Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Real Boxing [PS Vita]: The Affordable Game That Really Packs A Punch!

We here at Mini Gamers HQ were a little bit suspicious when we saw that Real Boxing had been priced for download at a mere £7.99. With so many other PS Vita titles retailing for almost triple that amount, we began to wonder why the game had been given such a low price tag. Nevertheless, within minutes of downloading the game, we realised that we had in fact purchased a real bargain...

The first thing that players will be expected to do upon starting the game is to customise their boxing avatar. Although the customisation options are less sophisticated than some of the current games on the market, players can name their avatar as well as choose the colour of an avatars shorts or trousers, gloves and/or boots, alter their hairstyle, and even add a range of interesting tattoos to help give their avatar a more personal look.
Next, Players are treated to a thorough tutorial. Real Boxing allows gamers to choose whether to conduct their boxing moves via the PS Vita buttons or the dual analogue sticks.
Mini Gamers found it better using the analogue sticks for movement and the buttons for defence and attack moves, but this may not be the same for everyone. Nevertheless,  the controls are surprisingly easy to master, with the D-Pad controlling left fist punches such as jabs, uppercuts, and left hooks, whilst the X, O, Square and Triangle buttons do the same for the right fist. Each of these moves can be easily duplicated by the left and right analog sticks as well.
Holding down the R button will allow your avatar to protect his face from any direct punches, whilst briefly pressing down the R button during your opponents attack will allow your avatar to dodge the oncoming blow and even give him the chance to execute a cheeky counter-attack.
The main object of the game is to drain your opponents health bar as quickly as possible whilst trying to stop them from depleting your avatar's stamina and destroying their health bar.
Stamina can be restored by simply standing still and not throwing any punches, but your avatar's health bar will continue to deplete with every successful punch from your opponent, so defence is equally as important as attack in this game.
There are two main mini games included in Real Boxing. Firstly, there is a Clinch mini game. If your avatar's stamina bar and health bar are both almost depleted, then holding both the L+R buttons together will allow your avatar to execute a clinch (AKA a grapple).
Once in the initial clinch, players must move the PS Vita console from side to side very gently so that the moving indicator arrow stays in the 'green zone'. A successful clinch earns your avatar some extra stamina and can even increase their health bar slightly, making a knockout from your opponent less likely.

Secondly, if your avatar has been knocked out by their opponent, the game automatically enters the KO mini game. Essentially, what this entails is a mad button-press of the L + R buttons before the on-screen count reaches ten.
If you manage to successfully fill your avatar's energy gauge before the count reaches ten, your avatar will get up off the mat and the fight will resume. However, if an avatar gets knocked out too many times during a round, it becomes impossible to fill their energy gauge and you will lose the fight against your opponent.

 The game features three game modes: Career Mode consists of three tournaments that begin with a group stage and progress to a few knockout rounds, where your avatar will hopefully earn a championship belt and the chance to increase either their strength, speed or stamina, which will hopefully help your avatar to progress in subsequent matches. Bonus points will also be awarded if players manage to successfully execute the challenge set at the beginning of the tournament.

 Exhibition mode allows players to jump straight into the ring against a CPU opponent. This is good for gamers who are just looking to fill a bit of spare time and also makes for excellent practise when playing against other gamers in multiplayer mode.

Real Boxing also features both online multiplayer and local multiplayer, which means that players can choose to test their boxing skills against online opponents or challenge their friends in ad-hoc mode.

This game has been brilliantly designed by its creators, Vivid Games, and has made the leap from the iPhone to handheld console very well. In fact, any flaws in the game are minor.
The commentary is sometimes a bit repetitive, with the same phrases being offered again and again, and the fact that the menu can only be accessed via the touchscreen is slightly annoying, but none of that really matters once players immerse themselves in the action of the game.
This game is a must-buy for any boxing fan. It has excellent gameplay and graphics, which far excel its £7.99 price tag. Overall rating: 8/10.

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