Punch Club is an effective casual management sim with a well-observed 16-bit aesthetic, but its grindy hands-off mechanics soon start to grate. Here on Nintendo's flagship console, it just feels a little too remote and repetitive to be in with a genuine title shout.
Punch Club features an interesting mix of management, social simulation and some JRPG elements in a game that features an interesting gameplay and whose 16-bit resemblances include several 90s pop culture references. It doesn't fully materialize its promises, as it quickly starts feeling repetitive and at one point, it doesn't quite feel interactive enough to be an outstanding experience.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
A promising start leads to a dismal end. Punch Club's quality dips shockingly fast and leaves a bitter taste upon completion.
Stylistically, Punch Club is a delightful tribute to '80s pop-culture and underdog sports dramas. At its best it's as exciting as watching a real sporting event and rises, believe it or not, to the level of interactive poetry about the struggles and temptations of everyday life. At its worst, it's a slog and a chore with little to keep you going but abstract icons indicating progress amid frustrating setbacks.
When writing this review, great care was taken not to reveal too much regarding the events that can occur in the game.
In the end, Punch Club looked like a fun, light-hearted sim game that ended up being a way better game than anticipated. It could do with a bit more in the way of interactivity, but it does present itself as a fighting simulator and not a straight forward fighting game. It delivers a lot more than it advertises, so these gripes are only so big.
Although the concept of the game is pretty cool, Punch Club doesn't really provide a lot of entertainment. It does, however, inspire you to head to the gym and lift some real-life weights or perhaps run on a treadmill for an hour or so.
I had fun with Punch Club as I unraveled its story between training sessions and my work day. It's definitely worth a play, even if you can't directly control fights. If you want to be the best, you have to work hard, and this game certainly shows you that, one fight at a time.
Punch Club is yet another example of how small teams that focus on gameplay that's engaging can offer interesting long-term experiences even if they do not feature impressive graphics or stories.
What is it about routine that is so comforting? Punch Club somehow manages to not only make this endless cycle of grinding fun and immensely rewarding, while still keeping a few surprises very close to the vest. Even though micromanagement style games have been a staple on PC for as long as the platform has existed, something about this game feels like it would be more at home on mobile, where the repetitiveness can be indulged in more approachable, bite-sized doses.