The boxing game has been an integral part of the Wii system and it makes sense. Beyond the primal fight urges that most everyone keeps tucked away, save for game night and a few beers, the fight games are generally easy to pick up and learn for game console novices. It’s hard to make a standout game that is simply not just a retread of previous titles.
EA Sports has done a good job of putting out a genre-buster with Facebreaker: K.O. Party. Easy to learn with exciting graphics and innovative playing style, the game (rated for teens due to head-bashing activity) moves boxing out of the ring and into the 21st century. The press release spells it out, saying the game will “help you to rediscover the joy of ass-kicking.” And boy does it ever.
The controls follow most of the boxing games on Wii, using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck in a variety of ways to block, duck, punch, jab, etc. Some special punches like charges and breakers, keep thing interesting. The response is quick, though it takes a few tries to fully get a handle on the various moves and combinations available. With that said, pretty much anyone can pick the game up and start fighting. The fights are timed and the boxer’s energy level is monitored on-screen. The fists can fly fast at times, making the game get ahead of the players on occasion. I recommend starting slow and getting a feel for the various moves and work out some simple attacks and counterattacks, as well as effective defensive moves.
The game is populated by a rather colorful (figuratively and literally) cadre of characters with names like Molotov, Romeo, Spin, and Voodoo. The fighters each have unique personalities, as do the fight locations, my personal favorite being a trailer park. Each fighter also has a signature move that’s fairly easy to figure out and gives the boxer an edge during the matches.
The game has a number of different modes. Arcade mode is the simplest – two players go to town on each other until one drops. Brawl For It All mode is a tournament through the various characters and venues, while Punch-O-Matic is a four person free-for-all. There is a Practice mode, as well as the Fighter’s Corner, for all the ins-and-outs of the fighters and other assorted extras. The “Mess your Face” feature allows you to humiliate your beaten opponent by painting their face. It’s an unnecessary extra to be sure, but funny in a crowd.
Facebreaker is a good portent for future fighting games as they move out of the box they’ve painted themselves into. And Wii is the perfect platform to experience this. With eye-popping colors, Facebreaker K. O. Party is intuitive, fun to play, and sure to please fans of fight games, as well as those looking for a good time when friends are over.
Facebreaker: K.O. Party is rated T (Teen) (ages 13 and older) by the ESRB for Comic Mischief, Violence. This game can also be found on PS3 and Xbox 360.