Prizefighters 2 for Android
By Philip Orona
The only boxing game I can claim to have played seriously is “Punch out!” for the original NES. In the early years of the console wars, the game industry was littered with boxing titles, especially those with celebrity boxer branding. Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield accompanied Mike Tyson in their own titled video games. Nowadays, Fight Night has been the go to for current gen console realistic boxing madness as the fighting genre has long since moved to the Street Fighters, Fatal Furies and Mortal Kombats of today. There is still a place to find some old school quick hit boxing however, on mobile.
Prizefighters 2 by Koality Game was released last December to many 4 star reviews of the Google Playstore. The sequel to Prizefighters (2017), which itself was a homage to “Punch Out!” has evolved its style with a more in-depth career mode, updated mechanics and a premium gameplay mode that costs around 3 dollars USD. The free version offers quite enough fun to keep you entertained with a career mode and quick fights. Premium adds the ability to have more career save slots, import custom fighters, customize your league and adds a promoter mode. For 3 bucks, It is not a stretch to support the developer and buy the full featured game.
The game starts off with building your character and customizing the preferred fight style. The between fight hub displays other upcoming fights in the league which you can either watch happen or simulate them to move on to the next week. During the in-game weeks, your character can train and upgrade the training gym, all which cost money. You get money from fights, which isn’t overtly obvious that you have to challenge an opponent to a fight to get the action moving along. If you wait long enough (I.E. spend too many weeks in a row training) a CPU fighter will eventually challenge you. Graphics and sound is still very NES like and the game play is fairly simple once you conquer the dodge mechanics and master landing uppercuts and hooks. You can tap lower on the screen to deliver a body blow and tap higher to aim for the face. Building up a momentum meter by punching allows you to access power punches, like the afford mentioned uppercut and hook. Brawling all out for the first few fights will get you by just fine however, the higher you rank, the better the CPU fighters are and they hit a lot harder.
For those new to the boxing genre there is plenty of challenge to be found here, but veterans will quickly rise to the occasion. By playing conservatively and wearing down my opponents with body blows, I found myself Gigaweight champion with a record of 15-0-0. With only 2 knockouts under my belt and having only been knocked down twice myself though my run, I was surprised to find myself undefeated and at the top. Being #1 isn’t where the game stops though, you have to defend your title. A rotating cast of boxers keeps you on your toes as each fighter has a predetermined age, the older ones will retire as the seasons move on and plucky new amatures will climb the rankings, seeking to dethrone you.
In order to keep yourself at the top, you have to keep your avatar in top shape, There are several training options available. Each option strengthens a different attribute. Some like weight lifting will increase strength but lower speed. You also have to monitor the boxer’s stamina and overall health. Resting in between weeks is a good idea to keep your pugilist fresh and in fighting condition. You can also focus on training jabs, hooks and uppercuts. There is also an option for sparring during the training weeks as well, so you can get some practice in and try out some new strategies without it potentially affecting your career record if it goes wrong. Building up the boxer does require a little bit of planning and strategy to make good use of your downtime. Most fights, once scheduled, give a couple of in-game weeks until fight night. So it pays to keep an eye on the player’s condition.
Downfalls in this game are few. The controls are explained in the tutorial which seems easy enough but when moving or dodging, it is way too easy to accidentally throw a hook, there by using up a saved power punch. Also, you can only seem to challenge fighters 2 rankings up and 2 rankings down from your current rank. While I understand it would be easy to pad a win\loss record by constantly challenging the bottom feeder fighters, I would like to be able to aim a little higher or lower than the current held position. If I am at the top, let me pick on the top 5 at least.
*edit* One week after I posted my review, there was an update that allowed you to choose from the top 5 boxers to challenge if you were at the top. This is certainly a welcome improvement.
Overall, I found Prizefighters 2 to be a fun mobile entry. In its free form, the game doesn’t seem hobbled and is not time gated in any way. While a little on the easy side, I liked that once you reach the top, you have fend off the challengers and the game keeps going. If you are a fan of boxing games, Prizefighters 2 offers a lot for a little.
The game doesn’t end when you reach the top
Controls are a little imprecise
You are limited in who you can challenge
Recommended Alternatives: Prizefighters (Android), Punch Out! (Nintendo Switch NES library)