As somebody who loves underdog stories and punching, you know I enjoy me some Rocky. I’ve watched all the movies (good and bad) and I’m a big of the recent sequel franchise, Creed. So when I got sent a code to check out a new Creed/Rocky boxing game, I was excited. When I saw it was a throwback to classic arcade boxers, I was even more excited. Then I played it and discovered that it’s also sort of a visual novel where you punch some people too. All of this is good. (But the price is probably too much.)
Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions was released earlier this month on most major consoles and was developed by Survios. It’s a game that plays a lot like classic, arcadey boxing games of old. It features health and special meters, energy-infused attacks, big and colorful characters, and fast action. This ain’t a realistic boxing simulation like EA’s Fight Night series. This is good ol’ fashioned over-the-top boxing, like back in the days of the Dreamcast.
And it’s totally solid stuff! It’s probably a bit too easy to spam heavy hits and I think the blocking is a touch too powerful, but it works against AI and human opponents. I had fun punching, dodging, countering, and mashing the X button to get up after a knockdown.
The more interesting part of Creed Champions (I’m not writing the whole name again, it’s too long and clunky) is that each fighter in the game, including ones you unlock later, features their own storylines. These can be beaten in about an hour or so, depending on how good you are at dodging and punching.
These stories are presented using a format very similar to visual novels. You don’t make big decisions or interact with the characters, just hit a button to get the next chunk of text. What really makes these wonderful in a silly kind of way is that all the characters never change their outfits or looks. So boxers wear their boxing gloves at the airport, in the streets, and anywhere else the various storylines take you. Non-animated poses are swapped out as text changes, sometimes with a few grunts and other short sound bites. It’s simple, but a joy to experience.
One other nice part of Creed Champions is that sometimes before matches— when playing in the game’s main arcade mode—you’ll have to train for the next fight. This is represented as a series of mini-games that you quickly move between, creating a training montage. A lovely touch. (Yes you punch some meat in a freezer. This is a Rocky-related piece of media. Of course, you punch meat in a freezer.)
Some more observant players may notice that all of the assets in this game appear to have been created for Survios popular 2018 Creed VR boxing game. And yeah, that’s true. But I think it’s a smart use of these assets. Not everyone has a VR headset or even wants to play a VR boxing game. So repurposing these assets for an arcadey boxing game is fine by me. Less fine is the price. $40 is a little much for something like this.
Still, if you have been hankering for a new, modern arcade boxing game like Ready 2 Rumble, it might be worth checking out the next time it goes on sale.