World Championship Boxing Manager™ 2 is a sequel to a game released… more than thirty years ago! The first opus, released on PC in 1990, was published by the English of Teque Software, which disappeared in 2001. As its name suggests, we are dealing with a management game in the world of boxing. The game is developed by the Americans of Mega Cat Studios at the request of Ziggurat Games, a publisher specializing in re-releases of old video games. World Championship Boxing Manager™ 2 is available on May 17, 2023 at a price of fifteen euros on the eShop. A good deal or a simulation good to throw away?
Interesting gameplay at the start…
When we think of the management game in the boxing universe, our minds naturally turn to Punch Club. This independent nugget, despite some pretty gross flaws (including an impossible difficulty in the last third), had won over a large community of players, even those who had never watched a boxing match in their lives.
World Championship Boxing Manager™ 2 offers two distinct modes. On one side, there is the story mode and the career mode. The first allows us to follow a boxer and his rise to glory, while the other allows us to really be a manager with several boxers under our wing.
The gameplay, whether for the story mode or the career, is the same. Each boxer has stats (speed, accuracy, strength, blocking, etc.) that you can improve in the gym. You can train your boxer once a day, and the more he trains, the more energy he will lose. The quality of your room, but also the skills of the trainer you recruit will have a huge influence on the quality of the exercises. The gym also allows you to unlock special skills for your boxer.
There is also a psychology room that allows us to reduce the stress that our boxer will accumulate over the weeks, as well as a medical office to restore his energy. These two factors will directly affect the fights.
Workouts, trainers, and building upgrades cost money. The only way to win, you will understand, are the fights. There are several types of combat but they all turn out to be the same. After registering our boxer in the tournament, we have to fight to reach the final. Each battle won brings us money and reputation points. Reputation points unlock tournaments with larger sums at stake, and we can randomly win items to equip on our boxer in case of victory.
The fights are quite simple to understand. They take place over ten rounds and our objective is either to knock out our opponent (that his life bar is at zero), or to win on points at the end of the ten rounds. So we have a life bar and an endurance bar that will allow our fighter to hit. Once our life bar reaches zero our boxer collapses, but we can raise him once by hammering “A”.
We are completely passive during the action phases, however we can interact on two elements between each round. We can allow our boxer to recover life or stamina, and we can choose the strategy he will adopt during the round. He can then be offensive, and quickly exhaust his stamina to finish the fight as quickly as possible, or he can preserve himself for the next rounds.
…But which turns out to be empty and repetitive
The gameplay is initially very addictive. The fights are exhilarating and we unlock more effective training for our young hope. But it only takes an hour of play for weariness to set in. The gameplay, so addictive at the beginning, turns out to be shallow and boring. Tasks are repetitive and do not repeat themselves.
Worse still, the game is dated in its sports management and the boxers we meet are randomly generated at each tournament, which, at first, prevents us from preparing before each tournament, but above all, gives rise to a cruel absence of progress. We have the feeling of repeating the same actions, the same fights, without any short or long term vision.
We can come across boxers who have more than a hundred and ten victories as well as newcomers who have just started in the circuit. They will all have the same level. And yet, in fact, would a Mike Tyson have gone to box a little stranger? We regret this glaring lack of work on this game which will unfortunately only be fun for a few hours before being abandoned. Today, there are many sports games which, at the same price, offer much more complex management. Damage…
The story mode is also a terrible disappointment. Truth be told, there is no story in the story mode. There is indeed an interesting start to the story, certainly classic, which puts us in the shoes of a crooked promoter in debt who tries to settle down by accompanying a young hopeful. And then there’s not much left. There are a maximum of four scenes to solve a rickety story.
This story leads us to make a hard choice, which, in the end, leads to nothing. No matter what decision we make, we end up with the same final scene, resulting in inconsistent and illogical dialogue.
This is all the more frustrating as we see the potential of this game which was unfortunately botched in its development phase. From what we have read, World Championship Boxing Manager™ 2 offers even less content and variety than the first opus. When we count the number of years between the two games, we really have the feeling of being blurred.
Additionally, there’s no way to choose your difficulty, and while the story mode is far too simple, the career mode is next to impossible. We start with boxers who can’t do anything, who have less than 10 out of 100 in each of the statistics and whose energy and stress bars explode within a week. It would have been so nice to be able to choose your difficulty…
The lifespan is in theory unlimited, but it’s a safe bet that you will get bored quickly. You may last five, ten hours on it, but above all to hope for a renewal that will never come rather than for pleasure. For fifteen euros, it’s pretty average.
The graphics are successful, and the pixel art really has a touch that allows it to stand out and offer a retro and coherent universe. The soundtrack is also nice.
The game is translated into French, even if there are huge spelling mistakes in the text.
- Good basics
- Addicting gameplay, starting
- Great graphics and soundtrack
- A lifetime, in theory, unlimited
- An ultimately empty content
- No ranking or progression
- A story mode that has no story
- Difficulties not well balanced
- Long moments of boredom
- Gross spelling errors in the translation
Lifespan / Price / Content