Oddball Game of the Month – December

Hey, look at that! A game of the month actually posted in the month it represents!

Shocking, I know!

This month’s feature is a game with a twist: you watch the combat rather than participate. I give you – Punch Club

First, a confession: this is not my first playthrough of this game, but I picked it up again recently and felt compelled to give it a shout out.

Released back in January with a free expansion in February, this indie management game puts you in the role of a rising young MMA fighter in a lawless town. After the brutal murder of your father, you don the mantle of the Dark Fist and strike fear into the hearts of criminals. By day, you are a mild mannered master of mixed martial arts, training at the gym and clobbering fools on your way to the top…but by night, you are the bane of muggers and mob bosses alike.

As you may have guessed, this title is chalk full of references, from a clear Batman parody right up to facing off against reptilian ninjas who live in the sewers and love pizza.

As I said earlier, the odd twist to this game is that you don’t actually control the combat, you merely watch as each round of the fight takes place. So where is the game play you ask? Most of the game is managing your training, specializations, food, sleep, and scheduling. You also choose which types of moves to use in each particular fight, and can switch them up between rounds to compensate for enemy tactics. I realize this is likely a boring concept for many, but I admit I personally enjoy these types of games and find them quite relaxing.

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There is also a storyline to follow which gives you more opportunities and different bonuses as you progress. The story is intentionally cliche, but this makes it rather fun and humourous in my opinion.

The game is not long, but it is artificially lengthened by the one major complaint I have with this game – the stat loss.

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Each day, you lose points off of your Strength, Agility, and Endurance statistics. This makes some degree of sense, since the skills you don’t use degrade over time. However, this degradation is a massive hit every single day, meaning you will be forced into spending too much time in training as opposed to other aspects of the game, which can get tedious. It really exposes a hole in the game – it’s actually a little shallow. For a $10 price tag, though, it’s hard to be too critical of that fact.

I really think this game has a great concept and could be expanded on to make something great. In the meantime, if you’re into management games you can play while VOIPing with friends or some other light tasks and are in the mood for a cheesy, throwback story, I recommend Punch Club.

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