Thanks to the standard Virtual Console suspension and restore point functions any SNES re-release on New Nintendo 3DS can be played in whatever sized chunks are allowed by your free time and battery life. There are, however, some that work particularly well as a handheld title, such as this game - a game so exciting it needs two exclamation marks. Super Punch-Out!! has you get in the ring for fast and furious action as you compete against a series of colourful characters en route to becoming a boxing superstar.
In a change from its NES predecessor fights in this game last a single three-minute round, although it's unusual for a fight to go the (very short) distance; either you'll have won quickly or your misjudged strategy will have resulted in a speedy defeat.
Visually the game is a bright and colourful one that shines well on the smaller New 3DS screen, particularly when you turn on the original resolution mode in the Virtual Console options menu. Similarly to the arcade Punch-Out!! titles, the action is viewed closer to the fighters than in the NES game and your character is translucent, allowing you to see what you are swinging at. The watching crowd of cloned spectators have basic animations, but they are just in the background. The fighters themselves have large sprites and the good character designs and shading come together to make it look similar to an interactive cartoon. OK, it's not exactly Dragon's Lair, but you do at least feel more in control of the action.
The controls are simple and responsive, helping to immerse you in the fights. Button placement can feel unintuitive but thankfully the game includes a menu to set the punches to the buttons that suit you. Also helping to sell the boxing experience is the crowd noise and various swishes, thumps and dull thuds that accompany the action as well as the announcer calling out your opponent's name and performing the ten count. This is not one of the games where it's essential to pack headphones when travelling, but the sound effects work incredibly well if you do so.
In fights you have a few options for the punches you are throwing (body, head, uppercuts) as well as the ability to block or dodge those of your opponent. For your first fight you can try various things without fear of losing – if Nintendo had an achievement system one of them would have to be "Somehow lost to Gabby Jay". As you progress there's less room for experimentation and each fight becomes a puzzle as you work out what attacks work best on your opponent and when best to employ them. You study their behaviour (or look out for what their corner man is saying) and act accordingly.
The range of characters you come up against across the four circuits helps keep the game interesting, especially with the variety in the ways characters fight. It's not just flying fists you must look out for, though, and as you progress you'll find you have kicks, wooden staffs and spit to deal with too. There are some characters that are essentially tougher versions of previous opponents such as Mad Clown, a large Italian opponent who fights like a more skilled version of earlier Canadian crusher Bear Hugger, but there are plenty of different attacks you must learn to counter across the sixteen fighters.
Clearing each circuit can take some doing, but the use of a restore point can help make your life easier if you are frustrated be repeated failures sending you back to the start. Once you've clocked the best way to deal with any given fighter the battles become easier. However, you will use a few different techniques during a fight, so even when you know what you are doing the fight can swing the other way due to a mistimed punch. Trying to beat the game will keep players busy and there's some replayability too thanks to the fact your quickest times are recorded – try to achieve a better time either by replaying the circuit or diving into the Time Attack mode.
Featuring some great-looking large sprites, effective audio and more importantly plenty of fun gameplay, Super Punch-Out!! is an enjoyable gaming experience. Fights require thought if you are to be succesful and whilst figuring out the best techniques for dealing with an opponent makes the game somewhat easier, the range of opposition keeps things interesting. The brief fights suit the short bursts of play you may engage with on your New 3DS, and there's lots of entertainment to had from playing or replaying the game and trying to set a new fast time.