Don’t be fooled by it’s initial looks. Developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild, Punch Club is an 8-bit looking game that’s highly addicting and extremely fun to play. What’s even better are some of the reactions that players have while playing the game. Don’t think so? Then check it out for yourself on Twitch. The emotions range from dances of joy when you win a fight you thought you were going to lose to fits of rage from getting beat by someone who just throws kicks. In the end, the game is a must have for your collection, and here are some reasons why.
The main story of the game should be familiar if you’ve ever seen any kind of boxing movie. They all tend to go in the same direction, but that shouldn’t deter you because the RPG elements allow the player to stray from the usual path and change things up. For example, there is a girl you meet and it’s completely up to you if you want to start a relationship with her. If you don’t, then no harm will come, but if you do, there may be benefits you could look forward to (it’s nothing sexual, so get your head out of the gutter); like falling in love and thus improving your performance while training in the gym.
Speaking of the gym, one of the best aspects of the game is finding the right balance between working out, making money through odd jobs, and resting yourself. Naturally, just like in real life, if you don’t keep a steady workout schedule, then you begin to lose some of that strength or agility overtime. The same thing happens in Punch Club. Every time the day ends, you lose points in all three of your major categories – Strength, Speed, and Stamina. To increase the stats in each one, you need to work out at the gym or at home. There is even a job that will work you out in two of the categories. Some of the workouts include a punching bag, speed bag, bench press, treadmill, and even hitting a giant tire with a sledge hammer.
An important thing to remember as you workout is to keep an eye on your energy gauge. You need energy to workout. No energy, no workout. Also, you get hungry during the day like a normal person. So, there will be times when you’ve got all the energy in the world, but you haven’t had a meal in hours. If you’re lacking in any of these areas, the game will not allow you to do anything until you eat something or get some sleep. However, when it comes to energy, you can find other ways to obtain more energy other than sleep. Energy drinks are a big help, and they’ll help with your hunger as well. Not as much as a steak would help, but a little nonetheless.
So now you’re ready for your first fight. Once you’ve gotten past the introductions, you’ll be able to sign up for league fights. At this point, your fate is in the hands of the RNG (random number generator) gods. That’s right. The fights are all determined by the roll of a die. Not the entire match, but whether you hit with a punch or a kick, or if you dodge or block. Now you’re probably asking what’s the point of working out if your not going to be the one controlling your character during the fight. Working out will help improve your odds of landing a punch or kick, or dodge or block.
After you’ve defeated your first opponent you’ll be able to start spending your rewards. Some fights will earn you some money. Based on how you do during the fight, you could lose a little or a lot of health. However, most of the fights will gain you some amount of skill points. These skill points are important for you in order to gain new skills in your talent tree. It’s here where you gain new moves to hit with in your fights, as well as gain skills to help you workout. For example, there’s a talent that will allow you to gain 15% more points Strength if you workout on the bench press, punching bag, etc.
As you progress later in the game, you’ll start to come across other characters, ask to take part in “other” fights, meet a familiar friend outside of a bar, and maybe even meet some “heroes.”
Punch Club really sets the bar for what future strategy/simulator games should be. It also shows that you don’t need to create a game to run on the latest engine or have big guns. To sum things up, Punch Club has a good story, solid game play, and a sweet soundtrack. The real kicker is the high replay value. Try building yourself a fighter who specializes in kicks during one play through and then build a fighter who specializes in just evasion and counters the next time.
The game was originally released on Jan. 8, 2016 for Steam on PC and can also be found on iOS as of Jan. 14. Android users can download the game starting Jan. 28. As of Monday, the game surpassed 100,000 copies on both platforms and has grossed more than $1 mil.