The first thing you’ll notice about Super KO Boxing 2 is that it has character. And characters! 12 of them, to be precise, although a few are just variations on the same character (Gip the farmer and Bigger Gip the Viking being examples). Although they’re pretty stereotypical, each character is animated in great detail, and bobbing and weaving as you slug away is quite satisfying.
Touch controls are available for juking from left to right, blocking, high to low punches, and a charge attack that requires energy built up in a meter. Juking to the side as you punch will throw some quick hooks into the opponent’s mug. Taunting is done by tapping your character, and while this leaves you open for a hit it will boost your charge meter and often provoke the enemy into an attack.
Caveman gut punch.
In the early match-ups, opponents are nothing more than glorified punching bags, but as you progress they put up more of a fight. Strategy becomes a necessity with Chief, the fifth opponent, who makes no effort to strike you but will counter any punch you throw at him. Taunting is key here, followed by a quick juke as the Chief retaliates in anger, leaving himself open for a few quick hits. These changes in strategy are appreciated, although sometimes it feels like the game is taking things a bit too far.
Some characters, for instance, will be completely invincible as they charge a devastating attack, countering any punch you throw at them. During these moments, your only option is to wait for them to strike and be quick on the juke button, and we often found ourselves juking from one side to the other frantically hoping the attack wouldn’t land once it came. Unfortunately, these attacks do massive amounts of damage and often feel impossible to dodge. This can lead to some frustrating battles later on in the game.
Adding to the sometimes unfair feel of the game is the scoring system. Every time we made it to the end of a fight without a knockout occurring, we were informed that we had lost by decision, even when we had knocked down the enemy more times that we had been knocked down ourselves (all the while landing many, many more punches than the opponent). After surviving a frustrating nine minute battle, this can feel like the ultimate punch to the face. Luckily, the game usually allows you to start over from the third and final round if you restart the app and select to continue where you left off.
Aah! It burns!
Although it certainly isn’t easy to knock out all the competition on your way to boxing glory, the difficulty isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Beloved games like Punch-Out! on the NES were notorious for their difficulty, and Super KO Boxing 2 is heavily inspired by that title and its sequels. Just like in Punch-Out!, it can be pretty satisfying to figure out the openings in your opponents’ defense.
Aside from the main Circuits mode described above, there is a Versus mode that allows you to take on previously defeated opponents whenever you’d like and a Challenge mode that forces strict requirements upon you. In one, you’ll be asked to beat the opponent into a T.K.O. without being struck a single time. In another, you won’t be able to dodge, block attacks or pick yourself up if knocked to the floor. We found the Versus mode nice, if somewhat worthless, but the Challenge mode is a welcome addition that adds quite a bit to the game.
Overall, Super KO Boxing 2 is a very well-made arcade boxing game in the vein of classic titles like Punch-Out!, as opposed to the more realistic approach taken by the Fight Night games on consoles and App Store competition like Touch KO. For that, we recommend it to those who aren’t afraid of a challenge.