A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this arcade boxing game is a parody, with bodies flying in the air after a bombastic punch. Yet the game does encourage you to pummel your opponents incessantly. And one of the power-ups you can earn is a finishing move that allows you to actually break your opponent's face. One of the characters, a dreadlocked Jamaican named VooDoo in a skull mask, could be considered a negative stereotype instead of an over-the-top caricature. Women are shown in tight outfits and look ditzy. The online aspect lets you download any picture and add it to a boxer as their face, or create your own boxer and upload it to share -- which means kids will find all sorts of boxers, including one with Hitler's face.
What's it about?
Bang! Pow! Ouch! FACEBREAKER isn't a boxing simulation. Rather, it's an over-the-top, cartoon-y arcade game that recalls the classic games of Punch-Out!! and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing. There's no real story here, just a cast of boxing personalities that would make boastful promoter Don King seem like a quiet wallflower.
Boxing in FaceBreaker is super easy. You use the controller buttons to punch low and high and to parry punches. Pummel your opponent incessantly and you'll get power-ups. The first, GroundBreaker, just adds stronger punches. The second, SkyBreaker, sends your sorry prey flailing into the air. The third, FaceBreaker, is a finishing move that contorts the face of your foe, more in a Popeye way than in a real-life way. Yet the characters are unbalanced and button mashers will win over careful players.
Is it any good?
This game could have been rated four stars, but it lacks the necessary depth. Its online play is thankfully seamless and adds a fun aspect to the gameplay. You can add your photo or any celebrity photo to a boxer that you, yourself create. Imagine the possibilities: Palin versus Biden or Obama versus McCain. You just upload a photo and the game adds a 3D element, just as in the Tiger Woods PGA games. It's a brilliant addition, one that gets better because you can share your creation online.