Pass the Punch Preview – Knockout
Honestly, 2D brawler indie games are kind of like sand, there are a ton and not many of them are good or even promising. Luckily Pass the Punch is definitely not one of them.
In short: Pass the Punch is in theory a very classic coop brawler. Over the course of 3-4 hours, you can battle through various bosses, enemies and stages, alone with an AI or with a friend. What makes Pass the Punch so promising are two things though: the combat and presentation.
Pass the Punch is a beautiful game, featuring the colourful, vibrant and smooth art any brawler needs to truly shine in 2D. A part of the appeal is the way all enemies and characters are based on real life food or cliches, while transforming them into somewhat cute enemies. I mean, there are suitcases with hammers and giant crabs! The designs are just cute and unique enough to get one hooked onto the game and offer a really surprising amounf of fluid animations similar to the player characters. Be it the allround boxer or heavy hitter, all playable characters featuere a wide array of special attacks and combos for this little game that flow and connect to each other in a really fluid manner, while looking simply cool. I mean, dashing through enemies, then unleashing a flame storm to throw the enemies in the air and juggle them there with your combos feels and looks awesome.
Speaking of juggling, similar to fighting games or other hack’n slash titles, Pass the Punch’s combat’s central focus is getting enemies into the air and keeping them there with combos. This is actually a pretty big challenge, since most combos are quite straight-forward for ground combat, all of them get way more situational in the air, making knowledge of what button and direction does what a central challenge.
The other central point why the situational depth works so well is because the general combat is pretty simple and doesn’t offer much depth in terms of execution. There’s a button to attack, trigger partner attacks and heavy attacks. By pressing a direction on the D-pad or Joystick, similar to the Naruto Ninja Storm games for example, it’s possible to change the combo path, which is also essential to get the most out of the system. Since mastering it is such a crucial factor to grasping how cool Pass the Punch can look, there’s also a neat little minigame where you have to get a basketball into the goal, which teaches you basically everything and throws enemies at you as well to further challenge you.
Pass the Punch looks like an incredibly cool, diverse and actually deep brawler for the 3 hour coop session with your friend. Combined with the multiple characters, there’s surely something for everybody here.
Pass the Punch will release 2019 for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch