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Facebreaker KO Party (Wii)

Rated: 12+.

Gameplay: Choose from one of a dozen comedy stereotypes (nerd, cool black guy, psycho Russian, etc) and enter boxing tournaments which are merely a succession of bouts against the other characters.

Although the fighters are depicted in 3D, the fights are essentially two-dimensional. You move left and right using the thumbstick and then waggle the wiimote and nunchuk furiously to attack, while occasionally stabbing at buttons to block and throw. You can punch high and low and mix up a selection of quick, hard and special attacks. These attacks have a scissors/paper/stone relationship.

Fully draining an opponents health bar results in a knock-out. Three knock-outs wins the bout.

Save System: Auto-save after each bout.

Comments: Considering the Wii comes bundled with a game that offers not only boxing but four other sports as well, a stand-alone boxing game needs to be pretty special to justify its existence. To this end, Facebreaker adds some flashy graphics, comedy and a deeper combat system. Unfortunately, in ditching Wii Sport's first-person perspective for a standard side-on beat-em-up view, the game loses most of the connection between the player's movement and the action on the screen.

Yep, that's right, get READY to WAGGLE!

There is some strategy to the fighting but often everything moves too quickly to clearly spot what's going on. Sadly, the single-player game provides little incentive to persevere and get to grips with the system. Multiplayer games, meanwhile, turn into a frantic display of arm-flailing as participants struggle to grasp the mechanics. Since the game is obviously intended as party entertainment, this is a problem. It seems Facebreaker's main purpose is as something to play if you've got friends round and they've had enough to drink to make Wii Tennis a danger to your light fittings.

Two people can play a wacky variant with added power-ups and minigames. Four people can take part in a tournament. Only two players can actually play at once, however, and as the bouts can become protracted, the remaining players are liable to be sitting around for a while. Bear in mind that they'll spend this spare time rifling through your DVD rack looking to see what else there is to play...

Conclusion: Mildly amusing for not very long.

Graphics: The fighters look impressive and the animation is good but there's not much else to it.

Length: Very short.

Rating: 2/5.

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