Real Boxing is making the jump to the PS Vita this week, but it was last week that I went hands on with the game. It was actually an iOS and Android title originally, but has been given quite a nice overhaul, to adapt it to the PS Vita and its own, more traditional “gamer” demographic.
As you might expect, we see the addition of button and stick controls which will, for all intents and purposes, replace the touch controls of the mobile releases – though these do remain an option, should you wish to use them. The introduction of buttons, however, allows for some subtle shifts in game mechanics.
The left analogue stick now controls your boxer’s positioning in the 3D space of the ring, meaning that you can now move around your opponent, as you spar. Admittedly it’s not an earth-shattering change, but one which can give an extra layer of tactical play to a fight.
Positioning yourself is vital to landing blows; too far away and you will swing and miss, whether you timed it well or not. You’ll use up some of your stamina, and this will take a few moments to recharge.
Fist control comes via the D-Pad and face buttons, for left and right punching respectively. You can mix things up with a couple of quick jabs to the left before swinging with your right, or go for an upper cut.
Body blows are executed by using shoulder button as a modifier, but you’ll spend most of your time on the right, as this is how you dodge a punch – with the right timing, of course – or cover up and block.
There’s a lot of nuance to the fighting then, and you will need to look for momentary weaknesses and dodge when you see the telltale signs of an incoming blow before countering and unleashing a flurry of hits.
The game options include a career mode and online multiplayer, but two PS Vitas can hook up via adhoc locally.
We engaged in quite an extended match, with the balance of power swinging back and forth regularly. I was helped very much by the ability to grapple with my opponent, as health drops low, and via a small balance mini-game on the Vita’s motion sensor to recover a little bit of health.
Though we were right next to each other, there was a little bit of lag and juddering in the match, but I don’t feel it got in the way of the gameplay all that much. Certainly, that was more down to my attempted hits missing.
Each round of a match lasts a good while longer than they did on iOS, and though I forgot to ask, my feeling is that they were around 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Our fight went for 3 or 4 lengthy bouts before I knocked my opponent down for the third time and he conceded defeat.
When this hits the digital shelves in the EU later today, it’s going to come in at £7.99/€9.99. However, this more premium pricing means that none of the content is limited to micro-transactions, and there is additionally quite a healthy stash of bonus content to get your fighter’s outfit right.
Real Boxing was a good bit of fun, and I think quite an easy game to pick up and play, but certainly very tricky to master.
For more information on Real Boxing be sure to check out our recent interview with developer, Vivid Games. We talk Sony, trophies, and pricing, as well as the numerous visual/gameplay updates afforded by the Vita hardware.