can collect money for my own training equipment, which means I will save $10 every time I need to train. In the beginning you will not notice those $10, but later you will see how much that will help you. The game just gets more complicated as you progress, because you meet more people, you have more locations unlocked on the map to visit and the key word for this game is: balance.

It’s very hard to achieve balance in this game as in the real life, but balance is needed in this world. Take my tips and tips from the game. First train one ability, unlock that skill that will prevent dropping your skill under level 4, after that start training second ability or save money for your own equipment so that you don’t need to pay $10 each time you go to the gym. Of course, sign up for the amateur league in the gym and fight as much as you can, because by that you get those skill points, but you can get them whenever you beat someone. Sometimes if you are walking through the city, you might get attacked by bandits and you always have three options: to run away, fight or just give them money to leave you alone. Also don’t forget to work and that’s probably biggest pain in ass of this game, untill you find out about ultimate fights or the illegal fights. Be carefull with them, I fought only once and you must be much stronger and everything if you want to win and earn money from ultimate fights. Later in the game you will find some strange suitcase in which you will find little computer and some antenna. In the beginning you will not know what’s the purpose of the suitcase, but later you will become a Dark Fist. Hero that prevents crime in the town, so just another task to do, but God thanks this one is optional. As you fight more and against better opponents, you will meet new friends, but this game doesn’t have friendship system or relationship system. That’s maybe a good or bad thing, it depends how you look on the game. I think the game is enough complicated without that, so for me it’s a good thing there is no relationship system.

Game is very good design, it’s pretty minimalistic in my opinion. You will easily navigate through the game, no real problems with anything in the game, beside balancing your life. On the left side you have all needed information about you, fights, city map, skill tree and story tree. In the up, you will find informations about your ability, health, hunger, happiness, energy, money, skill points and time. I forgot to mention in previous paragraphs that there is a time in this game and every action costs some time. When you are going somewhere, you can always choose the bus or walking. It’s up to you, I mostly walk, because I don’t want to lose money, but then again I probably lose a lot of time on walking, because when you are using bus, you don’t lose the time at all or maybe just a tiny part of it. Using map is very simple. The whole map is like a ground-plan and only the locations that you can visit are 2D sprites. I can compare it to the Monopoly or some other similar game. Most of the actions is scripted, so you basically cannot interrupt them, but since this isn’t an action game, that doesn’t affect the gameplay or your experience. Sometimes it can be frustrating for dialogue to finish, because you can’t interrupt it or speed it up.

Punch Club is a good game to spend your free time. It’s probably too complicated to enjoy fully or as you enjoy in some other games. The complexity of the game has probably driven away some players and that’s why this game wasn’t sold in more copies than it is. 180k sold copies isn’t a small number, but then again this is a unique game I would say, there aren’t a lot of other similar games that you can play and that are so good as Punch Club. That’s why I think developers made just a little bit complicated game, if this game was a little simpler, I think it would have been more popular and people would enjoy in it much more. For me this game is complicated, but that doesn’t bother me and I enjoy in the game, no maybe so much, but I do. I recommend this game, because it’s cheap ($10?), it’s good, you will enjoy and it’s unique. Don’t miss the chance to play one of better indie games of this year. Remember: this is a very good game to spend your free time. Most of the game I review I just don’t continue to play, because of a lot of games getting out and needed to be review, but I think I will continue to play Punch Club. I think that says enough.

RATING: 70/100

Written by
Lost Child
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June 2016

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