Do you understand what the words "Hajime no Ippo" mean? No, nor do I. I can't even pronounce that, let alone understand the meaning of it but it's this famous Japanese anime that this boxing game is based upon.
For those not familiar, in the game, like in the anime, stars one Ippo Makunouchi, a wet around the ears fighter who frequents the Kamogawa Boxing Gym. Unfortunately for the owner, this gym hasn't produced a champion in it's entire twenty year history and as you can imagine, he isn't very happy about this. Luckily for him though a guy by the strange name of Ippo soon arrives on the scene and all hope is seemingly restored. Ippo is your cliche fighter. He's a kid that comes from an humble upbringing but has the fire and the heart to make something of himself. That's the story in a nutshell, but lets face it, you don't play fighting games for their story telling ability.
The real pull of this title is in its ability as a boxing simulator. Of course, any game that incorporates cel shading graphics is hardly going to be the most realistic. What this title effectively does though is create a dynamic and fun-loving game that's heavily reminiscent of the classic Super Punch-Out!!! on the SNES.
The biggest issue that critics have with this game is it's reasonably complex and sometimes unresponsive control system. There are a variety of control schemes to choose from. For instance, Swing Mode 1 not only does the player use both the nunchuk and the Wiimote to throw punches, but to also duck and bob and move their boxer around the ring. Although the idea was nice, this causes problems because at times the Wii has difficultly determining the difference between a duck and a punch. The best and most responsive control scheme by far is the Swing Mode 2 system. It uses the nunchuk's analog stick to move around, which frees your hands up for punching and punching alone.
The controls take some getting use to, but once you do this game is a great to play. The game will come fairly easy to the experienced gamer, but the act of pummeling an opponent (or a friend) is highly satisfying regardless of gaming ability.
So overall, this is a real fun game that has a nice flow to it and great graphical execution. The main issue that a lot of people had with it was with it's seemingly complicated control structure, but I believe this is short sighted. For once overcome, this is a game that excels above most boxing games on the Wii and I would personally recommend it to any passionate boxing fan.