Just when you thought it was safe to trade in your Wii, Nintendo pulls a rabbit out of its hat with the release of Punch-Out. I have been excited for an updated version of this game to come out for a long time and remember hoping that one would have come out on the GameCube. No luck (Although Super Punch-Out was unlockable on one of the Fight Night games). The day I bought the Wii I downloaded the Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out first thing. Until that, I was stuck blowing the dust out of my 8-bit cartridge for the longest time. I hope that it’s apparent by now that I love the Punch-Out series. Nintendo does not disappoint in this new iteration of a fan favorite. It’s everything I could have hoped for and more.
The cast of fighters is awesome ranging from some that were in the arcade version like Canadian Bear Hugger to some great new characters like the Irishman, Aran Ryan and the Disco Kid. Not to mention most of your favorite fighters like Super Macho Man, Bald Bull and Mr. Sandman. These nostalgic greats return for a whoopin’ from 5’7” Little Mac and they have never looked more stellar. Each fighting “baddy” has their own intro movie the first time you fight them and they are great. The graphics are some of the best on the Wii. I actually thought I saw a bead of sweat drip off the Wii because of how hard it was working. Speaking of sweat, the workout cut scenes with Mac and the Trainer look amazing. I still love the part where Little Mac is running behind the bike in his pink sweat suit. The art style is fantastic. This game is truly something to behold.
Gameplay is what you would expect from the series. You start your career and work your way through 3 circuits. Each circuit has 4 fighters with the exception of the final World Circuit which has 5. You can use one of two control schemes. You can use motion control, which uses the Wii mote and the Nun chuck and even allows the use of the Wii Fit board. Or, the classic way, which is turning the Wii mote sideways like an old NES controller. I have only tried the latter. It works great that way. All of the old moves are in the game. Probably the biggest change is the way the Star Punch works now. You can build it up to 3 stars and use all 3 at once but you can lose all of them with just one hit on Mac. Other than that the game is all about figuring out patterns like Bald Bull’s Charge (which has changed) as well as learning some new strategies. Things like Soda Popinski’s soda bottle play an actual role in the fights now. If you manage to knock it out of his hand, well, let’s just say it’s helpful.
Once you figure out the patterns, inevitably the fighters become fairly simple. Practice mode helps tremendously with learning these patterns because you can go in and fight a hologram of the fighter you are having a hard time with and he cant hurt you. However, once you beat the game, you can go through again and the fighters have different tricks up their sleeves. For instance, King Hippo has something to protect his weak spot the second time around. The game also includes multiplayer which is pretty fun but definitely is not the focus here. The single player has enough replay value to go around before you even jump into the split screen action. You can have 6 profile saves so it really is fun for the whole family. If you have a Wii and or if you have ever loved any game in this series, you truly owe it to yourself to add this game to the collection. It is very faithful to the classic versions and I’m sure you will be playing for quite some time. Definitely a must purchase.