Contributed by Jonathan Nicklen.
Facebreaker is a peculiar new fighter to poke its head round the corner near the end of 2008. It holds the mano-a-mano style that many fighters incorporate, but it has its own unique method of fighting. It is very interesting, to say the least.
The method of gameplay is simple: choose a character and start fighting. To attack, swing the Wii remote or the Nunchuck in a punching manner. The character on screen responds to your punches very effectively, making the boxing game in Wii Sports look like child's play. It's surprising how easy this game is to play. It's possible to crouch to perform a low punch and if the remote is held back before punching, the punch charges up power. Given the right situation, and icon will start flashing. Mash the A button in the right time and your character will perform a special move. These moves look painful!
Facebreaker is exceptionally stylish. Every character on screen moves so smoothly due to suave animation. This helps quite a bit, as it would not be as sophisticated and groovy if it ran at 25 FPS. The music is also quite funky. The graphics are also a pretty aspect, sporting visually impressive lighting effects for the Wii. Each of these aspects gives it an obvious sense of style, and Facebreaker is just oozing it from every pore.
EA has put a lot of effort into Facebreaker. This is obvious when you look into the small details of the game. If you pay close attention to the fighters over the course of a match, bruises will become visible on their bodies as if they actually have been smacked with a full force punch to their face -- breaking it, one might say. On the subject of face breaking, there is a little feature that takes the name of the game quite literally. Occasionally when you defeat an opponent, a small sequence will appear. Swing the Wii remote downwards aggressively and the character will smash the opponents face in, with a satisfactory "Facebreaker!" being shouted by the commentator.
The sound effects supplied by Facebreaker are top-notch as well. Each swing of a fist, every knuckle to jaw impact...all the sounds really do fit the actions on-screen. The voice acting is quite simply a cheesy, love-it-or-hate-it affair. After time though, the player may come to enjoy them in all their silly appeal.
Facebreaker isn't perfect though. The controls, while they function absolutely spot on, are very waggle based. Matches may very easily become a waggle fest until one character comes out on top. While it is possible to become a master at playing the game properly, activating combos and finishing with a super punch, it is just as easy to keep shaking the Wii remote and Nunchuck furiously. Also, the super punches themselves are just plain overpowered. The relative ease of pulling them off makes it more cheap to use them constantly. If they were harder to pull off then there may be no problem with their strength. While the super punches are easy to pull off, counters aren't. The player will be lucky to pull one off by accident. Trying to purposely perform a counter will likely see the player get their face broken than actually block any attacks.
Facebreaker, while fun and easy to pick up, is not the usual fighter. It is more of a party brawler, as the title hints at. It is most fun when you have a few friends over for a short punch-up, not as a massive cult fighter for the elite and hardened fighter gods.
Final Verdict - 7/10
Facebreaker K.O. Party is a fun little brawler which is best played in short bursts. The style that flows from it certainly is part of the overall experience and makes it enjoyable as a whole. When played with friends willing to give it a go, a reasonable amount of fun will be had. While it's fairly simple and lacks the depth of most fighters, it's certainly worth giving a go.