PAX East 2024 – Big Boy Boxing Has Big Boy Ideas

Big Boy Boxing
Image Credit: Soupmasters.

Do you miss Punch-Out? I walked the PAX East floor and found that Soupmasters made something similar: Big Boy Boxing.

You’ll be dodging side to side while throwing your jabs. It doesn’t hide the influence, instead flaunting it. The gameplay features a boss rush boxing game with hand-animated pixel graphics. Its smooth animation, and retro music will fill you with heartwarming nostalgia. Tell your dad and grandpa this isn’t the boxing game they remember. 

Big Boy Boxing Isn’t A Cheap Punch-Out!! Clone

While inspired by one of the old-school greats, Soupmasters aren’t using that as a crutch. Instead, Big Boy Boxing has its own ideas and some unique ones as well. One of the big differences is your opponents transform mid-fight. Each fighter also has their own attack patterns and fighting style.

The first encounter is against Freezy Boy, who doesn’t seem to hit too hard. His health went down about halfway down, and he began to hulk out. His arms became gigantic, and then so did his body. Freezy Boy ain’t no Glass Joe.

Big Boy Boxing Freezy Boy
Image Credit: Soupmasters.

Luckily, you have a power-up punch and can tilt forward for some haymakers of your own. Waiting for your opponent to glow yellow will help you land that critical hit.

The game is full of whacky characters that will give you a giggle. One character was three kids in a trench coat, helping the game’s personality shine through.

Big Boy Boxing Originally Looked Very Different

After playing the demo, I spoke with Martin Calander, Big Boy Boxing’s Game Director & Lead Programmer. I wanted to see how the game came to be and see what else was in store.

Surprisingly, this is Calander and his partner, Ludvig Thelberg’s, Art Director & Lead Animator, first project.

Initially, the game was looking very different. The project began as a fighter more in the vein of Super Smash Bros. Over time, it slowly shifted to more of a Punch-Out!! style game. One reason for this change? Cuphead, which also serves as a huge inspiration for the team. Just like Cuphead, Big Boy Boxing doesn’t phone in on the content. Calander plans to ensure there’s enough in the final release to make it stand on its own two feet instead of falling to a ten count.

The PAX East demo had seven bosses, but Calander told me there is way more content. We could only see about 10-15% of what’s in store for us. We did learn about one thing in the works: equipable items and stat upgrades, which should drastically change each fight.

The last Punch-Out!! title I played was on the Nintendo Wii, which naturally features motion controls. With the game coming to Nintendo Switch, I had to ask about the possibility of motion controls. Calander said it was something they hope to incorporate. It all depends on how much time they have available in development. 

Big Boy Boxing Features Something Near and Dear To The Developer

One thing that will for sure make it to the final product is mod support. It’s been one of the biggest roadblocks for Calander during development. Adding mod support is very important and personal to Calander. He started the industry by modding for games he enjoyed, such as Minecraft. They want to allow players to add their own content with ease.

Big Boy Boxing Items
Image Credit: Soupmasters.

It’s refreshing to hear this after all the controversy with mods in AAA games over the past year. Importing the art and animations hasn’t been easy for the team over at Soupmasters. They heavily modified the United engine to obtain their desired goal. Don’t let the pixel art fool you: a lot of work is going into Big Boy Boxing.

So When Can We Play Big Boy Boxing?

The one thing on my mind during my hands-on with Big Boy Boxing was this: when can I play this game? Sadly, there’s no release date available just yet, but I was told to keep my eyes peeled. Calander says the team has an internal goal for launch, which should be announced soon.

As for a physical release, something is reportedly in store for Nintendo Switch. Sadly, that’s all they were willing to share.

Big Boy Boxing is a big deal, and we’ll discuss it closer to release.

Thanks again to Ludvig Thelbrg for helping me set up this interview, and thank you to Martin Calander for sitting down for a quick interview. Soupmasters has something special brewing, and I’m happy I got hands-on time with it at PAX East. 

Written by Mikey Yaden

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