The Fighting genre is not something you would immediately associate with the PC market. Beast Boxing Turbo can be perceived as a loyal homage to the iconic NES game, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. With an inimitable aesthetic design and comedic style, the game is exceptionally charming. It employs a first person perspective which makes the combat involving and exhilarating.
Your career revolves around Char, a primitive human who dons a questionable alien costume to infiltrate the Beast Boxing League. The regulations explicitly state that non-monsters are forbidden to enter, as you bid to demonstrate that humans are capable of competing against the best. Initially, you fight against lower ranked opponents in a best of 3 rounds. Once you have qualified for the Elite League which features some of the most dangerous fighters out there, these contests increase to 5. You are required to defeat the reigning champion of each league to progress towards the next stage. If you do lose a title bout, your ranking is lowered and you must replay the previous opponent to gain a number one contender status. Victories can only be achieved via K.O in fights which aren’t time restricted. The lack of a points system is an excellent choice which simplifies the fighting and allows you to concentrate on brutally beating up the other contender.
Monetary rewards are granted for successfully defeating any boxer which even includes a consolation prize given after losses in the career mode. These can be used to purchase performance upgrades which range from increased damage to greater resilience against AI attacks. This is based on a levelling system all the way up to 99, which gradually increases in price. There is further customization in the form of gear upgrades. These enhance your current skill set and maximize the fighting style you adopt. For instance, selecting the Scale Gloves will increase your attack damage by 10% and blocking effectiveness by 3%. However, some items will improve your abilities in the power stakes whilst reducing your manoeuvrability. The Bonebreaker Gloves provides a colossal 50% attack bonus at the expense of a 15% reduction in speed. This element of strategy is a welcome addition which allows you construct to your own play style and consider each purchase carefully. Money, albeit in small amounts, is allocated for victories in exhibition matches. As such, it is possible to slowly amass enough points to purchase greater abilities and have a heightened chance of succeeding against tough characters.
The core gameplay is focussed on momentum and rhythm with deadly combos offering the optimal plan of attack. Every action you take from strong uppercuts to sidestepping depletes your power meter. This gauge is affected mostly by quick jab combos and heavy strikes. It is vital to maintain around a 50% ratio or your character will become groggy and open to vicious AI strikes. To survive, you need to vary your punches without letting your guard down. Simply sticking to an offensive plan will result in a pummeling by your opponent as most frequently combos are a result of counter punching. Each combatant has set weaknesses which makes them vulnerable to either quick jabs or powerful hooks. However, your foes are clever and will predict the most plausible next move. It’s also important to read into the mannerisms of your competitor and learn their movement. Repeat gameplay will improve the likelihood of you counteracting signature attacks.
Your health bar consists of temporary and permanent damage which are illustrated via green and red meters. After you have been struck, your recoverable health depletes extensively. As this can be re-generated it’s essential that you prevent any further damage from AI combos. Failure to do so will result in a KO after a barrage of enemy punches. This system is surprisingly complex and eradicates the use of non-skillful button bashing. The combat is extremely weighty and encapsulates the brutal but tactical element of boxing.
Beast Boxing Turbo is notoriously challenging to a point which some users may find excruciating. Whilst playing on the normal difficulty, I encountered a number of immensely narrow victories which could have gone either way. On multiple occasions I failed to beat some of the weaker fighters, which I managed through repeat gameplay. It can be frustrating, but also rewarding with a large sense of achievement for finally defeating the one character who seemed unassailable. There is a casual mode, which for the most part, appears too easy. One major annoyance is after a loss on the normal setting, the game berates you to reduce the difficulty. This occurs even if you are playing via the casual selection. The career duration is only around 100 minutes long which might explain why the title is so challenging. On the other hand, if you manage to complete this, a new game + is unlocked. Here you are presented with an identical career path against enemies who are stronger and more agile. The upgrades you have previously selected carry over to enhance your chances of succeeding.
There is additional added value if you wish to engage in a high score objective. You compete as a vanilla character with no upgrades with the result hanging on 1 round. Any reduction in health is permanent unless you purchase a HP boost from a turkey leg. The only method to do this is collecting tips thrown from the crowd during a fight. Goodhustle Studios have shown meticulous attention to detail in the formation of a superb PC version. The controls are tight, fluid, and highly responsive. A 360 controller is perfectly usable and fully rebindable. I tried the keyboard control method, but found this was virtually impossible due to the fast reactions needed and space between key layouts. The game runs beautifully in 1080P at 60 frames per second, with 2x AA. There is also the option to play in a windowed mode.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
For a mere $4.99, Beast Boxing Turbo is a stellar title which nails the polished and accessible combat needed for a boxing game. The art style is majestic which makes punching a comedic turkey even more satisfying. While the career tends to be punishingly difficult and short, it is a fulfilling experience with oodles of charm. A demo is available from the official site which should indicate if this particular title is suitable for you.