Punch Club review for iPhone: We review Lazy Bear Games’ resource management game masquerading as a fighting title, which gives you the chance to train up a new champion fighter.
Although Punch Club may sound like your basic beat ‘em up action game, you don’t actually interact with the fighting bits. Rather, your task is to train up a fighter while managing his everyday existence, so he’s able to win bouts by being quick or strong enough, with zero input from your good self. But despite the lack of interactivity during the fight sequences, Punch Club is a fantastically addictive iOS game that is surprisingly deep too.
When Punch Club begins, you find yourself in charge of a penniless amateur boxer. You immediately hook up with a grizzled old trainer called Mick (one of many movie references scattered throughout the game) who offers to help you out and in no time at all you find yourself training at a local gym and rising through the ranks of the rookie league.
You’ll need to keep your fighter fit and healthy, which means feeding him when he’s hungry, sleeping when he’s knackered out, chilling when he’s unhappy and of course training in your garage or the local gym to boost his strength, agility and stamina. Of course, food and training cost money, especially if you want to deck out your garage with the latest equipment, so you’ll need to do some work on the side – delivering pizzas or getting busy on the construction site.
A lot of your time will be taken up with training and fighting, but there are plenty of side quests to get involved with too. You can hook up with a local mob boss if you defeat enough of his minions, for example, or get involved with some brutal street fights. You can even spar with…actually, we won’t spoil the surprise, but fans of old movies, cartoons and comics will get a kick out of some of the cheeky references. And of course there’s a love interest, to provide a welcome distraction.
As well as boosting your core stats, which determine how you perform in fights, you also have a full skills tree to unlock. This allows you to open up some devastating new moves and skills, and you can specialise in one key area. Will you become a brute, who relies on pure strength to knock down his opponents, or a more nimble and agile fighter who can dance away from danger?
Fights themselves are sadly hands-off affairs. Once you choose which moves (including punches, kicks, dodges and blocks) to use in battle, it’s simply a case of watching as the match plays out. Of course, if you’re evenly matched with your opponent then these can still be tense affairs, but it’s a shame that you can’t directly interact to help your guy out.
That small complaint aside, Punch Club is an excellent and addictive resource management game that you can pick up and play for just five minutes, or get stuck into for a lengthy gaming session. You can buy Punch Club right now for iPhone and iPad on Apple’s App Store (also available on Steam for PC), and there are no pesky in-app purchases.