Head Boxing Championship is a fighting game developed and published by the South Korean studio D&D Dream. It was released in February 23, 2018 for both Android and iOS, and eventually got a macOS release.
Unlike Head Soccer or Head Basketball, which are actually sports games with fighting elements, Head Boxing is about what the title says and is more qualified to be a fighting game. Now the characters have torso, arms and legs, which is more logical compared to the Kirby-esque appearance from both related games.
As said above, this is a fighting game that simulates a boxing organization. And the objective is to defeat your opponents, obviously.
This game does not have a plot, nor a backstory of any of the boxers. The avaliable boxers are, in the shown order: Dolse (South Korea), Kong (Philippines), Hikari (Japan), Robin (UK), Gazel (USA), Lije (Brazil), Namaste (India), S.Dragon (China), Anabel (Russia), Kai (Germany), Bucola (Madagascar), Housy (France), Zoyachi (Luxembourg), Dempush (Chile) and Mircop (Croatia).
The buttons are on the screen and here is how to play:
- Press one of the directional buttons to move (obviously);
- Tap one of the directional buttons twice (or more) to dash;
- Tap the Attack button to attack (obviously);
- Hold the Attack button to charge your power gauge (must be maxed out to perform a super skill);
- Tap the Attack button while dashing to perform an uppercut;
- Tap the Power button to make a Power Attack;
- Hold the Power button to make another type of Power Attack;
- Tap the Skill button (only appears if your gauge is 100%) to unleash a super move.
There are 7 game modes offered for the player's fight:
- The Arcade mode consists of one character defeating all the other ones, including its own clone;
- The Multi mode consists of you playing with one of your friends via Internet;
- The 2 Player mode consists of "two local players" fighting each other (very incorrect. See WIS no.15);
- The League mode consists of 18 battles with all the 14 fighters disputing which one has the most wins and the least losses;
- The Death mode consists of you defating several "skeletons" and one commander under certain circunstances ("Defeat with a Power Attack", "Defeat with a Skill Move", "One hit is instant defeat", etc.);
- The Survival mode consists of you trying to win the maximum of opponents possible;
- And the Championship mode consists of you disputing a play-off competition with 8 fighters, starting from the quarter-finals.
Other things not represented as a punching bag are: Options, Stats Improvement, Skins (Equipment) Shop, Auxiliary Pet, etc.
While everything said above is a decent deal, the game itself is not what most would think...
Why It Sucks
This game is infested with Artificial Difficulty. Yes, it heavily relies on cheap/unfair methods of difficulty to experience and progress. The pointers below will describe some of them.
- The boxers seems to be high on drugs or anaesthesia, as their face expressions are horrendous.
- Just like what to even expect, you start with only one playable boxer (Dolse in this case) and you have to do insane things to unlock the other ones.
- For example: to unlock Kong, you have to defeat everyone in the Arcade mode, including your own 2P clone. While for this one sounds simple, the next ones are borderline insulting, even to hardcore players...
- To unlock Hikari, you must win the Championship's final battle without taking a single damage (it is insanely overpowered. See WIS no.3). To unlock Robin, you must achieve an SS rank in the Survival (in other words, stay for almost an eternity just winning. One defeat and you must restart everything from scratch). To unlock Gazel, you must normally complete all the 14 Death mode's challenges (some of these are nearly impossible to complete). To unlock Lije, you must complete the League mode finishing in 1st place (one of the members is insanely overpowered. See WIS no.3). And the list goes on and worsens...
- If you don't want to do these "insane things" you have to grind a lot for enough coins collection just to purchase a boxer. Each one have their own price.
- For the Championship Mode's final battle, you're going to fight an insanely overpowered opponent; his HP is huge and his attacks drains a lot of your HP! One of the fighters in the League mode has the same properties.
- The game gives you a pet that will help you during the battle, such as automatic power gauge filling and bonus attack points, and you must feed it (pay 1000) to avoid it from fainting. If it faints, you lose the bonus and you must pay 5000 to revive it and recover your bonus. This indirectly worsens the grinding.
- Thankfully, its energy goes to 100% instantly if it levels up normally.
- The equipment items are inexcusably overpriced (for the in-game's currency) and requires an unnecessary level cap to even purchase.
- The game gives you daily achievements with boring / cheapily hard challenges that must be completed within 24 hours. Completing them will give you an amount of coins which is almost nothing compared to how expensive the in-game's goods are.
- One of the "daily achievements" is called "Localized text not found". Even changing the language to Korean will not work.
- Unoriginal and generic announcer quotes.
- National Stereotyping: The boxers come from different countries and cultures, but some of them are downright offensive. Some offenders include Kong, Bucola, Lije and S.Dragon.
- For some reason, despite the limited dialogue, the boxers (even Dolse) speaks in English. Even if there are very few non-English words like Hikari's "Subarashii!" and Lije's "Samba!".
- Although this also happens in nearly every Japanese game on the same tier, the English speaking is non-native. Which may end up being hard to understand what the boxers are saying.
- And also, foreign language translations are poorly done, with many assets still remaining in English and the voices untouched.
- Very easy and cheap "infinite" combos, most notably with Dolse and Robin.
- Somewhat slippery controls. Sometimes the boxer will make unwanted punches, if you keep continuously tapping the punch button and suddenly stop. There is also some random input lag.
- If a "K.O." happens, you can still move, which is able cancel some animation states like "You Win!" or "enemy knocked-out", giving the sensation like nothing happened. The game will still progress to the results and start a new round, and everything will be neutralized, however.
- All (except for only one) super skills' names are called "punches", which doesn't make sense because most of them aren't actually punches. Those are either a projectile, a weapon-based attack or a stunt.
- The only move that doesn't apply to the rule is Bucola's "Diablo Breath".
- Bones fracturing is only possible with power attacks or skill moves and is totally luck-based, making it nearly impossible to break all of the opponent's bones in one single match.
- There is no training mode! That's a problem because each boxer have their own playing style and you really want to know how to play with them or try to master one you already know.
- The 2 Player mode doesn't even qualify to be "two players", as it doesn't even ask for Bluetooth, for example. Instead, both controllers are on the same screen and you control both fighters!
- In an effort to put 2 controllers in one screen, the buttons are now stacked, which kills the ergonomy and just makes the gameplay harder.
- If you want to play with your friend, the Multi mode is the only alternative. Just create a room and your friend must search for the name you selected for the room.
- Connecting to a random server at the Multi mode takes an eternity to succeed.
- The "skeletons" at the Death mode are just the normal boxers, except they have no skin.
- Receiving a notification (or some other interruption) does not automatically pause the game. Get ready for cheap failures or deaths.
- Little to no ads, no matter being pop-up (5 sec.) or unskippable (15-30 sec.), making this game pretty playable without much annoyance.
- It is also playable off-line. There are very few stuff that requires internet connection to access.
- Very different from both Head Soccer and Head Basketball (two games from the same series and the same developer). Both games are basically reskins with a few source code differences.
- Pretty solid amount of game modes. It also helps that are all represented by different punching bags in the main menu, which is a clever stylistic and gives a very good sensation.
- The controls for moves tries to be unique and aren't directly copied from what is seen on Street Fighter II ("quarter-circle", "half-circle", "shoryuken input", "full rotation", "charge"), which is a very recurrent cliché in fighting games.
- Because of 2 Player mode flaw, it ironically can be used as an indirect Training mode (though it can be annoying due to the controllers issue said above and the non-refilling lifebars, with unwanted wins and losses).
- The X-ray fracturing closeups are satisfactory. Breaking the opponent's bones makes the same weaker.
- The voice acting is passable... for what the game is.