Scott Pilgrim’s Punch-Out a charming update of NES classic

Aug 25, 2010
Games

Sending up tributes to classic games of the past is tricky business. Take Scott Pilgrim’s Punch-Out, for instance. This iPhone app, based on the film version of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, takes its gameplay from the other half of its name, the NES classic Punch-Out. Most every gameplay tic in Scott Pilgrim’s Punch-Out owes […]

Sending up tributes to classic games of the past is tricky business. Take Scott Pilgrim’s Punch-Out, for instance. This iPhone app, based on the film version of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, takes its gameplay from the other half of its name, the NES classic Punch-Out.

Most every gameplay tic in Scott Pilgrim’s Punch-Out owes some debt to the original  – from the over-the-shoulder view of your boxer to the cheesy Nintendo sound effects and even the graphical style. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, people loved Punch-Out, so making a Scott Pilgrim game around a Punch-Out style game should be a no-brainer, right?

The problem is that if your game is less than its original, the game seems more imitation than tribute. That’s part of the problem for Scott Pilgrim’s Punch-Out. While the graphics and sound aren’t bad for an app, their overly retro vibe doesn’t do the game any favors when the gameplay feels so significantly dumbed down.

One of the keys to the original Punch-Out was that each of your opponents had a specific pattern that could be learned. making defeating them much easier. Failure to follow the patterns in the original Punch-Out after you’d gotten a few fights into the game meant you would be losing early and often.

Scott Pilgrim’s Punch-Out wants to work on a similar pattern. Each of the 7 evil exes that you must fight has a weak spot, and they fight you in a pattern. Unfortunately, all you’ll really need to know from fight one to fight seven is that you should never, ever stop punching.

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While I might have used a quick dodge (cleverly performed by moving your phone to the left or right) once or twice, I spent most of my time tapping my fingers on the screen and knocking the hell out of these exes without incident. It made for an okay experience, but nothing that made me want to go back for more after I had finished. Of course, certain leniency must be given to the fact that this app was free, and I probably paid $40 in the late 1980s to buy Punch-Out. There’s a difference in the quality of the product I’m working with, but when the movie sound clips playing during the fights and the trailers on the back end of the app are more memorable than the game itself, you have a problem.

Suffice to say, if you have no interest in the Scott Pilgrim movie, you can probably skip this app. If you’re interested at all, there are some nice extras to draw you in. A few trailers, photos and a comic-book style synopsis should please fans looking for just a little more of their fighting rocker.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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