Sports games are always a great break from the standard shooter and puzzle fare on iOS. They help round out gaming’s curriculum and make it a more well rounded art. Boxing has always been a genre of sport well suited for digitization. There are points, levels, and a bit of violence to keep things interesting. The latest boxer to hit the iOS is International Boxing Champions. Seems like a dull title, but lets see if it is a dull game or a knockout.
The first thing you’ll notice about International Boxing Champions is the soundtrack. It is pounding nu-metal right into your eardrums. Fitting for a game based around pounding an opponent into unconsciousness.
The graphics are great. The characters are rendered with such fidelity that it is surprising that the game is sitting in the palm of your hand. It doesn’t mess around with grandiose fly overs of the ring and arena. Instead, you’re simply treated to a rousing match of two fighters expertly rendered in polygons. All of the movements look realistic and have the kind of motion blur you usually see only in console titles or really high end mobile games. Each of the matches simply look incredible and all of the fighters have their own look and personality.
International Boxing Champions has a certain style about it. It feels like it is almost dated, yet at the same time, current. The graphics and controls work well, but the words and menus can sometimes show up as a bit low res and look like they belong in more of an arcade cabinet than a finely polished iOS game. The graphics you get after winning the fight certainly have a few jagged pixels here and there.
Speaking of controls, the layout is simple and intuitive. Each thumb acts as a fist. You have the choice of three different punches with each fist and they have cooldown periods if you spam them too much. This is great, as it prevents you from spamming buttons and forces you to think strategically, use combos, and closely wait for your opponent to drop their guard.
The opponents are also a highlight. Each one of them has a distinct fighting style and will force you to switch up strategies. Sometimes you'll have to stay on your guard until the critical moment to slip in a punch. Other times, you'll want to send a volley of combos their way. It is a great way to keep things difficult and varied.
What more can I say? International Boxing Champions is a simple boxing game done very well and is a ton of fun to play. Are there a few problems with it? Certainly. The soundtrack starts repeating after about two minutes. It would be nice to see some more challenge modes to supplement the gameplay. A survival mode in boxing is something I haven't seen yet and would be a lot of fun. Just trying to stay conscious while fighting as many opponents as you can would make for endless gameplay. Think of it as Knightmare Tower but with boxing gloves.
If you’re looking for a sporting fix to add to your iPhone, you can’t do much better than International Boxing Champions. It is simple, fun, and if I may snatch the same word again from the introduction, a knockout.