The Mechtley Brothers and Chillingo has recently released their game Touch KO into the App Store, one of the first full-on boxing games in the store. When it was released, I was excited beyond imagination, hoping for something that was at least somewhat close to EA’s Fight Night for PSP. We did do a hands-on preview for the game also, but I wanted to see how the Mechtley Brothers had improved it and what different additions they added to make the game set up a pretty high standard.
Graphics: The graphics that are used in Touch KO are absolutely astounding for an iPhone game. Although they don’t near in quality and crispness as let’s say Fight Night for PSP, I cannot believe I have a fully functional, 3D game available on my iPhone. The Unity 3D engine works great for this game, and I believe this game is an example of stretching the limits.
Controls: The controls for any iPhone game is very important. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tony Hawk for iPhone or Assassin’s Creed for iPhone, the controls must be adequate for the game to be enjoyable. Touch KO’s swipe and tap gesture controls work perfectly for a game of this type, and once you get into it, you’ll start to feel like you’re actually boxing. I found the controls to be very responsive and very easy to use, and I believe that the controls are what make this game enjoyable.
Unlockables: Touch KO features a ton of unlockables from 35 pairs of shorts to 18 pairs of gloves. There are also a ton of other choices to customize your character with like tattoos and shoes. Each one costs a certain amount of money, and once you start leveling up, the better items you can be able to buy. Some items increase your stats also, so I suggest for you to get the ones that increase stats.
RPG-like Elements: One thing that Touch KO did here is very similar to Baseball Superstars. You gain money and popularity after playing a game, then you are able to buy clothing that increases your stats. Before every match, you get the choice of being able to raise 5% of a stat of your choice. I think this works extremely well in this game and adds to the replay value.
Framerate Issues: Sadly, I did experience quite a lag when playing Touch KO on my 1st generation iPhone. Although my device is the slowest among all the other devices, it is still capable of handling Assassin’s Creed and other beautifully crafted 3D games. I experienced this lag more when I was playing my own iPod music within the game, and I’m suspecting that the game isn’t quite compatible with the in-game iPod music playback yet.
Crashes: Some of the worst things that can happen to you in an iPhone game is crashing. It’s very sad to say that Touch KO did crash a couple of times on my device, and I found it to be a little irritating. I’m guessing that the game uses a lot of RAM to process all the graphics, so maybe using a little bit less memory would help.
Easy AI and Gameplay Balancing: The beginning of the game starts out fairly easy, a little too easy. I don’t mind when the first two or three fights are easy, but once you experience 6 to 8 fights with such an easy AI, it gets a little repetitive. I would have liked it if there was a choice for difficulty levels, and maybe even make the beginning of the game a little bit more difficult. I felt that the gameplay balancing was a little off because as I started to progress through my career, the AI jumped in difficulty.
Touch KO is a good game with some flaws that prevent the game from being great. All the issues that I had with the game are obviously fixable through an update, and I really hope that they fix this soon in an update. Don’t get me wrong, this game is absolutely fantastic, but the lags and crashes that I was experiencing was a little too much since I haven’t had an application crash on me for a long time. This is definitely a buy from me though for the great gameplay, great graphics, and some awesome unlockables. On second generation devices, this game should run quite smoothly as I did try the game on my brother’s iPod Touch 2G.
Touch KO was developed by the Mechtley Brothers, and was published by Chillingo. It is available for $2.99, and I played the game through version 1.0 on a 1st generation iPhone. I loaded up the game multiple times, and fought through many career matches.