Real Boxing Review: An Ambitious, Bloody Punch-Fest
Prior to the App Store and iOS games that are powered by the freaking Unreal Engine, it would have been hard to imagine that the day would come when we’d be experiencing boxing sims on our iPhones—and having the luxury to be particular about which ones we liked best… Last year EA Sports released the revolutionary Fight Night Champion in the App Store, and until now I’d say we were all comfortable giving it the boxing title in the App Store uncontested. And now there’s Real Boxing, an Unreal-powered sim that—after just one look—is definitely cause for reevaluation.
Real Boxing comes to the App Store from Vivid Games—a studio which first brought the title to the PS Vita. It’s apparent right from the cinematic opening that Real Boxing is a game built around astonishing visuals. And why not? The Unreal Engine provides devs with that kind of power, and Vivid Games made brilliant use of it when bringing Real Boxing into the App Store. Luckily, the realism doesn’t end with outward appearances. During your first introduction to Real Boxing you’ll be whisked into a tutorial that will make sure you understand the basics of throwing jabs, hooks, and uppercuts, as well as performing blocks and dodges. If you’ve played Fight Night, most of the controls will feel familiar: taps and swipes executed on either side of the screen cause your fighter’s left or right arm to respond accordingly, and buttons at the bottom of the screen allow for blocking and dodging.
The main detraction from the Real Boxing gameplay will also be obvious to those with Fight Night experience—and that’s the total lack of footwork. You don’t get to decide where your fighter moves in the ring; instead, you time your punches and blocks along with the predetermined dance that takes place between the opponents. It’s unfortunate that this element is missing, as it’s really the only thing that might cause you to miss Fight Night now and then.
Other than that hole in the gameplay, Real Boxing has everything. You can go deep with character customization as you advance through a career, or you can handpick opponents through Game Center and introduce some friendly competition into the mix. Developing your fighter for a shot to go far in career mode requires a big emphasis on training, which is perfectly fine, since Vivid managed to make the process entertaining through various “exercises” that pit your boxer against things like the speed bag, heavy bag, and jump rope.
If you plan on playing Real Boxing for all it’s worth, it’s necessary to mention the “V-Motion Control System,” which uses your device’s camera to track your motions. Hypothetically, this lets you “be the boxer” in an Xbox Kinect or Nintendo Wii sort of way. But in actuality, the amount of time you’ll spend with V-Motion will probably be little to none, since getting your iDevice positioned in a way that lets it track your motions with even a bit of accuracy is quite a challenge… Still, the inclusion of motion-sensitive controls is impressive on its own, and they do function well enough to be considered a worthwhile novelty.
The argument could be made that a game that looks as good as Real Boxing should be downloaded by ANYONE with a passing interest in iOS gaming, regardless of whether or not you give a crap about boxing (I don’t, unless it’s on my iPhone). Vivid Games has done a remarkable job of leveraging the Unreal Engine to bring Real Boxing to the App Store, while in the process sacrificing none of the game’s visceral, blood-spattered intensity… By the time an update or two gets released (there are some “huge” ones referenced on the games iTunes page), Real Boxing will be seriously near perfection, and your training can’t start soon enough.
Our Score: 4 Out of 5 Stars