Touch KO in Review – Fight Night on your iPhone?

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Boxing is sport I can get into. The rules are straightforward. The objective, punch harder and better than the other guy. Console games have progressed through the years to become almost as exciting as the real thing, so the prospect of being able to box on my iPhone was very appealing. Chillingo, an extremely popular game publisher for your iDevices has recently launched Touch KO. A 3D boxing game that they hope will knock out the competition.

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Starting up the game you have the option to create/login to a Blurst! account. This gives you the chance to track your progress through online leaderboards and access the unlockable achievements. After that you are brought to the game’s main page, and from there you have four options:  records, playlist, info and of course play. Records displays any achievements you reach. Details and images will only be available for the records you have achieved. Records can only be reached in the career mode.

Playlist allows you to import songs into the game from your ipod to play in game. If you don’t feel like importing songs one by one, you can just play your ipod before you launch the game and listen to your music that way.

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Info is where you’ll find the options screen, instructions on how to play, a training program and the game credits. Within the options menu you can control what boxer you are playing as, as well as the volume for sound and music. The play instructions are quite dynamic. Providing you with basic and advanced controls, the rules and details on all aspects of career mode, along with explanations of stats and a few tips on fighting.

The training program teaches you how to use the game controls one by one. Although effective and helpful I found it kind of odd to have it buried within the Info screen instead of on the front screen or under the Play menu.

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Speaking of the Play menu, You have 2 modes available Quick Play and Career. In Quick Play mode you just go straight to fighting. Stats are not saved in this arcade style mode and the level of difficulty will change progressively instead of a stage by stage basis.

In Career mode you start out by creating your character using the available customization options. After which you will be brought to your main screen. This is the screen you see before each fight. It will show you all your basic stats and info.

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When you are ready to fight, just tap the fight button at the bottom and you are brought to a screen where you will select your upcoming opponent. This gives you the ability to compare your current skill level to each of the available opponents. After you select who you will be fighting, you then choose one of three abilities to upgrade. This is available before each fight until you’ve maxed out all the abilities.

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Fighting is pretty straightforward. You have 3 main methods of punching, the jab, hook and uppercut. You also have the ability to block or sway out of the way of incoming punches. Controls are separated for each hand so you can block with one arm and punch with the other. Recognizing which hits I was attempting the use went extremely well. Even when throwing multiple punches a second it was able to properly identify which punches i was trying to use.

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When you knock someone down, you are treated to a replay showing the knock down punch. The quality is pretty impressive and the slow motion replay is rather amusing. Unfortunately though, I could not find a way to skip the replay, so I had to watch it every time I knocked someone down, which after 30+ fights is not quite as amusing.

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At the end of the match whether it’s a knock out or TKO, a chart pops up showing the judges scoring for each round. Afterwards you are brought back to your main screen again and if you happened to win the match a pop up message will congratulate you on your victory and let you know how much money you’ve received and whether or not your popularity has increased. If you do have any money you can tap the Shop button and from there you can buy new gloves, trunks, shoes or even customize/re-customize your character. As you win more and more fights you make your way to fighting for the amateur and then professional titles. I had expected there to be something grand or even some special video for when you reached a title fight but unfortunately there was nothing.

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Overall the Mechtley brothers (Adam and Matt) have developed a pretty solid game, one with loads of potential and some of the most impressive visuals we’ve seen for the iDevice thus far. While this maybe the case, there is some definite work to be done, the biggest being the difficulty. After going 35 fights challenging the hardest available fighters I could find (including one that was supposed to be 93-0-0) I have yet to lose a match. One would expect that to be a good thing. However taking in the lack of real difficulty, along with the issue I mentioned earlier about the inability to skip the instant replay, can take the fun (and challenge) out of playing the game after your share of bouts. Touch KO, although good, could be great as long as they can get a handle on these couple issues.

Note: Chillingo has let us know that a new PRO level (addressing the difficulty) and additional features will be released soon with the first update.

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App Summary
Title:Touch KO (v1.0)Developer:Chillingo (Developed by Adam/Matt Mechtley)
Price:$2.99 (Launch Sale!)App Size:25.8 MB
  • Impressive 3D graphics
  • Responsive controls
  • iPod integration
  • Easy to pick up
  • Online leaderboards
  • Instant Replay gets redundant
  • Difficulty levels set extremely low
  • No online multiplayer options

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