Here it is, boys and girls. After over a month of weekly articles observing the mastery of Wii Sports it has come down to this; the fifth and final edition. This weeks edition will be providing insight into Wii Boxing which, judging by the general consensus in real life and on message boards, has been dismissed as nothing more than a flawed, gimmicky utilization of the Wii’s control scheme. It seems as though most people just don’t have a firm grasp on the game itself, let alone how to excel at it. Guess what? Good things come to those who wait. Your wait, my friends, is over.
Okay, maybe this isn’t the most fluid game in Wii Sports. While none of the other games are award-worthy by any means, they all maintained a certain “realistic” feel to them. While playing Wii Tennis, you had the feeling you were actually swinging a tennis racket. While playing Wii Bowling you felt as though you were actually spinning a ball down the lane, knocking down the intimidating 7-10 split. The list goes on. There isn’t much of a learning curve with any of the other titles because they just feel right. But with Wii Boxing, do you really feel like you’re landing a right hook on the opposing Mii’s floating head?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Wii Boxing does not “feel” like real boxing. If you throw a high jab in real life, you want a high jab in the game. If you throw a low jab to the body in real life, you want a low jab to the body in the game. You just don’t get that, however. What is an uppercut in your living room will be a jab onscreen. What is a hook in your living room will be an uppercut onscreen. The bottom line? These controls don’t meet the standard set by the previous four titles in Wii Sports.
That said, each of these punches can be thrown with some consistency, albeit in less obvious manners. When dealing with a game light on instruction, understanding how to play is the first step in becoming successful. Holding the Wii Mote in your right hand and the nunchuck in your left (assuming you are right-handed), the straight jab is executed easily enough by quickly extending either arm straight out and then quickly pulling it back. After this punch, however, the situation gets a little sticky.
Even a jab to the body isn’t executed as expected. Instead of just angling your punch slightly toward the ground as logic would note as the appropriate course of action, you must angle your punch almost perpendicular with the floor you are standing on. Thankfully, those punches will be your most valuable asset and are none too difficult to execute. Still, two other punches are at your disposal should you choose to use them.
First, there is the hook. This, in my opinion, is the most frustrating to pull off and therefore serves no purpose in my gameplan. The only way that I’ve found to consistently use a hook (when intended) is to actually bring the Wiimote or nunchuk through a full-circle motion from the side of your body, back, outside, front, then back to your side again, all in one quick motion. This sounds simple enough, but when an opponent is bearing down on you with punches of their own it simply becomes too much of a burden.
The final punch is the uppercut. To execute an uppercut, all you must do is hold the controller by your side and quickly bring it straight up. If it connects, this hit can do significant damage to the opposition but more often than not you’ll be taking those swipes at the air. As such, if you’re going to attempt an uppercut you’ve got to be calculated. When those swings miss, they leave you vulnerable.
You don’t have to be a boxing fan to know that offense isn’t the only facet of the sport. Defense is important as well in Wii Boxing. While laying into the opponent may do the trick if you’re just starting out in single player or are going up against a friend who just isn’t any good, that kind of stuff won’t fly when the AI’s skill level increases or you run into someone else who can actually play this game (as a result of this article, no doubt).
You have two ways to defend yourself in this game; by dodging and blocking. In order to dodge the opponent’s punches you simply have to tilt the WiiMote and nunchuck simultaneously in the direction that you wish to go whether that is left, right, or backwards. Blocking, meanwhile, is a bit more difficult than dodging. In order to block an opponents attacks you have to hold the WiiMote and Nunchuck in front of you so that they are perpendicular to the floor, then tilt them inward toward one another so that your Mii tightens his gloves together. In addition, you also have to predict how high or low the swing will be coming at you so that you can raise or lower your gloves appropriately.
Now that you have full understanding of the game along with its strengths and weaknesses, how about some specific strategies? On offense, the first thing to stress is variety. Many will feel inclined to go on the attack with their strong arm almost exclusively, but it is important to throw punches from both the left and right in order to keep the opposition on its toes. Perhaps the most helpful thing that I could do is stress the importance of combos. When you land a clean hit on your opponent, your glove will pause slightly before retracting back to you from their body. If you can get another clean hit in on them with the other glove before that happens you are looking at significant damage.
Even if one of them is blocked, punches thrown in rapid succession can still be effective. One technique that I’ve found particularly effective is to take jabs at the body of the opponent with the left then throw a quick jab directly into their face with a right and vice versa. This isn’t something you will want to rely on too frequently, but is a tactic that may be able to save you from some sticky situations.
Don’t forget, as the old saying goes: Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Staying away from contact is key of course, and the best way to do that is by dodging. As you get low on health, you will see the “pie pieces” in your health meter blinking. Avoiding damage becomes even more important but if you do so successfully you will also be able to replenish some of your health, allowing you to go on the attack again.
Dodging attacks can present offensive opportunities for you in other ways as well. If you are able to dodge an opponent’s attack they will be vulnerable for just a second (Remember my logic for not using the uppercut? It works both ways), so quick sneak back into the mix and land a quick punch. This is an attack that takes a great deal of patience, but it is also the most low-risk means of attack.
As one final note, one thing that really perplexes many is how, in the event that you do get knocked down by the opponent, you can get back up. That is a legitimate concern, but one with a solution; throwing alternating left and right jabs in rapid succession.
If all else fails and you continue struggling in your virtual boxing conquest, the training exercises are truly helpful in helping you improve upon your combo timing, the aim of you punches, and your ability to dodge.
There it is folks. With the wealth of knowledge that has been provided to you throughout this series you should now be excelling at all five phases of Wii Sports and hopefully, by this time, feel comfortable calling yourself a “master.”