Review – The Punchuin
It’s been a big week for indie games on the Nintendo Switch. Tons of new games being sneakily shadow dropped on the console of varying genres. Take for example The Punchuin, a puzzle game where you play as a penguin that likes(?) to punch things. It really is basically as simple as that. Well, and a giant god boxing glove appears after you punch a statue and tells you there’s treasure if you punch down for enough.
The gameplay is quite simple, but there are a few different types of levels. Your goal is to collect gems through the game from completing levels, puzzles, and minigames. The levels are quite simple: match three blocks in a row of the same colour. Each level will tell you how many of each colour you need to match together, with the twist being that you can only move them side to side, unless gravity takes over, then they fall. There are also ice blocks that fall with the regular blocks, these can also be smashed with a punch or two.
The second level type are the puzzles. These are pre-built levels where colour and ice blocks are already placed, and you simply need to figure out how to get all the colour blocks to match three in a row. Lastly are the minigames; each game is different from each other and require very different things from the main levels. There’s a punch a block, so it slides to a specific point with a giant punching glove, so you need to find the right level of power to apply. There’s also a basketball level to score all the balls that’s quite difficult, plus a boxing match with a punching bag. All are different, but break up the flow of the main game quite nicely.
Playing each level is a bit like Tetris– if your blocks hit the top, you lose. You also can’t take too long because the floor will start to rise. Different levels have different obstacles, like the forest having water, or the last area having lava (which kills your immediately and you need to restart the level). If you end up under a block you can’t break, the floor will rise one level and knock you free, thankfully. Lastly, the ice blocks that fall sometimes have things to use in them, like a fireball that destroys all the ice blocks on screen, or a stopwatch to give yourself some time to breathe. That or money, to spend at the shop on upgrades, like a fire glove to break ice in one hit.
The Punchuin looks cute, and each area is clearly different from each other. Not just in the foreground, but the background and the borders to each level as well. It does help to make each area feel unique, as if you are actually progressing lower into the world. What doesn’t exactly match is the music. The music in The Punchuin is great, but doesn’t feel like it matches each area quite as much as you would expect. Like I said though, the music is still great, so it is hard to fault it too much.
The biggest issues The Punchuin has arguably, are the actual length in the game, as it only took about two to three hours to finish. There’s also a pretty big difficulty spike. Specifically, as you go into the last area, the difficulty shoots through the roof, creating some artificial game time. By this point it’s barely worth collecting coins anymore either, because by this point I had all the upgrades and had finished the minigames (which cost twenty-five coins each).
All in all though, The Punchuin is good fun and definitely an excellent pickup over the holiday period for something to play, especially in short bursts. See how quickly you can clear it, especially once you know how to do some of those puzzles, because they can be real tough. Plus, the music has got to be better than Christmas tunes.
The Punchuin is cute, and each level looking distinct is a real advantage. The graphics aren’t anything crazy, but it’s certainly worth mentioning the love and attention put in.
There was actually a lot more to The Punchuin than I had originally expected. With the puzzles and minigames to break up the main gameplay, it made it really easy to sit down and play in one or two sessions.
Some of the music doesn’t feel like it fits the different areas, but the music is still good nonetheless. There isn’t a huge amount in terms of other sounds, considering its just lunging blocks and no voice lines.
Fun Factor: 7.5
The Punchuin would definitely make for a great holiday pickup to help fill out the time that you’re waiting between meals. If you manage to find it on sale at some point, even better, because it’s definitely worth the time spent played.
Final Verdict: 7.5
The Punchuin is available now on Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of The Punchuin was provided by the publisher.