Any time a Colin Lane Games game lands on the App Store, we can't help but get a bit excited. While the studio might have a bit of a one track mind when it comes to the themes of its games, mechanically they're all pretty darn distinct from one another. And that's definitely the case with Undisputed Champ.
It's a boxing game, but it doesn't fit into the same mould as the sillier pugilistic and wrestling games we've seen from the studio. Instead it's a little more sensible, and oddly enough, a lot more compulsive.
Punch himThere are a number of modes to sink your teeth into, but the career is the real heart of the experience. Here you pick a boxer and try to lead them to the very top of the rankings. You do that by punching people.
The controls here are simple - you play in portrait mode, and the buttons you need are arranged around the bottom of the screen. There's a d-pad, a button to jab and one to really swing, and a red button that when pressed raises your fists to block.
One-two combos with the two attack buttons are the order of the day here. Smack your foe just right and there's a chance they'll hit the canvas. The same goes for you though, so you need to factor moving and blocking into your offence as well.
Do well enough and you'll get some upgrade points which are going to make your pugilist tougher for the next fight. Do poorly and you'll move down the rankings. Your boxing career only lasts so long though, with age creeping up like the strongest right hook in the universe, and when you're too old it's time to retire.
Once you've hung up the gloves on your first fighter, you can use the money they've earned to unlock new characters for your next run at the title. It keeps things interesting, and places a tense limit on every fighter you play with - there's only so long for them to reach the top before they fade into weakness and obscurity.
On top of the career mode you've got quick fights and multiplayer. In classic Colin Lane fashion, the multiplayer is same-device. One player has one end of the iPhone or iPad, the other the opposite. It's slick and easy, and means if you've got a friend with you you've always got someone to fight.
Swing and a hitUndisputed Champ might not be the most complex boxing game in the world, but it gets the balance between challenge and fun just right. The simplicity of the mechanics lets you write your own stories - I had a tear in my eye when my first fighter retired at the very top of his game.
In a way this is the most sophisticated game we've seen from Colin Lane Games, yet it still captures the free-wheeling fun of the rest of the studio's work. Plus it looks an awful lot like a boxing version of Gauntlet, which if you ask me is pretty darn awesome.