WrestleQuest Pixel RPG May Be The Best Wrestling Game Of The Year
WrestleQuest is an exhilarating gaming experience that combines the best elements of a phenomenal wrestling game with the captivating allure of a fantasy-action RPG. Developed by Mega Cat Studios, this turn-based RPG takes place in a toy box-esque fantasy world, where action figures come to life and engage in thrilling wrestling matches.
The game revolves around the journey of Randy “Muchacho Man” Santos, a rookie wrestler with dreams of becoming a world champion like his idol, the legendary Macho Man Randy Savage, who is enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame. To achieve his goal, Muchacho Man must navigate through the underground wrestling federations, engaging in dungeon crawls and defeating champions to establish his name in the local wrestling scene. By conquering the local wrestling circuit, he hopes to earn a coveted spot in the big leagues, where he can face even tougher and more renowned opponents.
Having had the opportunity to play a hands-on preview of WrestleQuest for four hours, it became evident that the game is not only accessible and entertaining for die-hard wrestling fans but also seamlessly combines the larger-than-life personas of professional wrestling with the whimsy of a fantasy RPG.
In terms of gameplay, WrestleQuest draws inspiration from Square Enix’s Live A Live remake, particularly the “The Strongest” storyline, but focuses more heavily on the pro-wrestling aspects found in fighting game-esque tournaments. At the beginning of the game, players choose their preferred wrestling style, whether it be the underdog, showman, or powerhouse, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if you desire a technical wrestling style akin to AEW’s Bryan Danielson, your character will excel at applying debuffs to opponents and dealing bonus damage with gimmicks, albeit with slightly reduced normal attack damage. Bouts in WrestleQuest feature turn-based one-on-one, tag team, and six-man matches, where players can unleash strikes, execute special moves (known as gimmicks), taunt their opponents, and utilize items through quick-time events. Gimmicks encompass signature and finishing moves, which consume action points, as well as pinfalls, which initiate a mini-game requiring players to hit a moving rectangle three times within a limited timeframe.
One of WrestleQuest’s notable features is its numerous nods to real-life wrestling culture, adding an extra layer of authenticity. The pace of a match in the game is determined by the hype generated by both the player and the opponent. Missing too many prompts can shift the hype in favor of the opponent, granting them additional buffs. However, by strategically employing gimmick attacks, strikes, and well-timed taunts, players can regain the support of the virtual crowd and ultimately secure victory with a three-count pinfall. The game even introduces special match conditions, offering bonus items for taking out opponents in a specific order using certain moves. Furthermore, players have the ability to customize their character’s entrance music and pyrotechnics, adding a personal touch to the spectacle before a major showdown.
Although the game mechanics may appear complex on paper, reminiscent of the WWE 2K series’ simulation-based approach to wrestling, WrestleQuest manages to strike a delicate balance. Unlike WWE 2K, where minigames can disrupt the immersion, WrestleQuest’s wrestling-themed features never feel overwhelming or monotonous. This achievement can be attributed to the game’s ability to present otherwise intricate wrestling terminology in a digestible and accessible manner within the action-RPG world.
Moreover, WrestleQuest cleverly weaves its narrative through a wrestling podcast, effortlessly incorporating wrestling terminology and making each hard-fought victory feel like a momentous occasion. The game kicks off big-money matches with engaging promo segments, allowing players to choose witty comebacks for Muchacho Man during his microphone interactions. This not only replicates the thrill of real-life wrestling promos but can also impact the subsequent matches. These nods to the real world were consistently enjoyable, and one particular highlight was the requirement to perform a table spot to clear a path to treasure—a clever parallel between overcoming obstacles in an RPG and the endeavors of wrestlers attempting to break through sturdy tables.
Many wrestling games often neglect to develop drama outside the ring, or if they do, the non-in-ring gameplay is often an afterthought. However, WrestleQuest defies expectations by offering an equally engrossing experience beyond the ropes. Exploring the game’s vibrant 2D cities and environments populated by colorful characters becomes an adventure in itself, with quirky side quests and memorable personalities contributing to the overall atmosphere of the expansive game world. Conversations with Gundam-looking characters, a despondent lizard man, and real-world wrestling superstars like Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Jeff Jarrett offer delightful interactions. The unexpected wrestling encounters that take place in these areas are nothing short of hilarious, with wrestling rings magically materializing on the sidewalk, reminiscent of a Pokémon arena suddenly appearing as dog walkers pass by.
In conclusion, WrestleQuest is a breath of fresh air in the world of wrestling games, providing a captivating fusion of phenomenal wrestling gameplay and the enchantment of a fantasy-action RPG. With its approachable mechanics, immersive storytelling, and a remarkable blend of larger-than-life wrestling personas with an RPG setting, WrestleQuest has the potential to appeal to both dedicated wrestling enthusiasts and newcomers to the genre. Whether you’re executing devastating finishing moves or engaging in wacky side quests, WrestleQuest offers a thrilling and entertaining experience that will keep players pinned to their screens, eagerly awaiting the next slobber-knocking wrestling match in this imaginative and engaging world.