You can throw straight, hook and uppercut punches, with left or right hands, to the face or body, all in light or heavy variations. You can also duck, lean, block and throw weaving counter-punches. There are quite a few commands, in other words, and they're transmitted to the machine via a ludicrous semaphore of gestures with the remote and nunchuk, sometimes requiring button modifications as well as not one but twodirectional movements - heavy punches are built up with an initial move of that controller "outwards" (left for the nunchuk, right with the remote). You then jerk forward to throw a straight blow, up for an uppercut, or back inwards for a hook.
There are several fundamental problems with this. One: it looks and feels nothing like boxing. The frantic, spasmodic waving about is more like trying to conduct an orchestra playing the complete scores of Tom & Jerry while drunk, or attempting to translate Street Fighter into sign language. It makes no intuitive sense whatsoever, and offers zero cathartic, tactile fun - which is surely the whole point of gesture controls in the first place.
Two: the gesture detection isn't good enough, especially for the two-step heavy punch commands - but actually, for all of them. Virtually none of the commands (barring a straight, light punch) is reliable, even if it's simple - moving the nunchuk and remote in unison for a duck or weave, for example. The occasional slip often mars gesture-based Wii games built on standard gaming foundations like New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis - but Ready 2 Rumble enters a whole new realm of misinterpretation and command failure. They're both speaking a foreign language, but where Power Tennis is fluent if imperfect, Ready 2 Rumble didn't even bring the right phrasebook and is asking for directions to the parrot rehabilitation factory.
Three: it's just too slow. These commands take time to input, time to register and, even before that, time (quite a lot of it) for your brain to figure out which nonsensical spasm your arm should be making. They completely destroy the rhythm, and rhythm is the crucial underpinning of any successful fighting game.
And that takes us to the fourth, and perhaps biggest, problem with Ready 2 Rumble Revolution: one that might not even be solved if it supported button-and-stick input. It has no rhythm. It's the white guy on the dancefloor.
It was only when I came to play the training mini-games that I realised this. These simple, if poorly imagined, call-and-response rhythm action games are mystifyingly difficult, and this time, I sensed it wasn't the technology at fault. I just couldn't, try as I might, slot into the game's rhythm; understand when it wanted me to do what it wanted me to do. We stumbled and cursed and stepped on each other's toes. It was like trying to tango with an arthritic great-aunt.
Ready 2 Rumble Revolution has botched controls, faulty technology and unsympathetic style, but I suspect there's a half-decent arcade fighter residing somewhere underneath it all. Even if there is, though, it'll need to go back to the gym for some serious work before showing its face in the ring again. As it is, it dances like a buffalo and stings like wet cabbage.
3 / 10