Wii Review: FaceBreaker K.O. Party

FaceBreaker makes its debut on Wii. Does it pack a punch or will it be knocked out instantly?

FaceBreaker: K.O. Party brings the magic of social play right into your living room! Built exclusively with Wii gamers in mind, K.O. Party offers several unique modes, eye-popping stylised graphics and intuitive gestures that let you pick-up-and-punch! Put your onions on the line by calling out the most disrespectful fighters around, and see if you have what it takes to dominate the most hazardous boxing videogame since… never! Let FaceBreaker: K.O. Party help you to rediscover the joy of ass-kicking.

The next-gen versions of FaceBreaker were pretty dire. They had horrible controls, stereotypical characters and cartoony visuals. So that should hopefully work in the Wii’s favour, right?

Wrong. While the cartoon look does help a game like this with the Wii’s appeal, it suffers from similar problems that the other versions has. First of all, the controls are just awful. Instead of simply using the remote and nunchuk in a Wii Sports boxing style, it just uses it for swinging side to side for jabs and there are times button combos will actually be displayed on the screen to help you time your punches just right, making the game incredibly easy.

I actually won most fights by simply blocking, punching then unleashing a combo and another then finally a few light jabs which would again lead to another combo. Once you can get that pattern down, the game is a complete cakewalk. Also this version actually gets you knocked out as soon as you meter runs down and it’s usually a case of the first to 3 KO’s for a victory, at least for the main part of the game where you fight opponents to gain belts.

The career mode doesn’t last long and the arcade mode adds nothing else to the gameplay. On the multiplayer side there are 2 modes to get stuck into. Punch-o-Matic which is the standard multiplayer match with power-ups and then there’s TKO which is the same but the fighters carry over their health over to the next match. There are two problems with the multiplayer: 1) You can only use 2 Wii Remotes in the game, even if you can play 4 player, how that works…I don’t know as I only have 2 remotes myself. 2) There is absolutely no online mode, which is just inexcusable in a Wii game now.

The career mode, multiplayer options and arcade mode are basically the only things the game has to offer. It’s a terrible package and even though the game is cheap at £20, you can find much better and cheaper boxing games out there. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if the team had just learned from the mistakes of FaceBreaker and tried to resolve them from the Wii version, which is even worse as it lacks online and other modes that added some replay value to it.

Visually, the game is nice looking for a Wii game. The anime-feel to it definitely feels more at home on Nintendo’s machine than on PS3 or Xbox 360. Animation is fluid and the characters are nicely detailed, even if they are the same ones. The soundtrack is a mixed bag that I didn’t particularly like but know others might.

The Verdict

FaceBreaker K.O. Party is a poor excuse for a fighting game. It has one basic mode with 2 multiplayer modes that only support upto one more Wii Remote. The lack of online also is a significant drawback and the controls leave very much to be desired. Avoid.