A game called Monkey Boxing obviously doesn’t take itself very seriously, so don’t come into the ring expecting the iOS version of Punch Out. This isn’t that. Monkey Boxing is a casual boxing game starring cartoonish monkeys you can dress up in terrifically goofy costumes. Its target audience is probably kids, but just about anyone should be able to appreciate the game’s sense of humor.
The game’s single-player campaign pits you and your monkey against 50 opponents. You dress your simian however you’d like, choosing the color and pattern of his shorts and accessorizing him with all manner of hats, haircuts, and sunglasses. Then it’s into the ring to duke it out against other more or less identical monkeys wearing random get-ups.
Each opponent has the same set of moves that you have, but they become harder to beat as you progress. The combat is stripped down to just two buttons: punch and block. Punching is preferable, obviously, but a well-timed block can open an opponent up for your jabs and uppercuts. Your footwork is handled by the AI, so you end up spending most of the game tapping away at the punch button. Occasionally a quick-time event will pop up, asking you to speed-tap buttons or swipe at the screen to fill up a meter faster than your opponent. Succeeding at these QTE’s has your monkey deliver a powerful blow.
Between some matches, you can train to increase your monkey’s strength, endurance, and speed. These boosts are helpful, but the training sessions are a snooze–they involve tapping, circling, or holding down on the screen for prolonged periods of time. And while we appreciate a long game, taking on 50 nearly-identical opponents gets old by the halfway point. The one thing driving players on is that you unlock new accessories to wear as you progress.
One of the best features of Monkey Boxing is its local multiplayer mode, which lets you and an opponent duke it out on a single iOS device. The multiplayer mode isn’t any deeper than the campaign, but challenging your real-life friends in real time can be a lot of fun: With all the button mashing, it’s kind of like playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Monkey Boxing makes its simplicity a strength. It’s a goofy, lighthearted game that’s perfect for young children or adults looking for something light. Keep your expectations in check, and you’ll almost certainly crack a smile.