- Platform: PlayStation Vita
- Published by: Vivid Games
- Developed by: Vivid Games
- Genre: Sports Simulator
- ESRB Rating: T for Teen
- Number of Players: 1-2
- Release Date: September 17, 2013
Real Boxing comes from iOS and Android to PS Vita in an upgraded version of the popular mobile boxing sim. Featuring new modes, online multiplayer, improved visuals, and more, Vivid Games aimed for this to be the best version of their game. Did Real Boxing on the Vita turn out to be a knockout win or a tomato can?
When starting the game, Real Boxing opens with a good-looking cinematic of fighters engaging in a fast paced boxing match, the gameplay proves to be a little different though. As you reach the main menu, the game got to be a little confusing for a first-timer. There, the user interface is touch-based and a little disorienting at first. There’s no explanation as to what to do, where to go, r how to use the main menu. After tinkering around with all of the buttons on the Vita and the touch screen, eventually I figured out that I was supposed to choose or create a fictional fighter using touch controls. Using the touch screen, I went ahead and customized my own fighter. Customization options are fairly limited at the start of the game, picking hair styles and skin color, plus a few skin markings and outfits – but as you play more, more things are unlocked. From there, you can choose a quick fight, to go into career mode, multiplayer, or the gym.
Career mode takes you on the journey of an amateur boxer climbing up the ladder against several opponents. There is no story mode, cutscenes, or glitz and glamour for your progression, however you do get skill points that improve your fighter’s abilities in strength, speed, and stamina. Oh, and you get money. As mentioned before, there are other unlockables that provide opportunities to customize your character. These can be obtained through the money you win in matches. What’s more, you can also spend money on upgrading your skills. The career mode doesn’t feel too rewarding, but it does provide an opportunity to improve your fighter and get a handle on the gameplay controls.
The there are two options that you can choose from when it comes to controls. You can either use the touch screen to fight, or you can use the buttons and analog sticks to fight. The latter seems to be a bit more responsive and a better way to control your character to the best of your ability. While the gameplay action felt a little slow and stiff, it did capture the brutal action of a boxing match. Buttons and analog sticks were responsive and the fights were fairly challenging. Learning how and where to hit, when to hit, is all essential to winning fights especially as you move on to the harder rounds.
Fortunately, you can hone your skills through the Gym which gives you a few different mini games where you follow cues to follow and a sparring partner to practice on. As you successfully complete gym challenges, you can also unlock perks which can help you during the real fights. The gym is a nice addition to the game, but it felt a little shallow in comparison to the rest of the game and the possibilities of what you could do in a gym.
When it comes to online multiplayer, I have found that this mode, like many other games that involve fighting, is mainly for the pros. While it was difficult to find a match (provided that not many people have the game), I eventually found a few matches where I could test my skills and my fighter against some other players around the world. After battling hard for several rounds, I fell to the champions – only to later realize that my character was grossly under trained. After going a few more career modes and hitting the gym, I went back online and got whooped again. So… maybe it was my skills too. A bit of both? Well, there’s no excuse. I lost. But the matches were long and fun. The only modes gave me an opportunity to test my skills against real people who proved to be much more challenging than the AI in the game, and also gave me more incentive to train and level up my fighter. Playing online was a smooth experience with no lag or glitches that I noticed in my few rounds.
Graphically, the game looks pretty good. While it’s no Killzone Mercenary, Real Boxing does provide fairly good graphics in gameplay, with smooth frame rates. Considering that there’s no need to worry about environments or several things happening on the screen at once, I guess Vivid had an advantage when it came to making the game look good on the handheld.
I am admittedly not a big fan of boxing. Still, I enjoyed going a few rounds with friends on games like Fight Night. While Real Boxing isn’t the best boxing game you’ll ever play, it’s a satisfactory start on the Vita. With all of the upgrades, button controls, and new features, Real Boxing on the Vita is the best version out of the iOS and Android versions as well. The game isn’t going to overly impress you graphically, or amaze you with the best gameplay out of any boxing game, however it still manages to pull away and provide a somewhat enjoyable experience. Although it was slow in some areas of gameplay and lacked any real incentive to keep you involved in the game, Real Boxing proved to be a solid way to chip away at some time here and there on the Vita for boxing fans. If you’re a boxing fan and are looking for a way to get your dose of the action on the go, then Real Boxing is a good deal for you.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
[Note: A free copy of this game was provided for review]