Pato Box is what happens if you take a pinch of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System game Punch-Out!! and throw in some old-school 1st / 3rd person game engine to give you a world to explore in-between boss fights. The game’s presentation is ultra cool with a minimalistic hand-drawn comic book style, piercing black and white palette, hitting up a story worthy of a place in the next Sin City movie. Sounds like a crazy mix, right, well that’s not even the end of it! You take on the role of Pato who is our protagonist in this fighting, action-adventure but naturally, he is also some sort of humanoid mix with a Ducks head… I’m not ducking joking.
From the main menu, you are swiftly treated to a well-covered loading screen which doubles up as a mini-comic. Once done you must follow the on-screen instruction, learning the basic fighting moves as you do before heading off for your first fight. Billed as the fight of the century! It soon becomes apparent that you cannot win this fight as opponent Kilpatrick needs to win for the story to progress. You are knocked to the ground, unable to regain consciousness, you are eventually dragged out of the ring, stabbed and left to die in the streets. Sounds like something that even Rocky would have a hard time dealing with, all-in-all you are pretty ducked… see there’s a theme to these terrible dad jokes.
You are saved by a mysterious but sexily shaped silhouette and taken back to a secret headquarters where the mission for revenge and justice begins. You must play through the main mode to uncover the truth, each area contains a number of story elements, puzzles and enemies to overcome. After each area, you must face one of the bosses in a battle that tests your reflexes, tactics and courage on the road to being crowned the boxing champion!
The gameplay is pretty solid and the controls work well, it did take a fair amount of practice to master though. There are a number of button combinations to learn if you want to become a real contender and boss fights are fast and unforgiving. The game supports the option to use motion control which I found fun for a couple of turns but ultimately a guy with my build and upper body strength isn’t really suited for movement. I must have looked like a seal pup thrashing around in the water for the first time. As usual with this sort of game, one that needs a little dedication, I died a lot but it didn’t deter me from giving it one more attempt. There are a number of collectables to locate along the way which adds to the depth and longevity of the experience but I found the semi-puzzles offered little to no challenge.
I enjoyed Pato Box mainly because it reminded me of how much I loved Punch-Out!! The visuals are pretty, especially in handheld mode and if you can master the fighting mechanism you will had plenty of fun. I would have liked to see a split screen vs multiplayer mode included but this probably wouldn’t have worked and isn’t what this game is about I guess. So, will you chicken out or learn how to DUCK?
Beard Score: 6/10
Genre: Fighting, Action, Arcade, Adventure
Release: 09/07/2018 (Switch)
Format: Steam, Nintendo Switch