Punch Club is a simulator that combines sports, social activity, criminal and opposition, and does it in a retro manner that adopts the 1980s’ style. It’s packed with references to games, movies, music, and realities of that era. Download Punch Club for consoles, desktops, or mobile devices to try to find them all!
It’s an attempt to put a modern simulator game in the clothes of a typical 1980s’ round, with a 16-bit 2D view. It doesn’t look authentic (and, frankly speaking, doesn’t really try), switching the point of view constantly and combining various genres, from 1v1 fighting to a social sim. Besides stylization, it also requires less performance so that the game can run even on an old computer or mobile device.
The story of a guy mastering a martial art is common for the era the game mirrors, and, with some later references added, it forms the narrative. The father of the protagonist was killed when he was a kid; the hero wants to revenge, so he gets into martial arts. Then here comes the man that invites him to a mysterious island, where some Man in Black selects the best fighters.
As you train and fight, you must watch your stamina, agility, and strength, keeping all of them high. You also need to keep yourself happy, avoid hunger, and sleep enough. That brings in elements of life simulator, though it’s what the game resembles least.
Recognizing references is one of the best kicks the game delivers. Rocky and Enter the Dragon are recognized at once, but there are also Fight Club, The Godfather, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Star Wars allusions, as well as quoting multiple games.
The game is available for most platforms, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, and iOS. Each class of devices (consoles, mobiles, or desktops) has its own inputs. Still, being mostly click- or tap-based, the game is equally easy on any of these. Adapting the mechanics of the 1980s with little later influence makes Punch Club playable on whatever you want it on.
Replay Value (4/5)
Punch Club is more than a game: it’s a cultural retrospective trip. This enriches the game, but, being a large part of its enchantment, it only works once. Yes, you can replay it, choose a different career, or a different way of training. But you will unconsciously search for new references and quotes and will be disappointed in finding none.
The Bottom Line
Well, if you were an eighties’ kid, you will fall in love with it. But even if not, you may feel like a Ready Player One character, enjoying the game and chasing the 1980s’ zeitgeist. It’s quite up to date in the late 2010s, and Punch Club kicks in right when we need it.
If you are really in love with retro style and never argue a good specimen, download Punch Club for whatever platform you like, and enjoy!
- Graphics 5
- Gameplay 5
- Controls 5
- Replay Value 4
Narrative full of references and postmodernist irony.
Life simulation system.
Compatible with most modern devices.
The references are dense enough to distract you from the gameplay.
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