Genre: Boxing
Year: 2009
Developed by: Next Level Games
Published by: Nintendo
Platforms: Wii
Feeling Like: Punching Something

My friends and family know that I’m predictable when it comes to a few things, namely dessert preferences and my inability to watch a hockey game quietly. When it comes to nomenclature for pop culture, I can sink into a rant and nobody can change my mind. It’s why people around me avoid bringing it up.

Like how video game developers and movie production studio drive me crazy when they name their products incorrectly. No, I understand it’s for marketing purposes or introducing a new demographic to a reboot or whatever, but nuts to that. There’s a right way to do things and there’s a wrong way to do things. Naming your 4th game “God of War“, instead of “God of War 4” or “War of the Norse” or ANYTHING else just confuses everybody. Now, when you mention you played “God of War“, you’ll have to explain which one. “Oh, God of War 2018.” Congratulations, now your game is called “God of War 2018”. Doesn’t that sound better?

No, it doesn’t. Same for “Doom” and “Doom (2016)“. Or “Tomb Raider” and “Tomb Raider.” How about Gears 5? It’s the middle game in a new trilogy of the Gears of War franchise. Fine, most people call it just “Gears” anyway. But then WHY CALL THE PREVIOUS GAME GEARS OF WAR 4. THIS IS SO STUPID.

Sigh. See? Sinking into a rant, and it’s all self perpetuated. But if you don’t expect a guy who spends hours ranking and writing about a huge list of video games to get his jimmies rustled at improper labels, what can you expect? Like I said, I’m predictable.

Not as predictable as Glass Joe, however

So, we have a game called Punch-Out!! for the Wii. It’s obviously an updated version of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System game, Punch-Out!! With the exact same name. I suppose the earlier version had Mike Tyson’s name attached to it depending on the timing, but it’s still the exact same name. With the same amount of exclamation points. Which is why I had to include the (Wii) in the title, menus on my blog. Why the hell does this bother me so much?

Let’s move on. Punch-Out!! (Wii) is a terrific, fun update on a tested formula that hasn’t aged poorly in the least. The concept is easy to understand and the only progression is through your own knowledge. No experience points or warp points here. You play as Little Mac, the smallest, bravest fighter in the Circuit taking on cartoonishly large, brash and outrageous villains who would love nothing more than to knock your lights out.

Don’t let Bear Hugger’s appearance fool you – he’s actually a big redneck with a mean streak.

I’ve played, and loved, both previous iterations so I felt right at home. The mechanics felt like putting on an old boxing glove. Enemies telegraph their moves a split second before they perform them, allowing you to block, dodge or interrupt their attack with a well timed jab. Your tougher opponents may seem invincible at first, but it’s amazing how quickly you turn the tide after a few attempts. You’ll go from Gabby Jay to Mike Tyson in no time.

The presentation is terrific, with amusing still shots of all the contestants before you battle. The slow motion KOs are satisfying, and the training mode allows a little relief for poor pugilists like myself. I still want a full HD version one day, but I’m not certain they haven’t already milked this idea for all it’s worth.

Von Kaiser’s mustache is his only redeeming quality

Still, a lot of great stuff here. Even with using motion controls, I felt like I was stepping into Little Mac’s shoes. A tough victory after several agonizing defeats felt truly earned. Donkey Kong is a secret opponent. It’s fully voice acted. There’s nothing about real boxing in here – which is great. I love everything about the world of Boxing – the personalities, the spectacle, the history, the hype – EXCEPT for the actual Boxing. You don’t have to worry about that with Punch Out!! (Wii). This is an arcade game based around pattern recognition and making the other guy’s chin meet the mat. I loved it, even if the name should’ve been anything BUT what it is.

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