App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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At first glance, Punch Club appears to be inspired by Streets of Rage or Double Dragon- and that's largely down to its retro aesthetic and focus on hand-to-hand combat.
In practice though, the game has a lot more in common withThe Sims, as you're managing how a fighter takes care of himself when he's in and out of the ring.
While the outset of this game had me wishing it had a bit more brawler in it, Punch Club's brand of management sim for aspiring fighters is a winning combination.
Eye of the tiger
Since you're not doing any of the actual punching, Punch Club focuses a lot more on the out-of-ring life of your fighter.
A lot of this boils down to managing draining status bars like health, happiness, and hunger while trying to earn money and train your fighting stats, but there's a surprising amount of story moments in the game with branching paths.
But, how's the punching?
Ok yes, there's also a good deal of combat in Punch Club but, as a management-focused game, the combat is more about preparation.
You can choose which unlocked abilities you want your fighter to use between rounds, and that's about it. From there, you basically just watch the action go down.
I'm not sure it's the best system that could have been used, but it does keep the focus of Punch Club on fighter management rather than any sort of control finesse on the part of the player.
The bottom line
If you're looking for a brawler, Punch Club is not your game. That being said, it's a very interesting management sim that does a great job of throwing curve balls at you to prevent you from settling into an easy rhythm.
On top of that, the game's got a really great look and a surprising amount of narrative that will be sure to keep you training for the next fight.