With Glyder and Cops & Robbers, Glu has already issued a one-two punch to iPhone. Both games have made the company a contender in a highly competitive field, though Glu has yet to deliver a true knockout blow and cement a role as one of the big boys.
Expect it to be thrown when Super KO Boxing 2 enters the ring this autumn, easily the biggest and boldest game the storied publisher has undertaken to date.
Every boxer wants a belt and it's no different in Super KO Boxing 2. Career mode presents a series of competitive circuits awarding you prise belts for pummelling a dozen opponents. Winning every bout in a circuit nabs you a belt, not to mention unlocks the next circuit. Starting with the easy Weenieville circuit, new characters are gradually introduced and old nemeses return for a shot at revenge.
Bulky boxer Big Gip, for instance, makes his debut in Super KO Boxing 2. The hulking fighter comes with a gut as big as his arms. Gigantic nipples and a flash of his crack give the impression that you're taking on Joe the Plumber cartoon-style. It's more than just visual, though. Sluggish punches and a lumbering gait contribute to his (lack of) appeal.
Big Gip is only one of a total dozen characters slated for the game's final roster, which includes returning hip-hop maven 15 Cent. Donning big chains and a plenty of attitude, there's been little change to his wimpy ways. As though hoping to nickel and dime you into losing with slaps and weak punches, 15 Cent's throws are easily countered with heavy hits and upper cuts that leave him on the floor.
Throwing punches takes nothing more than a tap of the screen, though advanced moves require more timing and well-placed combination taps. Basic punches can be triggered by tapping your opponent on the spot where you want to hit them. Touch their head, for instance, and you throw a punch at their head. Move to the abdomen and you lash out there. More powerful upper cuts involve a press on the edge of the screen and then a quick tap of your opponent's head.
Landing blows fills up a super punch meter in the lower-left corner. When filled, tapping the meter executes a flaming super punch capable of knocking a good chunk of your opponent's health bar if not sending them to the floor entirely. What's great is the ability to trigger two types of super punches by filling the gauge completely or tapping it early to execute a slightly weaker punch. In this way, you can tactically save your super punches for just the right moment.
While this tap control scheme functions fairly well, it results in your hand covering the screen during each intense round. Better use of the screen edges for pulling punches, as well as employing the accelerometer for dodging blows would alleviate obstruction of the screen. Even more, limited use of the accelerometer could boost the game's already kinetic feel.
In its current state, Super KO Boxing 2 maintains a quick pace and high energy. Expect it to be fully amped up in Versus mode one-on-one fights. There's also an Endurance mode for testing how long you can last against an endless supply of opponents, as well as Challenge mode that presents specific objectives for winning a bout. From the few rounds we played the objective-based boxing of Challenge mode will provide substantially tougher fights than those in Career mode, which bodes well for the game's long-term value.Super KO Boxing 2 deserves billing as a true heavyweight. Its cartoon visuals burst with colour and attitude, perfectly matching the bombastic gameplay. We're keen to see improvements to the controls; more specifically, the inclusion of multiple control schemes so that options are there if you want tap controls or buttons, and so on. It won't step into the ring until September, so there's plenty of time to enhance this already impressive game.
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