Sumo Digital has unveiled Pass the Punch, a 2D beat-'em-up inspired by the Saturday morning cartoons of the 80s and 90s. It's coming to PC, Switch, Xbox One, and PS4 later this year.
While Sumo has had a hand in many, many games over the years (including the recent likes of Team Sonic Racing and Crackdown 3), Pass The Punch is only the studio's second original IP. It follows on from 2017's Snake Pass, and, like that game, started life as a submission during a Sumo Game Jam. The full game is being developed by Sumo's Nottingham and Pune studios.
Pass the Punch's brawling action - which can be played in two-player co-op or solo, with an AI partner - unfolds in the city of New Atlas, notable for the fact that its resident are able to transform into powerful beings whose abilities reflect their everyday lives.
Players can select from four characters as they embark on their adventure: gym owner Rush, who can turn into a light-speed boxing champion; a foam-sword-wielding LARPer named Claud, able to harness the power of a berserker; then there are pals Beetle and Wizard.
Each fighter, as you'd expect, has its own distinct set of moves and combos, and Sumo says that added depth can be found in the way their attacks complement those of other fighters. That union of fisticuffs reaches a crescendo as characters combine their powers to create an ultimate attack, which changes depending on those involved.
It seems fair to suggest that Pass the Punch won't be taking itself too seriously on release, what with Sumo promising such fearsome opponents as "hyper-aggressive hot sauce bottles, disco-dancing mirror balls and over-affectionate ice-cream cones". There's no trailer showcasing such lunacy as yet, but you can get a feel for Pass the Punch's exuberant Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic in the screens dotted around this page.
"With so many punches to pass, high scores to hit, hoops to shoot, secrets to discover and extra content to unlock," concludes Sumo, "Pass The Punch will keep players busy until they are TKO'd." We'll no doubt learn more as its "late 2019" launch approaches.