Punch Club is a boxing tycoon simulator meets RPG. Developed by Lazy Bear Games, Punch Club puts you in the hands of living both everyday life and trying to become the next fighter for either the ring, the octagon, or the streets. Punch Club combined the two most polar opposite of gaming genres on top of a boxing setting and had me curious enough to see if it would work or not.
The graphics of Punch Club are heavily retro. The game launches with 16-bit sprites that have clearer textures, smoother models, and a current generation feeling to the overall look of the game. One interesting thing that Punch Club gives you is the option to tone it down to actual “Retro” looking graphics in the options. That selection does take it back entirely to the 8-bit sprites of the SNES and Sega Genesis days.
I give the graphics a 6.
The gameplay of Punch Club can both be incredibly satisfying and extremely grueling. Punch Club takes pride in being a title that performs as a turn based boxing RPG, having a deep and intricate fighting system to where you can build your character based on what you prefer to level up including Strength, Speed, or Stamina. Each attribute gets each of their fighting styles loaded with perks that benefit you both in and out of combat.
However, the gameplay portion of Punch Club gets incredibly grueling from the everyday life segments you have to deal with in the game. Punch Club puts you in the field of doing day by day things that tend to get in the way of progression in the story. Going to work to make money, going to the gym, hanging with friends, and dealing with your girlfriend. Each action takes so much time from your day and missing a day in the gym penalizes your skill points in your attributes.
The gameplay gets a 5.5
The music of Punch Club has a combination of both Chiptune music and samples of Synth Pop that’s both catchy and theme fitting. The battle music gets intense during the longevity of rounds and the training music in the overworld is catchy as well. However, the game does suffer from an issue in its music. The music is very repetitive as the themes consistently play all the time with no change in the songs themselves.
The music gets a 5.
I saved the story portion of Punch Club for last as this is the best part of the game. Punch Club has a huge story tree. Each path has a significant moment from one another and also inspired by movies depending on which route you take. The good path has you going through the motions of going pro in the boxing league ala Rocky. The neutral path has you going through ultimate fighting and visiting a secretive island like the movie Bloodsport. The evil path takes you down a dark road and puts you through a club that’s inspired by Fight Club, as no one talks about it in the game. Also, Punch Club comes with an added DLC called The Dark Fist which has you as a boxing superhero that teams with the in-game variant of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The story gets a 8.
Punch Club is a title I wasn’t ready for. I expected a beat em up with minigames to make money on the side or through fights. However, what I got was a great story with multiple story lines, some excellent RPG elements in the combat, and some pretty solid music. Although, what also came with Punch Club was some extremely harsh Real life Simulation. Punch Club isn’t for everyone and might be a challenge. However, fans of multiple stories, turn-based combat, and heavy micromanagement will enjoy this one.