Facebreaker: K.O. Party Wii
Published by: EA Freestyle
Developed by: EA Freestyle
Release Date: Out Now
Recently we reviewed Facebreaker for the Xbox 360 and it was every inch a mediocre boxing game. The game should have been an accessible, arcade-style boxer that allowed anyone to have fun but it was deeply disappointing and frustrating too. Here we have a version of the game for the Wii that takes advantage of the console's motion sensing controls. In theory it should make for a lot of fun, especially when played against friends. It doesn't turn out that way however and you're better off playing the boxing mini-game that came as part of the Wii Sports compilation.
Facebreaker: K.O. Party has five modes, most of which cater for multiplayer (online play isn't supported however), but regardless of which mode you choose to play, you're pretty much getting the same experience. The controls are actually pretty decent as you'll hold the Wii remote with one hand and the nunchuck attachment with the other. As such you'll box in a fairly natural way. Jabs are thrown by carrying out a punching motion with either the remote or nunchuck. Punches can be charged by tilting the remote or nunchuck backwards and then punching in the usual way to release the charged punch. Low punches can be carried out by holding down the B button while jabbing or carrying our charged punches. To perform a HayBreaker, you'll hold down the A button and punch with either the remote or nunchuck. As the combo meter is filled you can perform more powerful attacks than the HayBreaker such as the BoneBreaker, GroundBreaker, SkyBreaker and the match finishing FaceBreaker.
A major problem with Facebreaker is that the game is really lacking when it comes to defence. You can block, dodge and parry but most of the time they seem pretty ineffective against the AI's attacks. Part of the reason for this is because the action is just so quick. Clearly then the best method of defence is to attack. The problem with that, apart from the fact it moves away from boxing and more into being a frantic and disorganised scrap, is that it can be really punishing playing against the AI. Your AI opponents don't have aching arm muscles to consider but most human players probably will. Unsurprisingly then, this is less of an issue when playing against human opposition and the game is undoubtedly more fun as a multiplayer title.
In fairness to the developers, I think they did a good job with the game's presentation. The character models don't look too bad at all, although they do kind of resemble angular looking action figures. The various arenas you'll fight in also look pretty good but the backdrops to them could look better. The animations are predictably over the top, as are the facial deformations that the boxers suffer but this is in keeping with the arcade nature of the game. None of the speech in the game, such as comments made by the boxers and words spoken when making your selections, is subtitled. Whilst this is disappointing, it's worth mentioning that all important information is shown visually such as the How to Play tutorial section and the hints that you receive during the rounds. You can always see the health and combo meters and the parry gauge is displayed whenever necessary.
Facebreaker: K.O. Party for the Wii is just as disappointing as Facebreaker was for the Xbox 360. The control system isn't bad but the game just feels like an all out slugger with practically little incentive to be defensive during a fight. For a game whose main focus is the multiplayer action it's a little disappointing that online play isn't supported. If you're a little out of shape from years of playing games too much, like me, then you could argue that playing Facebreaker: K.O. Party is a good way to give your arms some exercise but as a boxing game it leaves a lot to be desired and you already own a better boxing game in the shape of Wii Sports.