At first glance, Monkey Boxing (out now, $2.99) by Crescent Moon Games impresses with its gorgeous artwork. Your monkey is utterly adorable and you can dress him up in a zillion ways, including sunglasses and a top hat. Alternatively, you can hit the dice and randomize your monkey’s look. Once your monkey is garbed to your liking, you’re ready for the ring.

monkey-boxing_622632514_ipad_03If you’ve got a friend to play against, you can opt for the local multiplayer mode. Otherwise, you can enter your monkey into a series of boxing matches in single player mode. Play 50 matches to snag the Monkey Boxing League’s prestigious WMB Cup.

The controls for both modes can hardly get simpler. There’s one button to punch, another to block. During a boxing bout you will sometimes be presented with stars to tap or a circle to spin as fast as you can. It’s great when controls are simple since anyone can pick the game up and play instantly. However, it also means the game involves little skill and zero strategy. This probably makes it most suitable for young kids since there’s little they’ll need to understand apart from how cute the brawling monkeys are.

It’s a huge pity the game currently doesn’t offer an online multiplayer mode. For older and more serious gamers, Monkey Boxing may be too simple to hold your attention for long. Though your opponents in single player mode will gradually get tougher, each boxing round looks essentially the same, despite the monkeys’ change of attire.

mzl.vmyrdhae.480x480-75Luckily, you can at least upgrade your monkey. After a few matches you will be granted access to a training center. Here, you can choose to train your monkey in strength, endurance, or speed using training points you earn after each match. However, all this doesn’t save Monkey Boxing from the fact that the basic gameplay involves brainless button mashing with little variation. Of course, such simplistic fun may be just the sort of gaming experience some are looking for.

iFanzine Verdict: Monkey Boxing is a cute casual game that looks fabulous. It may be fun for a while, especially if you’ve got friends to challenge on your own device, but since it doesn’t take much skill or strategy the game may eventually feel repetitive. For young kids though, this may be the perfect attention-grabber.