A hooded man with a gun killed our father. To find the assassin we need to fight our way through the ranks until we’re a Limousin riding, jet flying, kiss stealing champion of the world. Punch Club is a simple game. Sim City on the Super Nintendo is more complex than this Switch game. Punch Club is like those Tamagotchi toys everyone had in the 90s. We don’t have to clean our fighter’s poo though. He gets tired and we have to put him to bed. He gets hungry and we have to feed him. Our fighter gets depressed and we have to give him some screen time. That’s what taking care of our character boils down to.
Punch Club is a game about revenge. A hero’s journey that has us fighting the Mutant Ninja Crocodiles. Turtles were already taken. Meeting Tyler Durden at the local bar. In Russia fighting a guy who killed our BFF not named Apollo. And if you’re charming enough you can date his sister. I would list more references but I need to leave something for you to do.
This is not a simple game, once we get a handle on balancing the necessities of life we’re forced to leave the house. Becoming a champion is never easy. It takes dedication and discipline, which is what playing Punch Club requires from us. In addition to the eating, sleeping, and watching TV you will have to train your guy. It adds a second balancing act to the equation. The stats, that need to be improved in order to win fights, will diminish over time. At the start of the day, at the strike of low noon, our fighter’s muscles will shrink. All our stats will go down. Like in real life, if you’re not training you’re gaining－fat that is. If that fact scares you, don’t worry, there’s an easy mode. There are three stats: strength, agility, and endurance. How you shape the fighter is up to you. However there’s always a caveat. You need a plan, building an all-round fighter with even stats will not work. Too much strength with too much speed and not enough endurance will cause you to gas out. Plan accordingly. Expect to screw up and adapt.
Winning fights will give you stars. Just like in Paper Mario, stars are experience. We cash them in to upgrade our dude. The developers give us an RPG skill tree, which is never a bad thing. The actual fight sequences require little attention. So put your feet up, light up a cigar, and see how your guy does.
For a simple game, on the surface, Punch Club has an outstanding amount of depth to it. If you’re a fan of sim games, strategy games, or tycoon games then you will find yourself mercilessly addicted. The tedium creeps in eventually, but you’ll find yourself on the second or third playthrough when it does. Will our bare-knuckle boxer find justice? Will we get a chance to punch our father’s killer right between the eyes? Will we turn into a 200 pound greasy fast tiger and contend for a title? Hit that speed bag, do those squats, there’s work to be done.
Punch Club is available in the Nintendo Switch eShop