If the ‘90’s are trendy again, World Championship Boxing Manager II should fit right in.
The original World Championship Boxing Manager was released in 1991 for multiple systems, including Commodore 64, Amiga and Windows DOS. While the sequel came out in 2023, it is a throwback to this era and style of game. The graphics and style have a purposeful retro feel.
In the game’s story mode, you play as Jake, an underground boxing promoter who is trying to go legit. Jake has a bad reputation, and most of his contacts are surprised he is not in prison. Still, he finds a young boxer with potential named Axel. Your job is to get him ready for fight day.
World Championship Boxing Manager II is a management simulation. Most of the gameplay involves upgrading your boxer and facilities. How will your boxer spend his time at the gym? Different workouts increase strength, speed, footwork and other stats that help in your matches. Fights and tournaments increase your reputation, and help make money.
If you are expecting fights similar to Fight Night or even Punch-Out, this is not the game for you. The player chooses how they want to fight that round, either neutral, offensive, take risks or bide your time. Boxing matches are extremely simplified, and rounds last about 10 seconds. Choose a different strategy for the next round, depending how much health your boxer and opponent have left.
The story mode is short, taking only 3-4 hours to play through. Once complete, you can play out the stories of other famous boxers. Sugar Ray Robinson, Teddy Roosevelt, Sue “Tiger Lilly” Fox, and Rocky Marciano are just some of the storylines you can follow. These stories are quite delightful, and provide a history of boxing through famous figures.
Want to create your own story? You can play career mode. Start from the bottom and work yourself up. You have the options to choose your gender, manager and how you want to prepare. You can recruit multiple boxers, upgrade your gym and schedule fights.
World Championship Boxing Manager II is fun, but can also feel grind-y. The user interface is also riddled with unneeded complexity. For example, “Schedule” shows what your week looks like and any fights that week, but you have to go to “Gym” to schedule workouts. A better solution is to put this all under one tab.
For the right person, World Championship Boxing Manager II is a blast. But it is not for everyone. The game is relatively inexpensive, but also worth waiting for a sale to pick up. You can find it on Steam.
Editorial note: the author received a review code for this game.