Boxing games, as of late, have sort of waned in popularity when compared to the early 2000’s when we had the likes of Ready to Rumble Boxing for the Dreamcast, and the more realistic Fight Night. Of course, if we go way back to the SNES days, we had the likes of Little Mac pouring his heart out for fans in Super Punch Out! but nowadays, not many titles stack up to the past. However, that may all change because Pato Box, the latest boxing adventure hybrid title from talented Mexico indie developer Bromio Games, is about to step into the ring and entertain you! At first glance, you may think that Pato Box is just your normal adventure title with a little boxing thrown into the fray, but in fact the game plays out in the Super Punch Out! perspective, giving players a unique experience every time they pick up and play. Pato Box feels like a comic book tale come to life in your hands, and you’re in control of how the story unfolds with each punch you swing, obstacle you overcome, and boss battle you conquer. As you progress through each level, you discover new challenges far greater than the next, and with every obstacle you’ll need to master your reflexes in order to land that precious K.O. punch. Anyone who grew up playing any of the titles we mentioned earlier will surely find Pato Box to be the undisputed champion of boxing titles on the Nintendo Switch.
What to Expect
As mentioned earlier, Pato Box combines the fast reflexes of a boxing game with the tried and true adventure genre that creates this satisfying blend of discovery and skill, that resonates with you every time you encounter a new adversary. You’re the main star of the show, a celebrated boxer that has a duck’s head on a man’s body, and you’re destined to take down the corrupt corporation that tried to screw up your career: Deathflock. They betrayed your trust and now, you’re hungry for revenge as you must now work alongside your close comrades to single-handedly dismantle the entire corporation the only way you know how, to lay each one out on the canvas. Each henchman you encounter comes equipped with their own unique array of attacks and throughout each stage, you’ll run into tips that can help you to successfully take them out with little issues. Of course, all the while doing so with a visually stunning presentation that feels like you’re reading a graphic novel on the fly! With 7 different bosses in all, it’s up to you to learn their techniques and claim what’s rightfully yours: your pride. Now queue up the Hajime no Ippo music and let’s go!
First off, let’s talk about the most intriguing aspect of Pato Box, and that’s its visual presentation. Right off the bat you’re greeted with an incredibly pristine looking comic book appeal, with every animation syncing up beautifully with every fighting scene. We’ve never come across a game that looks this crisp, especially one where no colors are involved and everything is laid out just as it would if you were to read a classic comic. The backgrounds are well designed while Pato Box being in the foreground adds this unique depth of field that feels like Punch Out! in motion. The game looks sharp on the big screen, but for you comic book junkies out there, playing in handheld mode is definitely where it’s at because it really feels like you’re watching your comic come to life right before your very eyes.
The music is very cyberpunk-esque with its dark and gloomy tempo really helping to build the tempo before the big battles, and as you engage in battle the music changes to a more upbeat and heart-pumping thrill ride that really builds excitement as you play. It’s by no means groundbreaking in any sort of way, but it compliments the overall flow of the game. Without headphones, the music sort of sounds bland so we recommend playing the game with headphones on to really feel immersed as you play through it all. Amazing soundtrack.
Ok, so gameplay wise, Pato Box allows you to play in two ways, the more conventional control scheme of A,B,X and Y that are used for punches, while your shoulder buttons are used for dodging. It feels like you’re playing Punch Out! In this manner, which is certainly a plus for the nostalgic players out there, but if you want to take things to the next level then playing Pato Box with motion controls is where things get interesting. Similar to ARMS, Pato Box allows players to truly get into the game by swinging their arms and pummeling each boss in real time. It’s surprisingly responsive and seeing Pato Box respond to your every move on screen is quite thrilling. Admittedly, the game is quite challenging and so, we found that after the first couple boss battles, sticking to the more conventional way of playing was easier since weaving and dodging felt quicker by just pressing one button. We’re not saying it’s impossible to do so via motion control but these boss battles are no walk in the park, and will require you to lose a number of times before you get the hang of the patterns of each boss. Mind you these bosses are not like your typical boxing opponent, as exemplified by the chef you’ll encounter, who uses a very unorthodox style: cooking. Yes, simply put, cooking.
Your goal, of course, is to knock him out but paying attention to his patterns but unlike in other boxing games where you need to get a grasp of each punch, these bosses come prepared with some insane techniques that will require some extra practice to really overcome. That’s actually what makes Pato Box so darn fun to play because, while it maintains the classic conventional way of boxing via the main protagonist, the game throws you numerous curve balls that you’ll have to work around in order to successfully move onto the next stage. Mind you, each stage you maneuver through isn’t an easy task either since you’ll need to deal with some tricky booby traps, among other surprises. That brings us to perhaps one of the flaws of the game in that, despite having a very unique visual charm, there are some moments where that charm can backfire on you while traversing through stages.
An example would be on the second stage where you encounter the chef. The stage layout is very well done admittedly, but there are moments where, due to the perspective of the game you’re unsure sometimes as to whether an object is very close to you or very far from you. So oftentimes, we’d try to run through a group of rotating saws only to get ripped to shreds because of the depth of field playing with our brain. Of course, this can be dealt with by simply replaying the stage and understanding the patterns, but for some, it may lead to some frustration and so, we thought it would be nice to point out.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Once you’ve completed the story mode, you’re pretty much left with the arcade mode which ultimately feels a lot like Punch Out! for real. You’ll be able to rematch your opponents just like you can in single player to really practice your swings, and perfect your movement in battle. However, once the arcade mode is completed, there really isn’t much else left to do in the game and so, that’s where it all ends. It would’ve been nice if there was some online mode where players could compete for high scores regarding the most K.O.s, or something even more entertaining like having players duke it out against each other. Maybe this may come down the line or perhaps in a sequel if there is one, but for now, other than the story mode and arcade mode, Pato Box ends very quickly and leaves you wanting more.
Very unique blend of boxing and adventure to create an exciting experience.
The comic book style is totally fitting!
Controls are very responsive in both motion control and handheld mode, though we prefer the classic handheld for that authentic Punch Out! Feel.
Tough boss battles add more replay value to the game since you keep coming back for more.
Very cool soundtrack by Controvol!
The game feels a bit on the short side even with the added arcade mode.
Would’ve liked to see an online mode added for competitive purposes.
Honey's Final Verdict:
In the end, Pato Box knocked us out with its comic book visuals and exciting gameplay, but ended up finishing too quickly for us to really get the best out of it all. Throw in an online mode and we’ll definitely come back to prove we’re the best boxer but for now, the experience we had was great and it’s time to move forward. We only pray that a sequel is in the works! Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest game reviews and more from Japan, along with Twitch to catch us playing all of our reviewed titles live!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!