World Championship Boxing Manager 2 is a business simulation game where you attempt to train the world’s best boxers. In this World Championship Boxing Manager 2 review, we take a look at the game’s mechanics, its premise, gameplay, and whether or not it’s worth your time and money.

World Championship Boxing Manager 2 Review: What is World Championship Boxing Manager 2?

World Championship Boxing Manager 2 is a PC game developed by Mega Cat Studios and published by Ziggurat. The game was released on January 17, 2023, and is exclusively available on Steam.

In World Championship Boxing Manager 2, you play the role of a gym owner, developing a gym’s equipment, facilities, and personnel in an effort to train boxers into world-class champions. You do this by painstakingly setting each of your boxer’s training schedules, booking their matches, and even coaching them on their corner during their matches. You also have to manage your gym’s finances, earning more money by winning booked fights and spending that money on your boxers’ training and welfare.

Gameplay

The majority of World Championship Boxing Manager 2’s gameplay is played through menus. This is a business management sim, after all. Players navigate through a series of menus that allow them to micromanage a boxer’s training and fight schedule, making sure that they intricately balance each boxer’s regiment to make sure that they don’t get too tired or stressed.

Management of a boxer involves dictating what each one will do per day when they are scheduled to fight and managing each boxer’s energy and stress levels with the Clinic and Lounge facilities, respectively. You are also responsible for recruiting new boxers to fight for you, and populating your gym with suitable support staff, like a trainer in the Gym, a physician for the Clinic, and therapists for the Lounge. Each one of these support staff has its own special effects, which are varied enough to make you really think about who to sign onboard your Gym. The tradeoffs in choosing one staff member over the other are also significant enough to really make you consider who you’d like to sign.

Work at the front office is straightforward enough, so after weeks of training, you should be ready to send your boxers into fights. Booking matches does not cost you anything, but if you want your boxers to become more popular, you could spend some money to promote and hype up their matches. The more popular the boxer, the more fights they become eligible for, with higher-tier matches producing better rewards for you and your gym.

Once in a fight, you are also tasked to coach your fighter’s tactics. You get to choose between four tactics, dictating how aggressive your fighter will be and whether or not they’d take more risks than usual. Once you’ve chosen your tactic, a round will play out, with your boxer squaring off in the ring without any more influence from you. Here’s where you just hope that it would be the opponent who would get knocked out, not your boxer. In between rounds, you get to choose a new tactic that your fighter will do in the next round, and apply medical treatment to your boxer to replenish either their health or energy. Ten rounds are played out or until someone gets knocked out.

This is where I find most of the design problems lie. It’s great to be able to train your boxer and send them out to the ring when you finally think they’re ready, but this section of the game is barely fleshed out. You get to watch your boxers stay in the middle of the ring and fight for twenty seconds per round, with little to nothing for you to do other than watch. I wish a skip option was available not only for the rounds but for the entire fights as well, especially if I just want to focus on the management part of the game. To boot, there are other design problems in this section, such as the lack of feedback on whether or not your chosen tactic works, mostly because you don’t know which tactic your opponent uses each round, so you are left clueless about whether or not you chose the right tactic or not. A simple indication on whether or not your tactic works would have been great, but then again, the boxers featured in this game are 2-dimensional cardboard cutouts that don’t seemingly have any personality, leaving the tactical part purely guesswork.

Just a little nitpick also is that when a boxer gets knocked down in any round, they automatically lose by knockout. One of the most exciting parts when watching a boxing match is watching whether or not a downed boxer could get back up just before the ten-count, but World Championship Boxing Manager 2 scrapes away all of the thrill and drama of a boxing match by removing this from the game.

Another problem I see in this game is that your boxers will never meet each other in the events you book them for. You can book boxers on the same night, but never for the same event, which makes any fantasy booking you might have where you put two of your prize fighters fight for a championship out of the picture. This brings us to the next problem: for a game with World Championship Boxing in the title, the game lacks any Championship to fight for, which also brings up the issue of there not being any weight class to dominate, and so on and so forth. You’re just building up a gym and maxing out your boxers’ stats, with little to no other objective than “get better.”

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Story

Thankfully, the game features a story mode that at least gives the game a direction and purpose on why you’re managing boxers. In the game’s first story, you play as a down-on-luck but charismatic businessman who is drowning in debt but has just recently discovered a boxer with great potential, which makes them decide to start a gym. This gives you some motivation to slog through the game’s months of training and fighting, but this does not change the gameplay loop in essence at all. You are only given objectives that you’d be doing in a regular game, anyway.

What’s worse is that the game gives players illusory choices in the story, as some segments of the visual-novel style dialogues offer two options on how to respond. However, based on what we’ve played to write this World Championship Boxing Manager 2 review, there isn’t any significant change to the story or even any significant effects on gameplay. This glaring issue reared its ugly head when one of the manager’s debtors asked him to throw one match away for his prized fighter so that the debtor can win loads of money from betting against him. You are offered a choice on how to respond to this proposition, but neither would stop the inevitable from happening – the story will play out in the same way whichever response you choose.

The game offers other stories featuring legendary boxers like Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, and others. However, you have to finish the game’s first story before unlocking the rest of the stories, which takes about three or so hours. Sadly, while these narratives offer insight into the stories of these famous boxers, there really aren’t any significant differences between one story or the other, so it’s not like the gameplay changes between these stories. You’re just going to play the same game over and over again, with just a different sprite with different stats representing your boxer each time.

Graphics

The game features a fantastic-looking hand-drawn pixel art design. The graphics are good and it does what it needs to do to convey the different events in the game. I find the graphics to be one of the best parts of the game, which could have stood out more if World Championship Boxing Manager 2 had more breakout moments and memorable encounters in it – which it does not.

Music and Sound Design

World Championship Boxing Manager 2 also has a nice soundtrack to go along with the game’s menus and fight scenes. They’re decent enough that I’d say that the music and sound design is one of the positives of the game. On top of that, the game also features full voice lines for its story scenes and commentary during matches. The sad part is that these voices were mostly wasted on boring stories and largely uninspired dialogue. The commentary is a cool touch though, and I wish that the commentary was given more lines to say during the match.

Verdict: Is World Championship Boxing Manager 2 Good? Is World Championship Boxing Manager 2 Worth Your Time and Money?

I admit that I haven’t played the original 1991 game – it came out five years before I was born and it never garnered enough cult status for it to be on my radar years later. But even then, I feel like World Championship Boxing Manager 2 is a relic of the past, as I feel like the 32 years that elapsed didn’t evolve the game enough to today’s standards. There’s some fun to be had in the game, but I don’t see myself playing it any more than 10 hours. Playing through the main story was a slog, and it took me a lot of convincing (from myself) to try out the other stories and the game’s career mode to see what more there is to offer. Sadly, the extra eight hours spent playing the game on top of the two hours spent on the main story was homogenous, and nothing about the game gave me enough motivation to continue on and play further.

Score: 4/10

Editor’s Note: ClutchPoints received a PC review copy to allow us to cover this game. This copy did not, in any way, affect this World Championship Boxing Manager 2 Review’s final score and verdict. For our other reviews and everything else gaming and esports, stay with ClutchPoints Gaming.