Punch-Out!! review

  • Colorful, charismatic boxers
  • Deep-as-you-want-it gameplay
  • Great Nintendo fan service throughout
  • No leaderboards?
  • Replaying one guy 20 times
  • Getting KO'd for apparently no reason

Then there’s Exhibition, essentially a practice mode that lets you duke it out with the other boxers without fear of tarnishing your win/loss record. Helpful, but even in this expected, throwaway mode Next Level Games has found a way to actually make you care about a practice mode.

Above: Boxer-specific achievements!

Each boxer (both regular and Title Defense versions) has three unique goals to meet in Exhibition mode. Just about every one of them requires you to deconstruct the opponent’s attacks and figure out how to absolutely annihilate them, sometimes without ever missing a punch or being hit yourself.

These extremely demanding guidelines help crystallize the idea that Punch-Out!! is more than dodging and punching, and anyone who sinks in the required time will become insanely good, in the same “holy crap” kind of way as someone who’s effortlessly five-starring Expert songs in Guitar Hero.

Above: A sound test is your reward

Obviously there are no Achievement Points or Trophies to win. Instead, completing all three goals will unlock that boxer’s sound test, where you can listen to their various dialogue utterances and a country-specific version of the memorable Punch-Out!! theme. We had a grand old time dicking around with the audio (mainly for our filthy, stupid podcast) but you know what would have been better? Effing leaderboards!

Above: Please, god damn it

Punch-Out!! and 1994’s Super Punch-Out!! keep track of your best KO times. That’s where most of the replay comes from - trying to slice seconds off your total time. In the SNES days we were content to take the Super Punch-Out!! cart over to a friend’s house and gloat about our unbeatable times… but in 2009, with all these internets flowing freely, it makes no sense whatsoever to omit leaderboards.

There could have been a bustling, one-upping community borne from this, and instead, we get a tacked-on versus mode that’s barely worth acknowledging. No one wants a “versus” Punch-Out!! because a large part of its appeal is getting friends in a room that’ll blurt out strategies, or demand the controller for their own attempt to KO the towering doofus onscreen. That’s how it was 20 years ago, and that’s how the new game is today.

Above: Punch-Out!! appears in the office, five dudes drop everything to watch/advise/correct

All we needed was a list of the best times per boxer and we’d be playing Punch-Out!! for weeks on end, trying to climb to the top of the boards. Without this online list, replay solely comes from how much time you want to spend perfecting your techniques against the 13 boxers. Not interested in replaying the same guys over and over and over? This ain’t for you.

More Info

Release date: May 18 2009 - Wii (US)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Sports
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Next Level Games
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • td823934 - August 14, 2009 3:43 p.m.

    17-0 (17 KO)
  • Fruitinacup - June 12, 2009 12:37 a.m.

    I heart Punch Out.
  • AyJay - June 8, 2009 5:55 a.m.

  • Super bob 36 - May 29, 2009 2:06 p.m.

    Sounds pretty good. Due to me being born in 93 and only playing 3 games until 99, and the fact that I didn't actually get into the classics until a few years ago, I passed right over the first Punch Out. Now I am regretting that I was born then, and wishing I was born earlier. However, thanks to virtual console and a friend who has, and regularly plays an NES, I have been reliving the classics. I'll be sure to pick up a copy of Punch-Out! soon.
  • Armorcoatedwolf - May 22, 2009 1:34 a.m.

    I think that the reveiw was ok!!! The only thing is I'm Irish and got pissed off when the other review trashed Irish people!!!!!!!
  • hetfieldhammet51 - May 19, 2009 9:07 p.m.

    i was in new york city when they released this game 2 days before the offical release date. Game is awsome
  • AntistaHungry4Love - May 19, 2009 6:32 a.m.

    I agree completely with your review. I cannot believe how much fucking fun I am having with this game. I have bionic commando right beside me right now and have no urge to pop it in over punch out. People complain about Nintendo spoon feeding our nostalgia back to us, but if it's like this I don't care. I am huge Punch out fan, they could have shit in a bucket and labeled it punch out(thank god they didn't) and I would have bought it.
  • Samael - May 19, 2009 1:18 a.m.

    "Just for You Metacritic" is an awesomely sweet idea.
  • fionnoh - May 19, 2009 12:05 a.m.

    looks good, i may pick it up.
  • - May 18, 2009 11:49 p.m.

    I like the "Just for You Metacritic" sections in the super reviews. Good thinking GR!
  • Cyberninja - May 18, 2009 11:35 p.m.

    i like the idea of vs mode think about it you could face other punch out fans and see who has the most straige and i have get wii fit now to get a real work out ReCAPTCHA: of infix
  • GamesRadarJoeMcNeilly - May 18, 2009 11:27 p.m.

    In Final Cut, the notation is: hours:minutes:seconds;frames hurrrrhurrrrrrhurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
  • TrIp13G - May 18, 2009 10:31 p.m.

    @Zaphers & Ramijiman: That's hilarious. :D ReCaptcha: and wacko I guess Yakko and Dot came first, this time...
  • revrock - May 18, 2009 10:23 p.m.

    sweet. I am glad this game is as good as we all wanted it to be... Between this and Excitebots, the Wii will be getting quite a workout. Then, Fight Night 4 on PS3 next month, Little Kings Story on Wii, and Starfy on DS??? why go outside at all?
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - May 18, 2009 9:44 p.m.

    I'd like to also mention that the best way to play is NES-style with the Wii Remote. If you're gonna use the motion controls, you might as well go all the way and use the Balance Board too.
  • NathanXplosion - May 18, 2009 9:44 p.m.

    This and Tatsunoko VS Capcom are the two reasons I want to buy a Wii right now.
  • Corsair89 - May 18, 2009 9:34 p.m.

    looks incredible, I'll definitely pick this one up.
  • Romination - May 22, 2009 12:37 a.m.

    I just got it. This game rocks my everything, even without the fond memories of the first one everyone else is going in with.
  • FinalGamer - May 19, 2009 9:29 p.m.

    I am so very eager for this coming out on Friday over here. I can't believe the balance board works for it too! Also, ironically the reCAPTCHA thing on here for me said "dodging in". Win.
  • jmohan - May 19, 2009 7:29 p.m.

    Can't wait until it comes out here on Friday.

Showing 1-20 of 28 comments

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