Single Player Review
A little late to the party, Boxing Apocalypse takes the now familiar VR boxing genre and attempts to add a few twists and wrinkles to spice things up. Unfortunately, adding spices to a spoiled dish doesn’t necessarily enhance the flavor.
Length: ~2 hours
PlayPSVR Score: 3 out of 10
Boxing Apocalypse started out very interesting. The under-explained premise was that I was kidnapped and imprisoned by aliens, who for some reason removed my hands and replaced them with some kind of cybernetic door knobs. They then threw me into a pit wherein I had to fight waves of aliens in order to proceed toward my escape. To their chagrin, they also decided to equip me with shields and special weapons to attempt to block incoming attacks or to deliver strong finishing blows.
The “boxing” mechanics aren’t very well fleshed out, although it appears as though there was a lot more planned for this title mechanically. Straight punches land with little notification other than a cartoonish impact sound. Hooked punches register, but report similar results. Uppercuts, placed carefully, can knock an enemy back in a stagger, but they recover extremely quickly, and their stagger places them out of range anyways, so the effect is nullified. And downward punches, known as hammer fists, cause enemies to stagger toward you. However, they still have a similar, nullified effect like the uppercuts.
Punches that intersected with the enemy character models registered about 80% of the time. The lack of consistent punch registration caused me to very quickly reduce my activity to quick, weak jabs, ensuring that a missed punch can be recovered from and delivered again without too much difficulty. In playing in this style, I learned (through no hint of the tutorial) that multiple punches landed in succession can charge up a “power punch,” that is delivered by pressing the trigger and Move button and then punching.
What followed was an enjoyable facsimile of heavy-bag work in boxing. I would throw 4 jabs to set up my power punch, and then I would land my power punch, which almost always decapitated my enemy In one blow. While extremely repetitive, I liked that a boxing title finally seemed to show an appreciation for the jab, however fleeting. However, any fun was quickly destroyed when the game failed to load the next enemy, leaving me alone in the arena with literally nothing to do. I couldn’t progress, so I had to back out of the game entirely.
In another attempt to play the game, I tried a different mode, and a different result broke the game for me. A stronger looking alien enemy appeared and began blocking with his shield. With his shield up he was impossible to hit, even if I went around his guard. The enemy glitched and never dropped the shield, leaving me with again literally nothing to do. To test the limits of this situation, I walked with my headset on until I was in the same position as the enemy, ensuring that there was zero collision detection taking.
So with two sessions of gameplay having been thoroughly broken by bad programming, I explored a bit more fo the games offerings. Assuming you can beat any game mode, there are character and weapon upgrades. A weapon with limited uses can be bought, and different weapons have different uses or damage levels. Some characters models have less HP and or some deliver more damage with their standard punches. There is also a shield, enabled by the Move button, but the hyper-quick (under cooked) animation makes it impossible to judge when a single punch occurs, where it will land, and how to block it. There’s only one type of punch that the enemy can throw, and its impossible to discern where one is supposed to place the shield to block the blow.
I love boxing. I love the jab. I love lots about fist-fighting in VR, but I can’t really say I love anything about this game. It’s hard to say I even like it, at least in Single Player form. Perhaps if I play multiplayer, difficulties with enemy models and hit detection will take a back seat thanks to my competitive streak, but given the games inability to even load enemies and levels properly, I do not have high hopes. At least its more fun than “Ranch Planet.”
PlayPSVR Score: 3.0 out of 10.