Punch-Out!! Preview: Slick, Punchy Design

Punch-Out!! is a classic Nintendo experience. A game that helped define the Nintendo Entertainment System, but can the remake of the game do the same for the Wii?

What It Is
Punch-Out!! is a remake of Nintendo Entertainment System classic Punch-Out!! This time around the game will sport extra characters, some new moves and support for both motion control and the balance board.

What We Saw
I played through several fights with motion control and the classic controls, holding the remote sideways.

How Far Along Is it?
The game appears to be finished or close to it, as it should be with a May 18 release date.

What Needs Improvement?
The Same: Punch-Out!! is what it is, so don't expect much more depth, complexity or variety. This is a fun pick-up-and-play game.

What Needs to Stay the Same?
The Art: I love the look of the new game. The characters finally look as over the top as they act, with fun new animations, and a strong cartoon style.

Motion Controls: In designing the motion controls, Nintendo didn't try to over reach, letting you shift back and forth with the nunchuk's thumbstick while swatting at gamers with motions. Punches default as body blows, but can be aimed for the head by pushing up on the thumbstick. I found this far more responsive than Wii Sports boxing.

Classic Controls: For those of you who don't want to swing your arms as your box the likes of Glass Joe and King Hippo, you can switch to classic play controls, holding the remote sideways and playing like you are on an NES.

Sense of Humor: The game might be reimagined, but it never falls into the trap of taking itself too seriously. It knows what it is and instead of trying to deliver a deeper experience than it is capable of, it polishes what it's good at to a high gleam.

Final Thoughts
I can't imagine Punch-Out!! is going to sell any consoles, but so what? It's a fun game, a fun return to a game that was a classic casual experience. And I mean that in a good way.

These are the sorts of titles that will end up getting the most play on your console when friends are over, during parties and when you're looking for a few minutes of fun.

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