Super Duper Punch is what I imagine organized fighting looks like in the Katamari Damacy universe. Two toothpick-limbed, vaguely human-shaped creatures fly at each other with lollipop gloves drawn, smacking one another around until someone succumbs to dizziness or the ominous black cloud that is the physical embodiment of one fighter’s ego.
There is, of course, a colorful expanse of nonsensical environment zooming past in the background. Rainbow rivers, giant toothbrushes, and rabbit-infested football fields are the obvious choice of décor for the boxing ring that is just endless, zero-gravity fighting space. The ambiance matches the fighter: the toothbrushes and soap bubbles float behind the duck centipede challenger (whose body segments are made up of, yes, individual duck heads), while the grassy endzone belongs to football great Mongo, whose tiny arms belie his powerhouse right hook.
On top of these seizureful palettes our two fighters dance, flying at each other from any direction, floppily outstretched like a rubber Superman. Punches are dealt as quickly as you can tap the screen, or withheld for blocking and sliding toward power-ups dotting the ring.
Despite its boxing gameplay claiming inspiration from—and feeling mechanically similar to—Punch-Out!!, Super Duper Punch is far too fluid and manic to truly be compared to its pseudo-namesake. It fits in more with the likes of crazed party games like Starwhal, where randomness and a single lucky hit can flip the entire match. Its victory condition is more tug-of-war than toe-to-toe: whichever player is knocked (or accidentally floats) into the shadowy ego crossbar at either edge of the screen will lose the round. I’ve doomed myself many times after hitting a “reverse” power-up and floating backwards, but have also knocked plenty of opponents out while they were too dizzy to move.
Whichever the outcome, the path to getting there is always the same: hectic, intense, short bursts of flurried punches and spidery dodging, bursting with personality. The single-player tournament sends your Queen Clara (who, the story explains, was demoted from fighting champ to newborn featherweight by the power of her own ego) through a roster of increasingly challenging opponents that will eventually demand you learn the subtle steps to victory: I haven’t done so yet and am stuck at stage 5, Bozo the long-punching clown.
When you need a break from being pummeled by hyper-extending clowns, multiplayer allows two humans to live out their cosmic battle fantasies on a single device. It is a bit awkward on the smaller iPhones, but if you’re not willing to hold hands with the person you’re duck-punching into ego-oblivion, then who?
Grab that special someone and beat them into colorful senselessness, or just solo-punch the udders off a rabbit: Super Duper Punch is a free download on iOS.