Originally released on mobile devices, boxing simulation Real Boxing took a few punches at a curiously empty market. With few decent boxing games available for phones and tablets, it brought the depth of a console brawler to our portable devices. Now receiving a significant upgrade, it's looking to do the same on the PS Vita. But what's it like? We entered the ring for some hands on time!
Blending causal gameplay with a surprising level of depth, Real Boxing was an immediate hit on the Apple app store. Later released on Android, it quickly became a bestselling app. What’s more, through its integration of the Unreal engine, Real Boxing brought a console level of grit to mobile devices – with each bloodied punch rendered in surprisingly realistic detail. However, it crucially remained a game designed for causal play, with basic touch controls and some middling presentation. Its app origins were also reflected in its limited play modes with no multiplayer functionality.
Real Boxing might have been an above average casual game, but the jump to Vita clearly deserves a fuller and more complex experience. As such, developer Vivid has strived to revamp the game to create something that’s akin to a console Boxing simulation. Whilst previous versions of the game focused on simplistic touch screen prompts, the Vita version utilises physical controls. The difference in how the game plays is significant, and now for the first time you’ll actually move your boxer around the ring and directly control every punch, jab and evade. The result is a new level of depth, transforming the game from a causal experience to a Fight Night style simulation.
Moving around the ring with the left analogue stick, you’ll need to remain light on your feet and think carefully about your opponents. Punches can be blocked and evaded, with the latter allowing for a crucial strike back. Combos also play a big part of Real Boxing, and landing repeated hooks, jabs and uppercuts is crucial to winning each fight. While the new control scheme results in a more strategic experience, fans of the original will be pleased to find that traditional touch controls can be turned on at any time. Vivid have also made use of the Vita’s motion sensor, and you’ll tilt the console to gain an advantage during clinches.