Blanket statements are usually reserved for the uninformed, but I can safely say that I haven't liked a single boxing game in the App Store up to this point. Some of them have admirable qualities, but the vast majority either make me long for Super Punch Out or Fight Night on the PS3. It turns out that all I was waiting for was EA's masterful Fight Night Champion [$4.99].

What makes Fight Night Champion so satisfying is that it never strays too far from its console roots, but at the same time does a great job embracing the touch screen technology for combat and the accelerometer for movement. Like the console, the control system in Fight Night Champion works by splitting the control system into quadrants. Where on the console you pop the stick up to do a high jab, here you just have to tap the upper half of the screen. The same goes for the low right hook, where all you have to do is swipe from right to left on the lower half of the screen. Every punch, grab, and hold, from the simple bob-and-weave to each boxers signature punch is done via easy to follow gesture controls, and once you get a round or two in you'll be ready to punch with the big boys.

In addition to the slick fighting, Fight Night Champion comes loaded with 20 boxing legends, from Mohammed Ali to Manny Pacquiao, and also lets you create your own boxing fantasy in the Legacy Mode. I don't know about you, but taking down the amateur hour fighters in record speed with my ripped heavyweight doppelganger sporting American flag shoes ranks right up there with fried PBJ's and Thin Mint cookies. Hop on a multiplayer match over bluetooth or local WiFi and you'll find yourself in iOS gaming bliss… which I guess would taste something like an A1 Thick 'n Hearty Burger.

As killer as the game is though, there's always room for improvement. My first complaint (and this seems to be echoed frequently in the forum) is that the parrying system is unnecessarily hard. I've nailed a few counters in my play, but my fights tend to become brawls with very little blocking (not that I play any different on the console version). I would also love to see the Legacy Mode flushed out a bit with some interactive training sessions and maybe a cutscene or two, or perhaps a pre-fight Rocky montage to really pump me up.

The bottom line is that if you are a boxing fan, and especially a Fight Night fan, Fight Night Champion is a must have app. The controls are outstanding, the boxer selection will please any boxing fan, and the ability to create your own boxer and start your own career is gold. If you ever find me in a restaurant or airport and want to take me on in a bluetooth match, you're on. As Drago would say, "I must break you."

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Realboxingfan

    Reading this review makes me think that Chris Hall is not really a boxing fan, just wimpy nerd with EAs money burning a hole in his hole. Keep up the good work touch arcade.

    • Salsamd

      Those sound like fighting words, so to speak... Care to expound on your premise?

  • Truth

    Hope this goes out for the iPad as well. That's when I'll pick this up! Been wanting to have this on iOS ever since I played this on a friend's PSP some time ago. It's a fun time waster. Manny! Manny! Manny!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah - now I have an iPad I don't get so many iPhone/touch only games

    Will try and hold out - but wanted this game on iOS so much I might have to give in and get this version

    • Pahncrd

      Do retina enabled games show up at iphone 4 resolution on the ipad? If so, that wouldn't be too bad since the resolutions are reasonably close. Better than pixel doubling with the older resolution titles.

      • Salsamd

        No. Note the ipad doesn't have retina display. You can force it to capitalize on the full resolution of the ipad though if you jailbreak.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah I've wondered about that too - but apparently, as Salsamd says, because it's not a retina display you get 'served' the basic graphics and then have to pixel-double.

        Could still be fun but once you're used to proper iPad res games, pixel doubling doesn't feel right

        Would be nice to have on phone though - i'm still deciding...;)

  • Bald Bull

    Is this the same Chris Hall that once wrote a glowing review of Super KO Boxing 2 for another web site?

  • Rosh

    As an amature boxer I've been waiting for an good iphone boxing game for a long time. Will buy it as soon as I get more credit.

  • AmpliHelix

    "Super Punch Out on the PS3"
    ???

Fight Night Champion by EA Sports™ Reviewed by Chris Hall on . Rating: 4.5