One of the most uplifting scenes I have ever seen in a movie is when Rocky Balboa (Silvester Stallone) sprints as fast as he can up the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the end of his training, jumping around at the top of the stairs with both arms up in a victory sign and ready to face the world boxing champion, Apollo Creed. Every time I watch this particular scene, I tell myself, “You can do it!” Now, are you a fan of boxing? Whether yes or no, you will be able to experience the highs and lows of Victory Road!
Victory Road is a sport/strategy/simulation game, developed and self-published by Strange Journey on the Steam platform on the 10th of March 2020.
The first thing you’ll need to do as a successful coach is to choose the right boxer to take under your wing. Depending who you have chosen, the lucky athlete will either be in the feather, middle or heavy class, but before unlocking his own class, he will need to reach the first spot in the amateur class. And for that, you’ll need to make sure your boxer is well-fed, trained and well-rested.
It will all start on the 1st of January as both the coach and boxer will be swinging to the funky music in his office. Each day will have three meals and three actions which also including fights. You can choose to feed your boxer pre-set meals or make your own (box on the left-hand side of your screen) if your protégé is asking for something he’d like to feast on before each of his actions. But you really need to make sure he has enough energy, water and protein in his diet to exercise and gain additional levels in each of his main characteristics, which are stamina, strength, endurance, footwork, reflex, focus, toughness and will. But food will cost money, and at the start of your career, cash is not in abundance. Therefore, you can either set up a stand and sell hotdogs or send your protégé into the mines to make extra cash during that action phase. But be aware, he will come back very tired and probably need a bit of rest in the next stage.
The other thing he can do (if it is available) is to fight a robot, gaining skill points which are vital for your boxer to move up the leader. If you win, you receive a skill which can be used in the strategy icon (a lightbulb) on the right-hand side of your screen. You can use the point in the way of offence, defence or utility, but I’ll let you discover this for yourself as it is a critical part of the strategy that you’ll take with you during a rank fight. You’ll also be able to choose what type of boxer your protégé is. Will he be more aggressive or one of those boxers who waits to land a painful punch? Will he be a master in hooks, jabs, uppercuts, straights or body shots? You’ll also discover combos while fighting, which you can select on your next match as long as you have enough stamina points.
You can challenge a boxer by using the trophy icon, or you might receive a brick through the windows for a rank match . . . very funny! You can upgrade your gym equipment via the gym icon, and you can also advertise, which will get you more members and therefore a few more bucks each month.
But the fighting is fabulous and truly fun as you can select 6 specifics moves to activate through the A,S,D,Z,X and C keys on your keyboard. There is an additional move that you’ll unlock further on, which is the Hyper key or F; the beauty of this move is that you can do this through the strategy icon either before the match or right in the middle of it. You’ll also control the coach, just in case you get knocked out, but the little bugger might have a few things up his sleeves to help you win the fight: a poisoned bottle, gloves with spikes (one of my favourite) and plenty of other funny things that helped me in many matches. The only problem you may encounter is that you might accidentally throw the poison bottle on your protégé instead of the opponent. That happened many times in my case, while I was winning! My boxer was injured and lost the match by K.O, and my coach is an idiot (that was me; hard to control two things at the same time)! Needed to get to hospital, pay to cure my boxer’s injury, and then he was out for a few days, so he missed a ranked match.
As you start winning matches, you’ll gain more fame and supporters and earn a few more pennies, too. You’ll unlock skills, fights, foods and all sort of things.
Two characters will pop up randomly: the postman (I think it is), who will offer you better apparel (gloves, short and shoes), and Alibaba on his flying carpet, where you can buy the spiked gloves and other nasty items.
Great Pixel graphics and the music suits the game very well. I find this game very well thought out and extremely addictive. This is an excellent early access game, and I look forward to seeing more updates. For me, this game is a little gem!
Positives+ Great pixel graphics
+ Combines management and action phases brilliantly
+ Choose your own strategy before or during the fights
+ Good numbers of combos to unlock
+ Boxing gear to buy for your fighters
+ Your coach can access items to help you during fights
Negatives- No trading cards
- My coach is an idiot!
Well-combined management/action game with great depth and beautiful pixel artwork; Victory Road is truly a Gem.
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Zeepond Rating: 9/10
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