It’s been over 30 years since the release of World Championship Boxing Manager, but developers Mega Cat Studios have brought the franchise back with the official sequel, World Championship Boxing Manager 2. Players can take the reigns of their own boxing gym as they train and manage their fighters on their journey to the top of the boxing world.
World Championship Boxing Manager 2 is a tightly made sports management simulator with two main modes—story mode and career mode. Story mode serves as a tutorial of sorts, running players through various scenarios in a lower-difficulty setting that helps establish the mechanics and teach players the ropes. Things like scheduling training sessions and booking fights are explained and clearly shown, so players better understand how the game works. The story mode also unlocks characters, including famous historical boxers, who can be recruited as fighters and training staff in career mode.
Career mode is the real bread and butter of World Championship Boxing Manager 2. After learning the game’s base mechanics, career mode throws players into running their own boxing gym and managing a stable of fighters that can be recruited and customized. Each recruitable fighter has unique skillsets and specialties, so players must choose carefully which fighters they decide to bring in. Once a team of fighters is recruited, players can immediately begin scheduling fights and choosing which attributes to train in order to bring their fighters from the amateur levels of boxing all the way to the top of the professional level.
What I really appreciate about the game is the freedom given to players. In career mode, I never felt like I had to do anything specific. I was able to experiment around with specializing different fighters in various skills and schedule fights for them at my own pace while I learned more and more about the game. And a big part of the fun is located in the actual fights themselves.
There are plenty of options to choose from, including championship tournaments, seasonal knock-out bouts, and exhibition and prize fights. When managing during the actual fights, some options will have a different impact based on how you trained a fighter, which gives a relatively simple game on the surface significantly more depth. For example, if I have a fighter who excels at fast, powerful punches but lacks endurance, I had to choose to try to win the fight fast before I risked my fighter getting tired out and beaten in the later rounds. So, getting to choose between rounds and how I wanted my fighter to approach the next was vital. Overall, the fight strategy mechanic is straightforward; there are only a handful of options, but the ability to train fighters in specific ways made each fight feel quite different from the last.
The art direction for World Championship Boxing Manager 2 is key to completing the whole package. Instead of updating the design to a more realistic one, World Championship Boxing Manager 2 opts for more unique pixilated designs that feature some really interesting-looking characters. The fight animations are not overly complex, which makes the presentation much more approachable for people without much knowledge of the boxing world. Taking a sport that has become more niche in recent generations and presenting it in a retro-looking package helps make it feel simpler and much easier to grasp for those new to either wrestling or management sims.
If I were to nitpick one thing about World Championship Boxing Manager 2, it would be that simplicity often led to confusion for the first few hours I spent playing. Not everything is clearly defined in-game if you, like me, skip straight to career mode first. The wording of “story mode” and “career mode” was also a bit confusing initially, given how similar those modes typically are in games. It took me a while to get comfortable with the gameplay loop in World Championship Boxing Manager 2, but once I did, the pieces all fell into place quite quickly. Before I knew it, a short session on a Saturday quickly turned into eight straight hours of playing.
World Championship Boxing Manager 2 is not a complex game, but it sure is an entertaining one. I’ve become attached to my team of fighters throughout my time playing, and I plan on continuing to play quite a bit in the future to test out new approaches and achieve even more satisfying victories. Fans of management sims or boxing fans looking for a game representing their fandom are in for a treat here.
World Championship Boxing Manager 2 is available now on Steam.
World Championship Boxing Manager 2
World Championship Boxing Manager 2 is not a complex game, but it sure is an entertaining one…Fans of management sims or boxing fans looking for a game that represents their fandom are in for a treat here.