We gave some quick impressions of Touch KO immediately after its release, but have since been able to spend some time to play through the game. As we mentioned before, the game offers an impressive looking boxing game for your iPhone.
Touch KO's multi-touch controls are surprisingly comfortable and an in-game tutorial walks you through the moves. Tapping either the left or right side of the screen punches with that arm, and different gestures like swiping towards the center lets loose a hook, while swiping upwards throws an uppercut. Holding your thumb on either side of the screen blocks with that arm, and tilting the iPhone makes you dodge. The controls are rather easy to pick up and contribute to a rather immersive experience once you get comfortable.
In fact, I'd say that Touch KO's controls are one of the best aspects of the game. In contrast, while the main boxing competitor in the App Store, Iron Fist Boxing [$3.99], seems to have "deeper" controls, I was never able to get as comfortable with its four-quadrant portrait oriented system. Ironically, though, Touch KO's control's simplicity has been one of the criticisms of the game as there are no body shots or lower punches possible.
As mentioned in our impressions article, however, many of the early customers found that the game was too easy. While there seems to be some differing opinions amongst players exactly how easy, the general sentiment remains the same and one that we also agree with.
The game offers a career mode that takes you through Amateur, Professional and Championship tiers as you earn money to upgrade your equipment. Completion of the career mode consists of 30+ fights to win before you can be declared Champion. Each fight lasts as many as five 3-minute rounds. However, once you get good enough, a match can easily be over within the first round by a knockout. This means depending on your skills, career mode could be over in just a couple of hours. While you can continue to fight on after being declared champion, once I had gotten my groove, none of the last tier fighters offered me any challenge at all. (The developers seem aware of the AI criticisms and are planning on adding an "expert" mode in the first update.)
The game also suffers from some minor 1.0 issues including a lack of a pause button as well as the inability to skip past knockout instant replays which can get tedious to watch.
For those looking for another opinion on Touch KO can look at Big Albie's user review which goes into more detail on the game mechanics, but comes to the same general conclusion:
The best looking boxing game available in the iTunes store but weak AI hinders it; for the price, it delivers cheap entertainment, but keep your expectations in check
The game does have great controls, a high quality look and feel, and a lot of potential, but experienced gamers are finding the game to be too easy in its current form.
App Store Link: Touch KO, $2.99
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