FaceBreaker K.O. Party Wii Review

We already have a review of FaceBreaker (not a very flattering one by Andy), but the Wii version offers enough differences to make it worthwhile to write about again. For the uninitiated, FaceBreaker is a cartoon style boxing game very much in the vein of Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, where the character selection consists of a host of comical types and where the boxing is completely OTT.

Mechanically all the pieces are in place to make for a reasonably strategic offering. There’s high punches and low punches, both of which can be charged up, whilst attacks can be parried and each character has their own unique method of stunning their opponents. There’s also a paper, scissors and stones like system, where almost every attack can be cancelled out by another.

The combo meter is an important facet of matches, this starts to fill with any successfully landed strikes and each level allows for its own breaker (which is essentially a fancy name for particularly hard punches) each of which has different effects, such as the SkyBreaker, which sends your opponent airborne and leaves them helpless to a follow up attack. The titular FaceBreaker is the highest level of these breakers, successfully execute this and the entire match ends in an instant. It’s not the cheap way to score a victory that it may appear, as getting the combo meter to its apex, requires an uninterrupted onslaught of punches, making these potentially cheap manoeuvres a rarity.

As much as it appears to be a thinking man’s game, FaceBreaker K.O. Party is actually the opposite. It’s the rapid pace of play that goes and ruins things. It’s so fast that any form of real strategy goes straight out of the window and it becomes nothing more than a button masher, or, more apt for this Wii version, an arm flailer (yes, I’m very much aware it’s not a real word) which is a shame.

The stereotypical characters fail to add some much needed charm to the game. There’s a big Russian, a geek, a ladies man, a tough lady soldier and a monkey, amongst others. None of these are in the least way funny, save for the monkey, because we all know monkeys can’t possibly fail to raise a smile.

The primary single player mode Brawl For it All is a series of matches where characters, venues and costumes can be unlocked. Which would be fine and all, if the AI didn’t fight so cheaply on even the easiest difficulty setting.

New to this Wii version is Punch-O-Matic, a multiplayer focussed mode, where a slot machine will determine the impending match or mini game that you‘ll play. For example you might end up having to avoid snowflakes, so as to prevent yourself from becoming frozen or try to attempt to shoot more birds than you opponent. It’s a likable and unpredictable mode, but hardly changes the fact that the game itself is little more than average.

FaceBreaker K.O. Party may be almost completely devoid of strategy, so it’s obviously not the most cerebral game. But that doesn’t change the fact that the game is at, the very least, throwaway, inoffensive fun and one that, whilst a reasonable enough holiday for the old grey matter, is quite simply nothing more than that.