This review was originally written in 2021. It is reproduced here with no edits.
- Fast-paced touchscreen action
- Does a great job mimicking retro gameplay, but with added depth
- Great sound design
- Plenty of features and options even if you don’t go premium
- Inexpensive to upgrade
- The visuals are merely serviceable
- The wealth of options can sometimes be a bit overwhelming
Released back in 2020, the original Prizefighters for iPhone and iPad was a great mobile update of Nintendo’s classic Punch-Out!! arcade game from 1983. The arcade game featured a portrait-oriented screen, which Prizefighters successfully mimicked for their mobile game. Of course, as a home game, Prizefighters added some much-needed depth to the quarter-eating action formula of Punch-Out!!. Now, Koality Game LLC is back with Prizefighters 2.
Interestingly, for this sequel, Koality Game LLC went with a landscape screen orientation more akin to the 1987 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) home port of the arcade game, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!. Its visuals are also updated, with a look somewhere between that NES game and the Super Nintendo Super Punch-Out!! game from 1994, although still not as attractive as the latter or arcade original.
Of course, what really matters is the gameplay. In that regard, Prizefighters 2 does a great job of capturing the type of retro boxing experiences it’s taken inspiration from. Despite the inherent limitations of a touch screen for this type of game, using your choice of button-based controls or touch and swipe gestures, you have precise control over your boxer’s jabs, hooks, and uppercuts, as well as dodges and blocks.
For button-based controls, there’s a virtual d-pad on the left for movement, four buttons on the right for punches, and two square buttons for blocks. The top button throws a right jab to your opponent’s head, while the right button throws a right jab to the body. The bottom button throws a left jab to your opponent’s body, while the left button throws a left jab to the head. By varying your approach, you can throw crosses, hooks, and upper cuts.
The more punches you land, the more your momentum meter is filled. You can then hold any attack button to throw a power punch. It does a lot of damage, but is much slower than a regular punch, so you’ll need good timing. If you do land a power punch, there’s a solid chance your opponent will hit the canvas.
For defense, you can block left or right with the left or right square buttons, respectively. You can also dodge punches by tapping left, right, or down on the virtual d-pad. Combined with forwards and backwards ring movement, where you head towards or away from your opponent, you have access to a fairly large strategy set that you can match to your desired play style.
In the free version of the game, you have access to the action, or Quick Fight mode, as well as the basic Career if you want to fight for the title. If you want to upgrade to the Premium Edition and add Boxing Gym Manager and Be the Promoter modes, there’s a modest fee of $2.99 USD. This one-time purchase also allows you to customize entire leagues and open up 10 career save slots, versus the standard two.
There are plenty of options to customize features before each match and a nice stats summary at the end of every fight. Whether you want to micro-manage various aspects of the game or just jump in and punch away, Prizefighters 2 allows for it. This same type of customization applies to the other game modes, with, for instance, a huge range of customization options to make your boxer yours and advance his skillset in Career mode.
The sound design is also worthy of mention. While the visuals merely get the job done, the sound effects really help sell the impact of punches. The pumping soundtrack also helps add to the intensity of fights. This is one game where wearing headphones is highly recommended.
If you’re looking for a retro-inspired action boxing game with depth, Prizefighters 2 really delivers. Its wealth of customization options are seemingly endless with plenty of modes – even if you don’t upgrade – to keep your attention for a long time.
Score: 5 (out of 5)