Boxing games live or die by their gameplay. You can make the visuals look as beautiful as possible, down to the rippling biceps and beads of sweat, but if the punches don’t land right, then the whole experience will suffer as a result. Unfortunately, Real Boxing 2 comes up short with both its visuals and its gameplay, delivering a mobile port that perhaps should have stayed on mobile.
The gameplay borrows a few cues from EA’s dormant Fight Night series, mapping the majority of your boxing moves to the right analogue stick. Move it left or right to swing a hook, up for an uppercut, and down for a body blow. Oddly, standard jabs are mapped to ‘ZR’; this isn’t an issue in itself, but when you’re focused so much on using the analogue stick, it’s easy to forget about throwing any jabs.
You’ll also have special moves that unlock after you’ve taken a set amount of damage, along with focus moves. The latter is essentially a more powerful punch that renders your opponent dazed, allowing you to unleash a torrent of combos to chip away at their health. Since Real Boxing 2 was originally a mobile game, there’s no option to manoeuvre your boxer around the ring; all you’ll need to focus on is throwing punches, dodging, and blocking.
The main bulk of the game is within the career mode. Here, you’ll create your boxer before competing in various fights across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Each location is split into three different options, which generally consist of ‘story fights’, ‘boss fights’, ‘tutorials’, and more. You’re provided with a rating of up to three stars for each fight depending on your prowess (pretty standard stuff for a mobile game).
Within career mode, you can also boost your boxer’s stats with training modes like the classic jump rope and punching bag. In addition, you can also activate cards at the start of each round within a fight, giving you small boosts to your attack power and stamina. These cost coins each time you use them, but they can often turn the tide of a fight if you’re struggling.
Currency is a big part of the experience, with both coins and diamonds used to purchase cards, new fighters, apparel, and more. Given that this is a port of a mobile game, there’s thankfully no actual requirement to spend real money, but there’s definitely way too much focus on transactional progression in comparison to actual skill.
Local multiplayer is also an option within the game’s ‘Versus’ mode, giving you immediate access to the admittedly brilliant special characters, including the timely Bad Santa (no Billy Bob Thornton, though). Unfortunately, however, there’s no option to simply compete directly with the CPU, so if you’re after a straight-up, single-player experience, you’re pretty much stuck with the career mode.
Ultimately, Real Boxing 2’s gameplay falls way too short of the standard expected on a console like the Switch. Without the option to use the touch screen, attacking with the analogue stick feels clunky, with no weight behind the attacks. It makes the fights feel boring and a bit of a chore to get through. In addition, while the visuals look perfectly fine on smaller screens, pop your Switch into docked mode and it really highlights how janky some of the models and animations look.