There are several pitfalls of youth you've got to avoid — like peeing your pants in public or getting picked last for the lunchtime basketball game — but probably most terrifying is losing to Glass Joe. See, losing to the first guy in Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! is akin to failing the tutorial that teaches you how to play the game. You just don't do it.
Anyway, 15 years have passed, we're all sorta grown-up now, and Iron Mike may have tossed in the towel ages ago, but lots of familiar faces still want to punch your face in — from Glass Joe to fan fave King Hippo. There's plenty of boxing nostalgia here for those who remember the NES classic, as well as added personality to draw newer players.
The game has three play options, depending on your commitment to either the boxing experience or looking absofuckinlutely ridiculous. You can be lazy, and use your wiimote as a standard control pad, use the nunchuck to simulate punching motions, while still using the control stick to stick and move, or, if you're hardcore, use the wii fit board to motion your dodging and blocking. The full-body option is tiring — so no one can say video games make you fat — but it's not so much that you'll be replacing the P90X fitness system with Punch Out!! anytime soon.
Gameplay is fast and easy to pick up, especially if you've played a Punch Out!! set before. With so many modern games having an AI so advanced you'd think you were up against Skynet, it's a breath of fresh air to play a game that won't take you long to feel comfortable trading punches with much larger opponents. You figure out the pattern your opponent is using and reply in kind; it's simple, but not easy, especially in later rounds. Most fun is the multiplayer option, where two can duke it out in a split-screen mode until one player has landed enough punches to temporarily turn into Giga Mac; a hulking monster who's easily the largest character in the game.
In all, Punch Out!! gives it up; it has enough meat on the bones for a fun party game or a solid one-player experience. Just don't lose to Glass Joe. —Bryant Franks
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