Punch, kick, block, it's all in the mind?

No kicking, but yes to the rest. This is Real Boxing 2: Creed. It's a tie-in with the upcoming Rocky spin-off, and sees you leading a pugilist through a hefty career of punching, punching, punching, and skipping.

So you play as Apollo Creed's son?

Yes and no. There's a mode that ties in to the movie directly that sees you punching people as Adonis Creed. But the meat of the game is all about creating your own character, training him up, and hitting people until they're in danger of suffering permanent brain damage.

Is Sylvester Stallone involved?

He is. He gives you training tips, throws gems in your general direction, and can often be seen gesticulating mildly in your corner during fights. His digital visage is smeared all over the loading screens as well. It's pretty freaky.

So how does the game play?

It's good. The controls are smart, and the fights are nice and tactical. Swiping and tapping perform punches, and each side of the screen represents a fist. Swipe up on the left of the screen, you perform an uppercut with your left hand, swipe down on the right, you pull off a body shot with that hand.

What about blocking and dodging?

There are a couple of buttons to deal with those. Then you get a couple of special move buttons that fill up as your opponent tries to turn your face into mush. One of these performs a punch that dazes your foe, and the other is a specific volley of attacks that you can upgrade or change.

Sounds like there's a lot of screen mashing

If you mash the screen, you're going to get beaten up regularly. There's a solid tactical game of ebb and flow here. You need to strike when your opponent is vulnerable, make sure you keep yourself protected, and time your dodges to perfection.

I like the sound of that

Yeah, it makes for a pretty engaging experience. There's training too, which sees you playing out little mini-games to try and toughen up your fighter. You need to tap things at the right time, and swipe out combinations of moves in the correct order.

It looks good as well

It does. There are gouts of blood and dribbles of sweat. For some reason some of the fights take place on the runway of an airport too. It's pretty silly, but it's silly in the right ways. You can customise your character as well, with tattoos, haircuts, and new boxing kit.

Any problems with it?

Well, it's free to play, but not annoyingly so. There are ads you can sit through, currencies you can buy, and an energy system based on the condition of your fighter. It doesn't really get in the way of the fist-swinging though, and while there is a bit of grind, you do really need to learn the ropes to get the most out of the game.

Sounds like this is getting recommended

It is. It's not perfect, but it does a solid job of ironing out some of the problems of its predecessor. You need to be cagey to win, but if you box smart you can take down seasoned opponents. And there are moments here of sheer beautiful violence that wouldn't look out of place on the big screen.

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