Pato Box (Switch eShop) Review
Pato Box is a world-famous boxer, a world champion in fact. After suffering some ill effects with an air of suspicion surrounding them, Pato Box loses his title belt to the number one contender and is then stabbed in the back and left for dead in a dark back alley. Pato Box thankfully doesn’t suffer the same fate as Daredevil’s father, and plots revenge against the corporation known as Deathflock, who harbour all of the secrets surrounding Pato Box’s fate that night. Oh, Pato Box is also part man, part duck.
If that description doesn’t intrigue you, perhaps the Punch-Out!! style gameplay will. For the most part, the player controls Pato Box by walking around the various floors of the Deathflock building, uncovering company secrets and why the company betrayed Pato Box in the first place. Each floor holds a boss, who Pato Box fights in Punch-Out!! style fights. Each boss has their own unique patterns that the player needs to commit to memory. Pato Box can lean to the left and right to dodge, pull back to block attacks and can use both left and right hands to punch for the guts or the face. Even though this is a boxing system used in every Punch-Out!! game since 1984, it still works to this day.
There are some minor differences that set Pato Box apart and make it unique. First of all, there’s no way to tell how much energy Pato Box or his opponent have left. Right before being knocked out, Pato Box is surrounded by a black border around the screen. Pato Box needs to avoid being hit during this time to make the border disappear. There are no ten counts, once Pato Box hits the floor, it’s game over and the fight starts again. Rather than the opponent being knocked out three times for a TKO, there are three stages to every boss fight, which contain new patterns to memorise. The third phase makes Pato Box visualise being back in the boxing ring, putting him in the zone. The fights can take anywhere between five and ten minutes in total, making them longer than the usual Punch-Out!! fight.
As most of Pato Box’s fights take place in different areas, each boss comes with a unique fighting style. The first boss, for instance, is the security chief of Deathflock. In the boxing match against her, she brings an array of laser beams, robots and lightning beams. Not only does Pato Box have to avoid her punches and kicks, he also needs to punch security bots and avoid the various weapons. It gets very hectic very fast, and the game is quite unforgiving as a result. It can get downright infuriating to make it to the final stage, only to be knocked out and start from the beginning again. There are motion controls included as well, though from my experience they only made the fights harder as I am not dextrous enough for the velocity at which the game reaches.
As mentioned earlier, Pato Box needs to walk around Deathflock to uncover the dark side, and why he was betrayed in the fight at the start of the game. There are a number of activities that Pato Box has to do in order to make it to the boss. There is a casino where Pato Box has to earn a certain number of coins to make it to the boss. This involves gambling for chips by playing poker machines, roulette wheels and Black Jack. Another floor has Pato Box working his way through an advanced security system, avoiding lasers, robots and spotlights.
All of this is presented in an art style similar to Mad World back on the Wii. Only utilising black and white 2D sprites in a 3D world, it certainly feels like you’re travelling around an older style comic book. There are some sweet relaxing electro groove sounds to accompany the art style that sound really pleasing to the ear.
Pato Box is definitely a game worth checking out. If not because Nintendo haven’t provided the world with a new Punch-Out!! game in nine years, then definitely because it’s a weirdly beautiful game starring a boxer with a duck head, who has been wronged by a large corporation and seeks revenge against a bevy of interesting and unique characters.
+ You’re a boxing duck
+ The art style and music are both magnificent
+ Great Punch-Out!! style gameplay
- Restarting fights from the beginning becomes frustrating