Developer: Vivid Games
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

There’s a copy of the new Call of Duty by my side, a rare, entirely free evening ahead of me and yet I find myself hooked on a game on my iPhone. What game? Well, if it wasn’t Real Boxing, this wouldn’t be a great intro at all.

Probably one of the most finely tuned boxing games I’ve played, and not just on an iOS device, Real Boxing draws me in like no other. The best comparison I can make is to the Fight Night series, the pinnacle of boxing on modern day consoles. Players create their boxer in whatever likeness they wish and then traverse a number of tournaments in order to build up their prowess.

Things start out pretty easy in the rookie tournament but the difficulty ramps up at a steady pace. Fortunately, so does the means by which players can improve their fighter. Speed, stamina and strength are all available to increase. This is done either by spending winnings on a stat improvement (or buying in-app purchases to facilitate it) or by participating in mini-games. These mini-games are simple, yet tie into the concepts well. For instance, strength involves performing a series of punches at the right moment, while speed simply involves switching between left and right punches at variable moments. Stamina involves tapping at the right moment to indicate the right rhythm in which the boxer is skipping.

All of this comes together to create a better fighter with stat increases that noticeably affect performance.

Actually inflicting blows is a matter of tapping and swiping. Hit high to the left of the screen to initiate a left jab, while low to the right provokes a right uppercut. It’s simple, effective, and offers up plenty of variety. Buttons to the left and right of the screen also help players with the means to block and dodge. There’s an immense sense of satisfaction when a strong punch or counter is pulled off correctly.

It’s possible to control the action via the iOS camera and motion controls, but I found it quite awkward to set up correctly with an iPhone 5, mostly due to finding somewhere to prop it up. There’s just no need for it, anyhow, as the touch based controls are good enough.

Supplemented by a Game Center focused multiplayer mode, there’s plenty to dive into. Besides proving a highly enjoyable form of stress relief, Real Boxing is also a great quality boxing title. It demonstrates the potential of iOS devices well, although it does hammer the iPhone’s battery quite significantly after extended sessions. Also, do note that, currently, the game’s tutorial has a bug that means it doesn’t end correctly. I didn’t have trouble with this, personally, due to accidentally skipping the tutorial and getting straight into the action! We’re told that an update is in the works for this feature.

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