[PlayStation 5] Thunder Ray Review
Are you ready for some intergalactic boxing action on PlayStation 5? Then check out our Thunder Ray review!
Hello everybody! Today, I have a nostalgic feeling type of game for you to feast your eyes on. If you are familiar with the beloved Punch-Out!! series, then you’re going to dig what Thunder Ray has to offer on Nintendo Switch. I have to confess that Punch-Out!! is one of those series that I never managed to get into for one reason or another, but that didn’t stop me from appreciating what Thunder Ray from indie Purple Tree set out to do on Nintendo’s console.
Thunder Ray is an arcade-style retro boxing experience. Upon booting up for the first time, I was kind of surprised to only see two things to do: going on my journey through the Fighter Path – which is kinda like a Career Mode of sorts – or, well, checking out the options menu. There’s no multiplayer and no leaderboards, so you’ll be focused on the single-player boxing experience as you try to survive through the punishing quest up ahead. Oh, and there is also a lack of accessibility features for players with dexterity issues.
So your only choice is to choose the Fighter Path y. You play as the champion known as Thunder Ray. After showcasing his might and power by defeating every opponent he faces in the ring, he ends up being shot by an alien with an energy beam that transports him into an intergalactic boxing ring where he’ll need to battle against a massive opponent. If he manages to win every match, then Thunder Ray will be crowned as the Universal Champion.
Before each match, you select any of the three available difficulties: Rookie, Contender, and Beast. As you can probably guess, Rookie is the easiest one in the group. Contender is the standard difficulty setting, which is a good option for those of you with some experience with the Punch-Out!! series, or with games such as Pato Box, which I got a chance to review on PlayStation Vita a while ago. As for Beast, it’s the last difficulty option, and it’s one best reserved for doing a second run of the game once you know what you’ll be going up against.
Thunder Ray’s first match is against Rico, and it serves as the tutorial level. Here, you will learn all the different types of attacks, how to perform special attacks that can serve as finishing moves if timed right, and more. You’ll also learn about dodging incoming attacks, ducking, and blocking. And that when you’re knocked down, you should repeatedly press the X button before the final count so that you can get up and give it another try. When you manage to knock down your opponent, pressing the X button as fast as possible will allow you to regenerate some of your lost health. There is a lot to learn and master, and even on the easier difficulties, the challenge is pretty decent.
Thunder Ray will be up against some of the best boxers in the galaxy. Each opponent has their own sets of fighting attacks and special abilities. You’ll have to pay attention to their tells so that you can be ready to dodge or block and attack to be able to counterattack. That means no button mashing your way to the number-one spot at the top of the league! You have to knock down your opponent three times to win the match, and that’s also the same rule for your opponent to be able to beat you. But if the count reaches 10, then the fight is over!
Thunder Ray can activate his special attacks, which are ready to use the second the super bar has filled up. If timed just right, it might be good enough to send an opponent to the floor! You start with a simple special attack, but as you progress further in the game, you’ll obtain two more super attacks. For each of these, you’ll need two full super bars and three full super bars, respectively. The last one is so powerful it will fill up the entire screen with mighty punches that are so fast you can barely see them!
To fill the bars up, you must make sure the punches that you throw end up in direct contact with the opponent’s body. Wiffle around and miss several punches, and you won’t be making any progress. The difficulty ramps up at a steady pace, so you’ll need to improve your skills and stay on top of things. Not waiting for the right time to use your special attack can mean you end up wasting it on an opponent who sees it coming a mile away, thus blocking or dodging it.
And now, let’s talk about the trophies! The weird thing is that this one didn’t get a Platinum trophy, which feels a bit weird for a game that is launching on PlayStation in 2023. The list includes 3 Bronze trophies, 5 Silver trophies, and 2 Gold trophies for you to work on. As long as you finish the game, you’ll get most of the trophies out of the way. There are two trophies for defeating Glam Witch and Mr Pega with a special attack, so be sure to keep those in mind!
Thunder Ray is a great-looking and fun arcade-style boxing game that pays homage to Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! series. The franchise hasn’t seen a new entry since the Nintendo Wii days, so it’s always appreciated when an indie studio takes inspiration from a great game and delivers a game that manages to stand on its own. Sure, it’s a short game that you can finish in 2-3 hours or so, but that’s also the case for Punch-Out!! and its sequels. Thunder Ray is out right now on PlayStation with a $14.99 price tag.
This Thunder Ray review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Purple Tree.