Like many other Wii owners I have constantly had to justify the continued existence of my console. I’m a bit of a Nintendo fanboy and I want to love the console and I want to feel justified in my purchase of 37 different peripherals, but more often than not the console sits in the dark, un-powered and alone, gathering dust. I normally wouldn’t have purchased Punch-Out but my Wii guilt was kicking in so I put it on my birthday list.
One of the reasons that Punch-Out appealed as a game to fill the Wii shaped void in my gaming life was that it featured full motion controls and balance board support. I stubbornly refused to give traditional controls a try and insisted on using the motion controls and balance board. For this reason I did not beat the game for a year and a half after I first started it.
The motion controls are a big improvement over the crummy motion controls included with the Wii Sports tech demos. Instead of angling your controllers you use the analog stick to choose between a head shot and a body shot. It may not feel quite as natural but you get a decent workout and your character actually does what you want him to. That seems like a decent trade-off to me. The balance board control works pretty well, except it appears that the game was designed without the balance board in mind and that it was tacked on later as an option. The opponents get faster and faster until eventually there is no way you’ll be able to shift your balance fast enough to dodge incoming punches. I was stuck on the first fight of the world cup for months before I finally gave up hope and ditched the balance board. Two days later I’d finished the game.
It took me about 30 minutes to learn the tells and train myself to react to each opponent. After beating everyone in the main tournament you can start in on title defense mode. All of your opponents have a second coming with a few slight modifications. In addition to the tournament mode there is also an exhibition mode with achievements as well as a multiplayer mode so there is plenty of extra content to enjoy.
Using the motion controls I got a decent workout. I will keep this game around as a fitness title but I don’t think I’ll ever want to play through the main tournament again. I’ll probably just stick to the exhibition mode when it’s too cold to go outside and get real exercise.
* Tournament Defense, Exhibition and Multiplayer modes add extra content.