Travis gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Travis gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
TinyBuild was kind enough to give Cheerful Ghost a key for this game for our review. Thanks TinyBuild!

In Punch Club, you play as a boxer trying to make his name in the ring, and in unlicensed fights. And you fight mutant alligators. But while it may seem like a boxing game, it's really not. It has more in common with tycoon games, and the old Dope Wars games that came out around the turn of the century.

You essentially have to manage your sleep/energy/hunger/etc while making sure you have enough time to get to matches, and making sure you have enough money to do what you need to do. You can select the stats you want to improve by the different exercises at the gym, and you need to pick skills for your fights that match well with the stats you're strongest in, but you don't actually get to control the fights.

And that gameplay loop really works. It's a satisfying resource management game. The only issue I had with it was that the default may be a *little* too taxing. There's an easy mode that's just way too easy, but the normal mode can get frustrating early on.

That frustration dies down after a couple hours, though, but crops back up sometimes when you really don't want it.

I also really wish we could actually control the fights. I feel that this addition would provide a nice action break between the grindy-by-design life sim parts. I'm not complaining about that grind, it's a fun game loop and it pays off, but some variety would help here.

Overall, however, this game really works and I definitely recommend it.

As for the port: I played this most on PC, as that was the original (along with smartphones) and I wanted to compare the two. But the Switch port really holds up. Everything runs perfectly smoothly, and looks as you'd expect. The controller mappings feel natural after only a couple minutes. The only issue I have with the port is that, while the game runs on iOS and Android with touch controls, there's no support in the Switch version for the touch screen. The controls are great but some repetitive tasks like moving around on the map and selecting your skills in fights could be greatly improved and sped up by using the touch screen.

This is, however, a minor complaint. I may actually prefer the Switch port because this just feels like a curl-up-on-the-couch-with-a-handheld game to me. This is odd, because I don't prefer handheld gaming, but I recommend playing this one in handheld mode. It's the same controls either way but it feels more personal and engaging that way.

If you have a Switch and want a fun, low-pressure game to play to take a break from stomping goombas and gliding around Hyrule, this is a great game to have.