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Video Game / Punch Club

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Punch Club is a boxing tycoon management game with multiple branching story lines. The game was released on 8 Jan, 2016, developed by Lazy Bear Games, and published by tinyBuild.

Your father was brutally murdered before your eyes. Now you must train hard, eat chicken, and punch dudes in the face to discover who ended your father's life.


  • Ancient Order of Protectors: It turns out that your father and his three best friends are merely the modern guardians of the medallion, which has been protected for millennia.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Somehow, acupuncture is capable of immediately treating broken bones and concussions.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: In the pro fighter route, your last training opponent before fighting Ivangief is a bear.
  • Big Fancy House: If you become a pro fighter, you move in with your promoter, who lives in one. It's got a home gym better than your old one and the cook serves fancy food.
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  • Bland-Name Product: Your primary training grounds for most of the game will likely be Silver's Gym. There are also posters on various walls for the movies "Stoney" and "Sportsport."
  • Casualty in the Ring: In the pro fighter route, Roy takes your place in the international tournament and then Ivangief kills him in the ring.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Until you get down to 0 HP, you're still just as fearsome as you were when you started a fight.
  • Denser and Wackier: The core game doesn't take itself too seriously, but its plot is still generally in the boxing and martial arts genres and most of the supernatural elements (like the medallion) fit into the latter (aside from Time Travel). The Dark Fist plotline is a superhero plot that goes into full-on parody.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Dark Fist quest line, in which you become a superhero, ends with the revelation that the evil Mastermind is your cat Fluffy, making this a near-literal example. After becoming empowered by your father's medallion, and resentful of the player for never feeding him properly, he set up a world-conquering scheme, even faking his own death when you started interfering. You stop him by telling him off, rubbing his nose in his weapon of mass destruction, telling him not to try taking over the world, and then taking him home.
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  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: You need to get your ass kicked a couple of times in both the Rookie League and the Ultimate Fighting League if you want to unlock important powerups. For the Rookie League, a couple of losses will let you take, SCIENCE! potions. The Ultimate Fighting League is where you can get injured in a fight, which gets you sent to the acupuncturist.
  • Dump Stat: In the game, you have three special skill trees to work with, with each one of them having its own dump stats.
    • Way of the Bear requires high Strength and is all about hard hitting strikes while sacrificing Agility, meaning you'll whiff a lot of attacks which suck up energy.
    • Way of the Tiger requires high Agility and is all about hitting people hard and often and dodging blows, though you'll sacrifice Stamina in your fights.
    • Way of the Turtle requires high Stamina and is all about being a tank, making people wear themselves out trying to take you down, though you'll also have to sacrifice Strength.
  • Early Game Hell: The time and money management is hardest in the beginning, when you have no stats to speak of and barely any money, and have to balance work, training, eating and sleeping, dealing with severe money sinks and stat decay. As you advance, you get more tools for making money and keeping your stats and meters up, allowing you to focus on kicking ass. The fights do get harder, but you'll be harder too unless you're playing Hardcore Mode.
  • Experience Booster: Training with Roy increase your training effectiveness.
  • Experience Penalty: Staying on one exercise for too long eventually reduces the gains you get from it.
  • Expy: Damn near every NPC you meet, from the Indian convenience store clerk to the old retired fighter named Mick, to sewer-dwelling mutant reptiles.
  • Extremity Extremist: Choosing the Way of the Tiger pushes you toward a kick-based fighting style, while Way of the Bear focuses on punches.
  • The Faceless: Frank, who introduces you to the very basics of the game, only appears as a voice on the other end of a phone call.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: This game requires lots of grinding to get strong enough to take down the next opponent.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Way of the Tiger can be played this way, specializing in Agility and Strength over Stamina.
  • Gainax Ending: After hard training and fighting your way to to the top (either professionally or illegally), you head to a secret island for the Man in Black's tournament. The result of this tournament has no effect on anything but two lines of dialogue, and then you confront the Man in Black, who reveals that he is your father. Yep your father's killer is your father; he traveled back in time, killed his past self, and stole the medallion so he could destroy it. This is because, in the original timeline, splitting the medallion in half so both his sons could use its power led to one piece becoming cursed, driving one of you insane (he doesn't tell you which), and then the insane one killed the other one and became a crime lord who somehow turned the city into an apocalyptic wasteland. Nothing else is explained, no one reacts, asks questions or says anything else. You merely get to walk around for a few more seconds before the credits roll.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • If you take the Pro Fighter route, you break your leg before the tournament with Ivangief, and there's no option to fight on the broken leg or go have the acupuncturist fix it.
    • As a pro fighter, your promoter says you'll be charged for the house's food, but you're not. Presumably, he's just deducting it from your merch sales.
  • Glass Cannon: One of the final talents learned from the Way of the Bear disables all your block, dodge, and counter skills, in exchange for a massive boost in power.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You choose the name of the protagonist at the start of a run.
  • Inevitable Tournament: The rookie league, underground ultimate fighting, the bar parking lot brawls, the pro league, this game has quite a few.
  • Instant Home Delivery: Anything you buy from Apu goes immediately into your fridge at home.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Your initial skill selection gives equal focus to all stats, before you reach the advanced "Way" trees and have to pick one to specialize in.
  • Killed Offscreen: In the gangster path, Roy's gone by the time you're released from prison, with Adrian just saying that his love for underground fighting went too far.
  • Level Scaling: Hard difficulty adds this to your opponents.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Way of the Turtle requires high Stamina to soak up damage (and to unlock in the first place), but Strength and Agility have to be balanced as well. A badly-trained fighter is nothing but a Stone Wall with weak strikes or Powerful, but Inaccurate ones, and that doesn't win fights. A well-trained Turtle is a solid meat shield plus a nastier slugger than the average fighter following the Way of the Bear, with hard-ass strikes that hit consistently even against a fighter focused on dodging like someone in the Way of the Tiger. Not only that, the Turtle controls the energy battle, letting the enemy tire out while you keep your breath by blocking and sometimes retaliating, and then knocking him down repeatedly. The problem is that, since you have to keep all the stats high, training time becomes a grindfest later on.
  • Limited Wardrobe: You only wear a yellow T-shirt with an indistinct pattern and red gym shorts. Unless you shuck your shirt while at the gym or at home. In some cutscenes, though, you have other clothes.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Red Eye is actually your dad, but from a different timeline than your dead dad.
  • MacGuffin: Getting back your father's medallion drives most of the plot, even before you learn of its power.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Way of the Bear, the Strength-focused path on the protagonist's skill tree, is all about this: forget agility, just hit hard and be ready to take it just as hard.
  • Mugging the Monster: If your stats are below a certain threshold and you walk between areas with at least $150 in your pockets, you have a chance to encounter a mugger. You can choose to fight and, if you're strong enough, flatten him.
  • Nobody Poops: You can chow down on all the steak, pizza, coffee, and energy drinks you want, because you never need a bathroom.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: The Man in Black; rather than fighting you himself, he sets up a tournament with his own champion.
  • No Stat Atrophy: Averted. At the end of each day, you lose some points from each stat, but there are perks in the skill tree that prevent stats from dropping below certain levels.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: In the original version of the game, Agility was this, as consistently hitting your opponent was more important than hitting them harder but less often, and Way of the Tiger ignored Strength entirely by doing damage based on Agility instead. Given that Agility also influenced your ability to dodge attacks entirely (and therefore negate damage), making a build with anything other than Agility was essentially taking the much more difficult road. Later updates to the game balanced things out a bit more by making Strength more consistently useful, but Stamina is now the dump stat, better in a secondary role (to increase HP and Endurance) instead of a primary role (focusing on letter opponents wear themselves down by punching you in the face).
  • Percussive Maintenance: You help "fix" the engine of Roy's truck by bashing it with a sledgehammer.
  • Power-Up Food: After losing two rookie league matches, Silver sends you to the Professor for a more artificial means of strengthening yourself. Professor sells "potions" that boost one of your stats by two for a couple of days.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Man in Black/your alternate-timeline father's motivation for killing his past self and stealing the medallion.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The ending reveals that the Man in Black, who killed your father, also is your father. The quest to avenge your father and recover the medallion was ultimately pointless.
  • Shout-Out: The game is filled with references to other media, such as the protagonist's friend suffering a fatal wound from Ivangief, or the local pizza place making special deliveries to Mutant Ninja Alligators and their Raccoon Master.
  • Sibling Rivalry: The protagonist has a brother, but in the pro fighter path, rather than working together to solve your father's murder, he wants to do it all himself and prove he's the rightful inheritor of the medallion.
  • Stat Meters: Along with Experience Meters for Strength, Agility, and Stamina, and the health and energy meters in fights, you have meters representing your life (which affects your health in fights), food (which goes down with any activity), motivation (which affects the effectiveness of training), and energy (sleep or consume certain foods to regain it).
  • Story Branching: There are two ways to gain access to the Man in Black's tournament: by becoming a professional fighter, or by allying with the local Don and winning the gang wars. The path taken also changes the final opponent in said tournament, as it's Sub-273 for the latter and your brother for the former, though the ending is the same.
  • Timed Mission: Three achievements require you to reach the ending in under three hundred, two hundred, or one hundred in-game days.
  • Title Drop: "Punch Club" is what your father called his incarnation of the Ancient Order of Protectors.
  • To Be Continued: Stated at the very end of the credits, after the Gainax Ending.
  • Training Montage: You can make your own at almost any time.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: Silver had to hand over the magical amulet to the Don to cover his gambling losses.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: It's possible to lock yourself into a situation where you have no money, energy or food, and you've already used up Mick's free meals, so you can't sleep or get a job to feed yourself. If you do this before you unlock the bar, you can't dumpster dive for a free burger, so restarting is your only option.
  • You Killed My Father: The game opens with the protagonist's father being shot and killed by the mysterious man in black so he can takes your father's enchanted medallion.