It’s not often I’ll find myself looking forward to the release of a mobile phone game. The last time I was getting excited for a mobile game was probably when Bethesda released Fallout Shelter. It’s not that I don’t enjoy mobile games, but I struggle to get into them for the most part. It took me years to actually start downloading and playing games on a regular basis on my phone. I was one of those people that always saw phone games as being akin to a fruit machine. Happy to take your money, but not give enough in return. That has definitely changed over the years, as I’m finding myself going through mobile games at an incredible speed, but very few actually stick with me. Final Fantasy Record Keeper did for a long time, as did Fallout Shelter, and I’ve recently taken a liking to Top Eleven. One game that I’ve always played though, whenever I’m stuck for a few minutes, is Basketball Time. It’s fun, it offers exactly what you want in a game and it keeps me coming back. So, when Koality Games’ Twitter feed popped up with the below, it’s safe to say I was pretty excited.

Put Up Your Dukes

Being the wily video game reviewer that I am, I was able to get a pre-release version to play around with. And it didn’t take long for me to get into the game. I’ll admit I’m not the most knowledgeable about boxing. I can reel off a list of the more prominent boxers from the past twenty years, but I couldn’t tell you if they were any good. I have found myself paying attention to the results recently, with the recent successes of Anthony Joshua bringing British boxing back to it’s best, but it’s not gone too much further. With that in mind, I did wonder if I’d be able to enjoy Prizefighters quite as much as I did Basketball Time. I needn’t have worried. As soon as my champ was tarted up properly and shoved in the ring, I couldn’t put the game down. Basketball Time was very much a quick affair. You play it for a few minutes in between things, trying – and failing – to beat your records before the timer runs out. Prizefighters isn’t like this – not at all. Fights can take five to ten minutes to battle through, and that’s an entirely new experience for me. It’s not a game where you can just jab at your opponent repeatedly, it takes care, caution and a killer’s instinct to win a bout. You have to pick your moments wisely. Dodge as soon as your opponent makes a swing and you’re in. A few swift smacks to his ugly mug and you’re back to defending, biding your time and waiting for the next one. It’s thrilling, climbing up the ladder as you battle your increasingly difficult opponents, knowing that one wrong move sends you on your arse. One right move, however, might just give you the belt.

It turns out that I’m quite a stickler for presentation when it comes to my mobile games. I’ve been pretty harsh lately, because creating art assets isn’t the easiest task. Some games do suffer as a result though, because even if it’s got some great functionality, it’s offputting having your eyes assaulted by crappy demons conjured up in MS Paint off the back of a heavy acid trip. When a game looks good though, well that grabs my attention. Balancing art and functionality in a game is no easy task, which makes Prizefighters all the more incredible. The fighting is top notch. Simple enough to get to grips with, dodge with a swipe, jab with a tap and swing hard by holding your finger down a tad. It flows perfectly in the ring. I think the presentation of it is even better though. As you batter your poor opponent, his face will start to bruise and bleed. Smash his face once more and you might see a pixellated tooth fly across the screen. I’ve always been quite complimentary of games that use a pixel art style, because when it is done correctly, it works incredibly. Basketball Time was definitely a good looking game, if a tad basic, but Prizefighters is right up there with the best of them. With a few pixels, Koality Games add a level of brutality that I’d have not thought possible with the art style. The anger in your opponents face, the blood pouring from their mouths, the anguish when they fall to the floor. It’s a work of art, and really, so enjoyable.

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