Those of you that play a lot of games on their phones may recognise this game, but this is not justĀ  a simple mobile port. You really have to hand it to Vivid Games as this game looks stunning. Rebuilt from the ground up for the Vita and removing the in app purchase model at the exchange of a higher price point. Boxing fans really should take a look at this.

From the opening introduction sequence you could easily believe that you were watching a pay-per-view title fight in a fancy location such is the quality on show. You can almost believe you were watching it happen after paying silly money at some crazy hour in the morning on TV, but this game doesn’t cost crazy money. After the opening cinematic you get straight into setting up your boxer. Character creation is the name of the game, and you have quite a few options available to you to customise the fighter. After you are happy you can get into a quick fight, start your career, earn perks through training in the gym or even dabble in a little multiplayer.

Real Boxing plays very well. The screen is focused primarily on the two fighters, with torso upwards being where the action is. The left stick controls your positioning and you shoulder buttons control your body shots and dodging. With punching you have a choice of using the right stick to unleash an array of jabs, hooks and uppercuts or alternatively you can use the direction and face buttons which are mirrored left and right above the sticks to control the left and right hands. It might seem simple enough, but this is quite in-genius and makes a great deal of sense. It also helps in the way you approach your matches in the ring.

Simply going into the ring and mashing buttons isn’t going to work too well for you. Just like the real thing, you are going to need to mix it up and throw combinations in there to throw your opponent off guard, but you have a limited amount of stamina to hit your opponent with before you become sluggish and need it to recharge. Waiting for your window and also dodging blows will open up your opponent to devastating counter attacks which can deal out massive damage, and ultimately let your opponent kiss the canvas. Should this happen to you, you’ll need to rapidly press the shoulder buttons before you are counted out and will obviously be more difficult the further along the career/fight you are. If you are finding yourself low on health you can also enter into a clinch with the other fighter, and if you win this mini-game – which is a balancing act using the Vita’s gyro – you’ll get a health and stamina boost, but be warned that your opponent will get it if you lose.

You have three levels of titles to fight for, each unlocking upon completion of the previous one with an increasing level of fighters to face off. Each match will result in a minimum of two skill points to apply to your boxer with a third point dependent on fulfilling the match requirement which could be anything from knocking out with a hook to winning without clinching and any currency earned can also be converted to stat points in the gym. The gym is also where you can participate in some mini games to unlock certain perks – of which you can have two equipped – and these can reduce the amount of stamina used from blows or make it easier to get up from a KO.

The presentation as already noted is pretty cool, so you must be wondering if there is anything wrong with the title, right? Well, if you were being pedantic you could argue that it’s not “real” boxing without the official licenses and there are no actual fighters present in the game. The level of customisation isn’t that deep really as you cannot affect height, reach, weight and the like and you will fully max out your fighter quite quickly – well before you complete the third tier of the career mode. But you know what? For the price you pay here and the experience you get, as a boxing fan you won’t feel let down.

  • Jonathan Harding-Rathbone

    Wow was surprised at this. From what you’ve explained it makes me remember Ready 2 Rumble (but obviously much more serious). Great review!

  • HassanJamal

    Tempted to buy this. Hope a demo comes out.

  • Lester Paredes

    I am tempted to get this, because i like fighting games, but I’m curious as to how ‘realistic’ it is. i like a bit of arcade in my fighters, and while I’ll never get a punch-out on my vita, I desperately wish for a substitute. Still, it’s release date came and went over here in the States, and I don’t know when it will be released. Oh well. I’m leaning in the buy category, for now.

  • Barry Newton

    This game is awful. If you play the psp version fight night it better in every way!!! The punch on the analog stick are hit a miss at the best of times and to put the punches on the d-pad is just plain stupid. I love fighting games but this is getting deleted