Boxing has been a sporting pastime since the dawn of civilisation. And while it has changed over time, it's still fundamentally the same game of throwing punches and dodging your opponent.

But you can't accuse boxing video games of standing so still: some are arcadey (think Punch-Out!!), others are cinematic (try Rocky Balboa on PSP), and Real Boxing is all about simulating the real sport.

There are no cartoony boxers or sweeping story, here. The fighters are realistic sweat-caked meatheads. And while there is a career that sees you rising through the ranks to become a boxing legend, it's not filled with Hollywood fanfare.

Training gloves

Instead, the only pat on the back you'll get is from yourself, as finishing each match feels like a real accomplishment and a true test of stamina.

Rounds almost play more like a puzzle game than a fighter. It's about waiting, dodging and striking at the right time.

So while you'll sometimes succeed by just swinging your fists wildly, it certainly won't get you far. No, you need to throw calculated punches and block to replenish your stamina. You want to wait for the perfect moment to dodge and throw a devastating punch into the face of your now open opponent.

Final Round

There's also a raft of training modes to get involved with to help polish your skills and raise some extra cash. This cash can be used, alongside skill points attained from matches, to upgrade your abilities or to purchase customisation options for your boxer.

While they're largely throwaway modes, it does help you get used to the initially confusing controls.

The left stick deals with movement, while the D-pad is how you throw left-arm punches. The face buttons and right stick, on the other hand, correspond to your right-arm punches. The right shoulder button deals with blocks, while also dodging when combined with a movement direction.

Ding ding

It's a little fiddly, but once you get the hang of things it's an excellent and deep combat system. Opting for touchscreen controls makes things a lot easier, as movement is handled for you, but it's a little less responsive. This means that fights feel more sluggish and tapping the screen for a jab seems to rarely be recognised.

This isn't the biggest deal though as you'll generally be able to recover from any accidentally thrown punches. But it does make a difference in online multiplayer bouts.

That is if you can find anyone to go up against. When you finally do find a combatant, it's actually a solid experience that flows exceptionally well for a fighting game - something where lag is just not acceptable.

Real Boxing is a well-rounded and enjoyable foray into the world of boxing. And while it's available on iOS at a fraction of the price, the Vita's better graphics and physical controls makes this version worthwhile.

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