They're not like they are in the films; mostly, they're weird, bipedal, feathered creatures, with a beak, but no teeth and...
...Wait. Hang on. No.
That's not a fight I'm describing: that's a bird. Have you ever seen a bird? They're not like they are in the movies, see... except... when they...
No. No, I'm so very confused now. What was I talking about?
Bird Club, as the name suggests, is a game about birds. FIGHTS! Bird Club is an egg about fights. I mean - game about birds. Fights! A game about eggs. Birds! FIGHTS!
No. Start again.
You might think Punch Club is some sort of beak 'em up, but you'd be avian a laugh if you flamingo penguin stork up a toucan play at that game puffin moa gull. Your tern! Ding ding!
How much you get out of Punch Club will depend on your tolerance for the tedious minutiae of life, and whether or not you enjoy bailing out leaky canoes.
Though wearing the trousers of a late-80s point-and-click adventure game, it sometimes cosplays as a traditional beat 'em up, yet boasts the pulsing heart of a stat-led RPG. That might sound as if it's a weird hybrid of things - like a dog with a protractor glued to its parts - and it is, but it basically boils down to you micromanaging the life of a professional fighter called, in my case, "Bummo".
It's a question of balancing the muscly fellow's motivation, sleep, and energy levels, with the need to train, work, and eat. As you succeed in getting that balance right, you'll be unlocking skills and abilities, and choosing which to select as you enter into combat.
You see, Punch Club takes a certain inspiration from a movie series of a similar name, seeing your character engage with the punch-and-kick of underground fighting clubs. You'll be encountering various seedy characters, and taking on rubbish jobs, to be able to afford the equipment and training necessary to rise to the top.
It's alright, if you can be bothered to keep repeating the same few actions endlessly, and really enjoy the steady erosion of statistic bars.
You see, what floors Punch Club is threefold; firstly, it has little personality of its own.
It pretends to be an 8/16-bit game because, well... that's what Indie games seem to be doing nowadays.
Plus, it drops assorted 80s and 90s pop culture references into its scenes and dialogue, simply because it can. There's no context, or real wit, displayed in what it does.
Additionally, the juggling of statistics, and fighting to keep your stats buoyant, becomes monotonous far earlier than it should. It wouldn't matter so much were it not for the fact that success or failure often feels random. Despite how carefully you select your abilities before entering into a fight there's no guarantee of victory, even if - on paper - you easily outmatch your opponent,
Lastly, the fights are mostly out of your hands once they begin. Though you're the one responsible for selecting which abilities your fighter takes into battle, once the fight is underway you won't be able to intervene. Indeed, more than anything else it reminded me of the dry-ish, number-heavy rasp of a football management sim than a strategy game about underground fighting clubs.
It doesn't so much get your blood pumping, as give the nearest quantitative statistical analysis consultant an erection.
SCORE: 5.127 ROUNDS OUT OF 10.9