Big Boy Boxing Preview - A True Successor to Punch-Out

Published: September 3, 2023 9:30 AM /

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Big Boy Boxing header

The great thing about PAX is that you often find hidden gems. To say a game is a "gem" is cliche, true, but if any game deserves that description, it's Big Boy Boxing.

Since the initial debut of the Nintendo classic Punch-Out from the 80s, we've had new entries in the franchise here and there. It's definitely not on Nintendo's list of priorities, though. Thankfully, Big Boy Boxing by Soupmasters fills that void.

Big Boy Boxing gameplay showcasing a training session with your coach.
First thing's first: You gotta learn to punch.

Big Boy Boxing is a Knockout 

If you've seen how Punch-Out plays, Big Boy Boxing follows a similar gameplay formula. Your character takes on a cast of colorful and wacky opponents in intense boxing matches. It's also tough as nails, just like the series it takes inspiration from.

Players can punch opponents with left or right hooks, but also change position to dodge or target other parts of an opponent's body. You can punch an opponent's head instead of their chest, but what you really should be doing is targeting their weak spot.

Points on an opponent's body flash yellow during certain attack animations, which signal that this is their weak spot. Hitting that is, of course, much more advantageous than just punching away at other parts of the body. It also makes them more vulnerable for a time.

Big Boy Boxing showing a match with Freezy Boy.

Conversely, some areas are hardy and won't do any damage if hit. One opponent, for example, had this big ol' beer belly that softened blows easily, but when he turned around to shake his behind at me, his rump lit up for a beating.

I could choose any character to fight, and so I wanted to look at the diversity of the cast. Like Punch-Out, the personalities are extreme and the character designs are super creative and eccentric. 

Big Boy Boxing gameplay with a dog.
I didn't get to see him, but I gotta ask: What the dog doin'?

Art to Match the Insanity in Big Boy Boxing

The art style of Big Boy Boxing is extremely playful, like something out of some classic cartoon. It's no wonder, then, that this title lists Cuphead as one of its inspirations.

It's not in the same highly detailed, hand-drawn style as Cuphead, but it has the exaggerated animations and overall goofiness one would expect. The art is all pixel spritework, too, which makes this game even more impressive.

Big Boy Boxing gameplay of an officer you can fight.
Seeing gameplay screenshots from fights outside the demo has me excited.

You'd have to see Big Boy Boxing in motion, but believe me when I say these sprites are painstakingly animated. The characters move in a loosey goosey way and it's just incredible to see.

Talking with one of the developers on the show floor, they expressed that there was an incredible amount of work put into this sprites to bring them to life, so it's a really commendable effort.

A Big Boy Boxing screenshot showing some story segments.
I definitely want to beat this B.F.T. guy up. 

Big Boy Boxing PAX West 2023 Preview | Final Thoughts

As I mentioned, this is quite the challenging game. Even the Glass Joe equivalent in Big Boy Boxing was a tough fight. Just nailing the timing of dodging hits, combined with trying to get your own hits in -- it'll just take some practice.

Nonetheless, I felt myself getting better through trial and error. It's a boxing game, after all, so practice is key. With challenges you can complete for each fight, too, it's a game that encourages replays. 

I didn't expect to see Big Boy Boxing at PAX West 2023, but I'm glad I did. Finding games like this is what the convention is all about, so be sure to keep an eye out for the official release at some point in the future.

Big Boy Boxing was previewed at PAX West 2023.

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