Boxing is generally seen as a very serious sport and the majority of games based on it have tried their best to be as realistic as possible.
That did not stop developer Marcelo Barce from trying something new and making a game that incorporates boxing, silly visuals, and light-hearted gameplay into one complete package.
In the game, you start a boxing career that involves different championships, lots of training, and many unique boxers to fight against.
The gameplay of Square Fists Boxing is very straightforward.
There is only one control scheme and it consists of on-screen buttons. On the left side, you control movement, while the right side has five different colored buttons. Four of these buttons are different types of punches and one of them is for blocking your opponent’s attacks.
The career mode involves fighting many different opponents in order to win championship belts. You constantly need to hit the gym before most matches and training is split into five mini-games. These mini-games either require you to press a button at a designated time or rapidly tap the screen, and the activities they offer are things like push-ups, jumping ropes, and so on.
The matches themselves are very traditional, you fight against opponents and there is a timer which ends every round. If you knock your opponent out, they will either get up or stay down. If they get up, they get some of their health back and you have to keep knocking them down until they stop getting up. Once you do that, you win.
Between the matches, you will sometimes be contacted by a shady person who will invite you to ‘King of the Club’ matches in which you have to face off multiple opponents one by one to win. This game type is also available as a separate mode which lets you pick how many opponents you wish to fight, and even an endless option that basically tests your endurance.
When you win a championship belt, the previous title holder challenges you to a fight without rules so that they can prove they deserve it more. Those fights are pretty easy and just serve as kind of a funny break of pace because some of them act like sore losers even after the match.
The third mode is ‘Quick Match’ and it allows you to play as random characters that the game generates, which is unlike the other modes as those use your custom avatar. You have a single match against the enemy and then it goes back to choosing what you want to do next.
While the secondary modes are decent, the main point of the game is to play the career mode.
The boxing gameplay, despite being simple, is very satisfying. Shuffling between different attacks and knowing when to put your guard up so that your stamina recharges is intense, and the opponents naturally become stronger as you progress throughout the game.
You need to train before every big match so that your stats are not lower than the opponent, but it is not always a necessity and it makes for some very interesting fights. The unavoidable repetition of the real sport is present here, as both you and your opponent will fight very hard to win and that’s where the real fun lies. If you both tie, just like real boxing, the judges vote for who fought better and eventually that person wins. But you can infinitely get up after being knocked out as long as you manage to press the right buttons when asked to.
I found myself playing the game far more than I had originally planned because it’s addictive to fight more and more opponents and see how far they can push you in terms of strength and strategy. Most major fights unlock something too, which is another reward for playing more.
The unlocked content is in the cosmetics side of things. There are a lot of different outfits that you can use in the game and there’s a bit of customization in the facial appearance of your character – as well as the ability to pick a gender. Some of the items cost real-world money and some of them can be unlocked early by watching ads.
The game has a very light-hearted tone and sometimes the dialogue is very funny. It allows you to pick several dialogue options that range between cowardice, politeness, and rudeness – and the outcome to some of them is fun to watch.
The game can certainly use a bit more depth in certain things, but it still does a surprisingly good job at offering enjoyable gameplay with a minimalist approach.
The only thing that can get annoying at times is the ads, which even play between rounds if a match is prolonged. Sometimes they can be skipped, sometimes not – so the game desperately needs a no-ads option.
Square Fists Boxing has the low-polygon art style that we often see in mobile games.
Fortunately, it features a good level of detail and visual variety despite the minimal graphics.
There is a decent amount of customization for your character and the opponents you face often look different too. The arenas come with unique environments, so that's refreshing to see as well.
The UI is pretty decent and it’s usually easy to find everything that you’re looking for. It’s certainly lacking in terms of options and seems a bit plain, but it’s not confusing and that’s a step in the right direction.
The polish is also good and I did not run into a single issue, which is a surprise when you take into account how many ads you go back and forth from in Square Fists Boxing.
The sound design is surprisingly very good. The background music is catchy and has a hip-hop feel to it which fits perfectly with the underground atmosphere of the game. The sound effects are high-quality and every hit feels satisfying.
Square Fists Boxing is an excellent boxing game that might not satisfy those looking for a realistic take on the sport but will be hours’ worth of fun for those who are looking for a fun beat ‘em up with silly visuals.
With more options for ads, a refined UI, and a little bit of variety in gameplay – it has the potential to be something memorable.