Punch club is a boxing tycoon management and simulation game with multiple branching story paths.
Pro Satisfying management challenge
Each and every day in-game revolves around how well you are able to handle and manage your time and resources. Only by keeping a close eye on your health, happiness, hunger, and mood will you be able to progress your character and beat new opponents.
A fine balance will have to be maintained through such things as working out, earning cash, completing quests, keeping your girlfriend happy, and making sure to stay well fed and rested. You most likely won't have time to do all of that in one day, so it's up to the player to determine which aspects are most important at any given time and act accordingly.
If you put too much effort or time into one area, you'll lose out in others, resulting in a satisfying challenge that really boils down to how well you can multitask and manage the various aspects of gameplay.
Pro Draws heavily on pop culture
Much of the game's story and characters are steeped in pop culture relating to video games, movies, and martial arts, and make references to such things as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bruce Lee, Fight Club, Street Fighter, and more.
The game's major characters are based on people such as Tyler Durden from Fight Club, Rocky's trainer from the Rocky films, and various action movie characters played by actors such as Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van-Damme.
Some of the environments are based on other fighting games, with one of the fights taking place over a backdrop that draws heavy inspiration from Mortal Kombat.
Pro Branching storyline adds more depth to the simulation aspect
Punch Club follows our hero as he attempts to solve his father's murder. This may not sound too interesting on the surface. However, the story is far more than just superficial - it goes deep by featuring multiple branching paths which are heavily reliant on the player's choices and actions. This is a great addition in a game that is otherwise simulation-based.
The choices you make, such as which fighting leagues you decide to participate in, will lead to interactions with different characters. All of these characters have their own view on the mystery surrounding your father's death, which sends you down a variety of different story arcs. These different stories will result in various dialogues, quests, and side plots, giving the game a nice degree of replayability just through its story alone.
Pro Varied and unlockable skill trees offer a lot of depth
The game features a very in-depth skill tree that unlocks a wide variety of different fighting moves that you can unleash during the game's simulation fights. Skill points are earned via gameplay, and then used to learn new fighting techniques that are based around your character's strongest stat.
Depending on which stat you focus on (strength, agility, or stamina), you will gain access to different skill trees that provide both offensive and defensive moves, techniques that help to recover energy during fights, and wear your opponent down over time.
This helps keeps the fights feeling fresh as you are constantly learning new moves that you can use to fine tune and adjust your fighting strategies. It also encourages multiple playthroughs as you can focus on a different stat each time you start a new game and experiment with new skill trees and techniques. The end result is a very deep skill tree with plenty of variety, builds, and ways to defeat your opponents.
Pro Great art style
Punch Club is a joy to look at. The pixel style art is retro and colorful, resulting in plenty of eye candy for players. The backgrounds and various areas of the game are highly detailed with shadow and light, and it's clear that a lot of work went into getting the most out of each and every pixel. Character animations are nicely done, with a good variety of movements and frames. Even the text on the menu screens and during the fight sequences are retro, resulting in a true old-school gaming look painted onto the frame of a modern game.
Con Fights aren't interactive enough
The fights themselves are computer controlled, with the player only choosing the moves they want to use on a round by round basis. The player is then forced to sit and watch the computer control the entirety of the fight, resulting in a boring fight experience.
Con Not a great gaming experience for the first hour
The game takes an hour or so to really get the player into a groove, and tends to start out rather slow paced while the player adjusts to the nuances of play. More of the game unlocks and becomes available later on, but that first hour tends to lean on the boring side as not everything is available from the start.