Game Review: Action Arcade Wrestling

 

I remember a time when you could hang off helicopters and drop down on your opponents; a time when you could drag them around on a motorcycle or run them down with a forklift. Wrestling games have changed a lot. As the graphics got better, we moved away from the arcade style and more into hard simulation. No more wacky hinjinx like brawls in the kitchen or boiler room, now we're monitoring stamina and reversal counts. Thankfully, with 2K blunder after blunder, the world of wrestling games has opened up and we're being blessed. Doesn't matter if it's a resurgence of classics like Fire Pro Wrestling, which you should play, or a new kid on the block like Action Arcade Wrestling.

Originally, this was supposed to be a Chikara game, and we know how insane Chikara could get. But, we don't talk about the dark day that claimed Chikara anymore. Instead of scrapping the whole game, the team worked hard to create a new roster of real characters and put forth a creation lab for players to build their own wrestlers and arenas. The whole thing didn't come together magically without any bumps in the road such as trophies not appearing or the occasional wrestler frozen in place, but they worked through and got it fixed.

As for the gameplay, it's simple. Despite the simplicity, it's stupid levels of fun. The finishing moves can be your standard chokeslams and powerbombs. But, you can also fly dozens of feet into the air to piledrive your opponent, or blast them with radioactive waste. While, it's a solid arcade game, and you can download some great wrestlers created by other players, I think the most fun is had when the game goes off the rails. I've always wanted a good Kinnikuman game, now, I can have it, along with all the foolishness it brings. Doesn't matter if that's a wrestling toilet bowl or Sunshine. I burst out laughing the first time I went for a finisher and just blasted my opponent with a bolt of lightning. I host Powerbomb Jutsu, I love pro wrestling, but all that is out the window when I can blow people up.

Besides the basic arcade style gameplay, there's some other features to keep it unpredictable. By default, weapons get thrown in the ring at random. That can be anything from a chair to a lightsaber. On top of that various powerups can come into play. The powerups might allow you to steal health from opponents, give you an extra boost on defense and so on. The gameplay is simple enough, and random enough that it keeps it fun, especially when there's six, seven, or eight wrestlers on screen going wild.

Graphically, it fits. 2K and EA have given us super detailed characters, except black hairstyles, but they've gone with a more updated arcade style with some nice shading. The creation suite known as The Wrestle Lab, is a separate program only available on Steam. That may seem scary, but it's a pretty simple process. If you can use Photoshop or Gimp, it might give you a leg up on the competition, but it isn't necessary at all. The whole thing is incredibly simple, and can let you create some pretty cool stuff with just the basics. 

Really, it comes down to this game is just fun. Even if you aren't a wrestling fan; you're just someone looking for that old school arcade fun, this scratches the itch. It's a great combination of pro wrestling, a classic fighting game and arcade wackiness. There's no story mode, or grinding for digital currency to unlock things. There's unlockables, but even if you lose every match, you can unlock everything just by playing. This is the kind of game where it's not going to frustrate you through bad game design for the sake of realism like some of the larger wrestling games out there. 2K knows what I'm talking about; you can set the table wherever you want in Action Arcade Wrestling. There aren't anymore arcade style games out there. Despite Fire Pro having an arcade style, you still need to monitor stamina. Action Arcade Wrestling fills the sill arcade itch, when there's nothing else. It' be nice to have games where the two styles are mixed like the older games, but that's long gone and probably not coming back. It's a fun game, I keep mentioning that, but sometimes that's the only endorsement necessary. 

You can check out some of my short stories at 12 AM Fiction or if you like vampires follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast if you enjoy pro wrestling.

Game Review: Action Arcade Wrestling Game Review: Action Arcade Wrestling Reviewed by Darrell S. on Friday, September 03, 2021 Rating: 5

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