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Prizefighters review - An entertaining Punch-Out-inspired brawler

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
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Gets its hooks in

Product: Prizefighters | Format: iPhone | Genre: Fighting | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Prizefighters is basically a mobile take on Nintendo's Punch-Out.

It's a cartoony arcade brawler with an over-the-shoulder perspective that literally sees you confronting your opponents head-on.

Anyone who remembers Super KO Boxing will know that this isn't a particularly novel idea, even on mobile. So how does this digital pugilist plan to knock you out?

Jab jab jab

Prizefighters's key attribute is an instantly intuitive control system based on positional swipes and taps.

Tapping the top left and right of the screen will launch jabs to the face, while the bottom left and right will deliver quick body shots. Holding in the same sectors will launch slower but more powerful hits like uppercuts and hooks.

In order to buy yourself the window to land these power shots you'll either want to dodge your opponent's hits by swiping left or right, or interrupt their hits with your own counter-hit. In either case your opponent will be momentarily stunned, giving you a free hit.

You can also guard your face and body by swiping up or down and then holding.

Dodgy dealings

In practice, these controls were immediately intuitive but a little unreliable. Blocking, in particular, seemed a little laborious for me, so I quickly resorted to trying to dodge as a matter of preference.

I also found that keeping an eye on the game's gauges (for health, stamina, and momentum) was tricky to do whilst simultaneously keeping a close eye on my opponent. They didn't quite stand out enough in your peripheral vision.

Still, the controls are simple enough to quickly place the onus on strategy. Screen mashing won't get you very far as you climb the rankings, as you'll quickly run out of stamina. Rather you need to pick your shots and - crucially - watch your opponent's movements.

Also noteworthy is the ability to play the game in landscape, which makes control a little easier, but seeing your opponent tougher.

Split decision

Mechanics aside, Prizefighters is a very simple affair. You start from the bottom of the rankings and work your way up through more than 20 AI-controlled fighters.

Your initial opponents aren't really up to much. In fact, it wasn't until around my 10th fight that I even got knocked down for the first time (which prompts a spell of screen tapping).

Another disappointment is the lack of personality each fighter has. They're all made up of the same generic components as your own fighter, and they have no outlandish behavioural patterns or special attacks - something that the Punch-Out series always managed to nail.

Prizefighters is a solidly built welterweight on the mobile fighting game scene. It lands a few strong hits and has a fluid style, but it lacks that knock-out punch to challenge for the belt.
Prizefighters review - An entertaining Punch-Out-inspired brawler
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 22 December 2017
Prizefighters is an accessible, fluid brawler that just lacks a little personality and misses a few of its hits
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