Reviewed: March 22, 2011
Released: March 15, 2011
App Store Price: $4.99
Have you ever wanted to get the full Fight Night experience, but your on-the-go lifestyle keeps you from sitting down for a match? Or do you have no real idea what Fight Night is, but you feel like there’s not enough quality face-punching on your iPhone? Fight Night Champion is the game for you in either of those cases, providing a compelling boxing experience that’s as close as you could get to a Fight Night game on the iPhone.|
Without the dual analogue sticks which characterize Fight Night’s control system on console, Fight Night Champion on the iPhone uses a dual thumb control system, where players swipe out actions on the touchscreen, which is broken into high and low punches using the left and right fist. Tapping the appropriate quadrants will result in a jab, while swiping across quadrants will result in an uppercut or hook. There’s a bit of lag after blocking that makes it hard to counterattack, and it can be difficult to maneuver precisely by tilting the iPhone, but neither of these problems really affect the core getting-stuck-in-and-punching of the game.
The game’s broken down into a fight now mode, where you can play as one of 20 famous boxers, ranging from Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali to Ray Leonard. Legacy mode, meanwhile, lets you create a new boxer and guide him through his career, fighting for a title and then trying to defend it until retirement, as you fight from shady arenas to high-class ballrooms. While a bit more content in Legacy mode to flesh it out more, like training mini-games or more choices about where your career goes, might have been welcome, the meat of the game is still in the multiplayer.
Playable over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, Fight Night’s multiplayer is as tense and challenging as always, but the lack of play over Internet limits how and where you can play. It would have been nice to see a more open multiplayer, but when you can put a match together, it still manages to be great.
The game’s sound is about what you’d expect, with announcers narrating the fight (albeit with a limited vocabulary) and meaty thumps, while the graphics are fairly good for the iPhone, though the limited facial expressiveness of fighters tends to result in some pretty goofy faces when the camera focuses on a fighter for a knockdown punch. Still, none of this gets in the way of the core gameplay, and can be pretty easily overlooked by someone who’s eager to get at the punching.