Fans may rightly rue the lack of arcade sports games on the market right now, but imagine being into boxing: even EA Sports’ uber-popular Fight Night franchise has been put on hold while it flirts with the more commercially viable UFC. Survios’ movie tie-in Creed: Rise to Glory was a rare stand-and-bang outing on PS4, but its virtual reality exclusivity severely restricted its audience. Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions aims to rectify that, delivering a Ready 2 Rumble Boxing-esque punch-‘em-up inspired by the Rocky franchise.
All of your favourites are here, from Balboa himself to Ivan Drago, James ‘Clubber’ Lang, and Apollo Creed. While the gameplay is built on simplistic, two-button foundations, the developer injects an impressive array of personality into each protagonist, augmenting them with unique moves and flourishes. There’s also a surprising amount of depth to the amount of combos you can perform and, crucially, the timing you’ll need to succeed. Miss your windows of opportunity and even on the lower difficulties you’ll find your butt firmly on the floor.
Between the comic book character models and various backdrops, there’s an agreeable cartoon aesthetic here that does justice to the license on a meagre budget. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too barebones to fully justify its price point: the inclusion of licensed songs, like Eye of the Tiger, give it some panache – but the story mode is simplistic, with text-based cut-scenes tying events together, and there’s no online option or alternative modes to speak of. Even though what’s here is of a high quality, it feels like it could have done with an additional training montage or two, just to add a little more beef to its bones.