Grinding the player guide is useless
Grinding: I don’t know much about boxing and even less about what it takes to train to become a good boxer. I think it’s a lot of punching bags and doing push-ups and dodging and weaving. I saw one of the Rocky movies but I couldn’t tell you which one. Well, if anything, Punch Club shows me that there’s a lot more to it than holding down a part-time job, fighting mutated monsters in the sewers, eating food, sleeping, and maintaining your romantic relationships by bringing a young woman some flowers. Boxing life is not easy.
There is a story and it is sad. Your father was brutally murdered before your eyes… kind of like when Batman’s parents fell. Now you have to train hard, eat chicken and punch dudes in the face to earn your place in the ranks of the Punch Club. It’s all for you to find out who ended your father’s life and get that sweet, sweet revenge. I’m not there yet, I’m still pretty low on the ladder as it can be hard to multitask so I split my time between multiple tasks and I’m not sure what to really focus on in the short term. I think right now it’s better to make money and buy garage workout equipment than pay expensive gym fees and that’s my main goal. The problem is that something else always gets in the way.
Punch Club, for those who don’t know, comes from Lazy Bear Games and is a boxing tycoon management game with several branching stories. Your goal is pretty clear from the start, but how you get there depends on whether you want to legitimately climb the ranks or take the more ridiculous, shady route. I’m kind of dancing between the two paths at the moment, not sure where my loyalties lie, but eventually I’ll have to choose a path and stick with it.
Whatever task you’re completing, whether it’s punching a sack or delivering a pizza, the gameplay boils down to watching a series of fluctuating stat bars that represent your various levels rise or fall, and then judging when enough is enough. Each activity essentially fills some and empties others, while time is given by itself as a decisive statistical indicator. It’s an approach that translates into the most important part of Punch Club: training your fighter. You can improve your brawler’s three basic attributes – strength, agility and stamina – by using certain pieces of gym equipment. However, your abilities will degrade over time if you don’t practice, so it’s best to reserve a really hard graft for the period right before your next fight to increase your chances of climbing the ladder.
I’m not usually one for managers, but Punch Club has both an aesthetic and an attitude that I really enjoy. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. This is basically a simulation of an 80s fighter jet movie, so all the nostalgia is pretty justified. I won’t spoil all the references, but you’ll see loving nods to Rocky, Blood Sport, Cobra, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Fight Club, Aliens, and more. The game itself uses pixel art and is better than anything you’ve probably ever seen on the SNES, with more colours and attention to detail. It might not be for everyone, but it definitely is for me.
I don’t know how far up the ladder my disciple will go, but for now I will continue to climb.
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