When I first started playing Real Boxing I expected an engrossing experience filled with strategic career micromanagement and intense over-complicated combat. Surprisingly, this was far from the truth. I was greeted with a simple arcade-like experience that embodies its humble iPhone origins.
Modes in Real Boxing are limited to quick fight, career, training, customisation and multiplayer. The core experience here is the fighting itself and even the career mode doesn’t try to change this; you simply fight a series of nine fights in each of the three cups and upon victory become the champion of champions. There are no special charity cup fights, no Apollo Creeds to fight your customisable Rocky, and barely any form of interaction outside of the fights themselves. A training mode exists, but this is a selection of 3 mediocre mini-games that ever so slightly increase your stats. The tenacity of playing them far outweighs their character boosting potential.
Inside the ring itself, the game gives you control over jabs, hooks and uppercuts for each hand. These are either mapped to the d-pad and the face buttons for control of the left and right hands or all 6 attacks are mapped to left, right, and the four diagonals of the Vita’s right analogue stick. Both control schemes offer advantages in combat but come with equally annoying disadvantages. The first gives you precise control over every punch you throw but in turn leaves you alternating between the left hand punches and movement with the left stick. The second returns full control of movement but the right stick is imprecise and often I found myself throwing the wrong punches.
Despite having full access to the Vita’s many different buttons, I found that the game’s original touch controls (which can be turned on in the options menu) offered the greatest form of control of my six-packed meat machine. Gestures are used to indicate which punch is to be thrown and where on the screen they are made determines which fist hits the other boxer’s face.
With multiple options of planting your fist inside somebody else’s ribs and jaw (each punch is deliciously visceral, landing with a nice thud), it is disappointing that I found myself almost button mashing to victory. A stamina gauge tries to control your overzealous punching by significantly reducing the power of your attacks when empty but this in fact worked out to be in my favour. I just spammed dodge to avoid any incoming attacks, and when one punch finally came towards and subsequently missed my face the game goes into slow-mo and lets my let rip. Every time. I never lost a single game by following this cheap strategy.
Multiplayer has left me in somewhat of a quandary. The idea of fictitiously knocking the lights out of other people in the world leaves me at a theoretical high but no one plays this game online. I spent a good hour trying to find a single game and was left disappointed. Therefore, I never had the chance to try it. It may be great, but if no one is playing it then for all intents and purposes it doesn’t exist.
- + Fighting feels fun
- - Career is lacklustre
- - Multiplayer is rendered irrelevant