‘WrestleQuest’ Deftly Mixes RPG and Wrestling To Become 2023’s Uncontested Indie Sleeper Hit
Before I booted up WrestleQuest for the first time, i had one of the worst days in a long time. I’m one of those “people pleasers” types, and it was clear that my cup was empty – a cup that I try to keep full by giving a little more than I should allow. Many people in my life depend on me in different ways, and that day, I was completely, unequivocally, saturated with the energy that made me… well, me. After work, after a few errands, after dealing with crazy people on the road driving back home from running those errands, I flopped onto the couch and I wanted to leave without feeling like a “useful tool” to be removed. other people.
Completely alone and remembering that I had an RPG to review that would probably take a while to complete, I decided (against my better judgment) to start WrestleQuest. The first thing I saw was an action figure of Macho Man Randy Savage coming down to the ring to face “Stone Age Cotton” – a dinosaur in a singlet standing on top of a mountain of explosives. Not missing a beat, Macho cuts a magnetic promo before unleashing his signature Elbow Diving Hit on Stone Age Cotton. The ring explodes, but somehow, the Macho Madness Master survives and leads the ravenous crowd’s delight.
Even if you are not a wrestling fan, how could you no smile at such absurdity? Needless to say, that frustration I felt at first turned into a familiar warmth that I hadn’t adapted to in years. That amazing feeling would follow me through every single second of it WrestleQuest, being equal parts delightfully campy, mechanically dense, and earnestly unique in a way most games could only dream of. If you’ve come here expecting a review that won’t use much personal anecdotes, I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. This game deserves a full bouquet, and I intend to go all in on it.
From the opening featuring Mr. Macho himself, we are then introduced to “Randy Santos”, a man who is clearly inspired by the legend as his wrestling moniker leaves no room for expression: Muchacho Man. He’s a fit guy throwing up from the gym and dreaming of one day making it to the big leagues (that’s PAW in this universe). Whenever Muchacho snaps at anyone who suggests that the warfare is scripted, that’s what he does mad. There is a danger that these pretenders believe that wrestling is nothing but a great competition where the best man wins without any scripts or choreography!
Without spoilers, Muchacho is a very funny character to follow on his journey to emulate his idol’s success. But, unfortunately, the world is full of malicious actors who just want to “get the business done” by any means necessary — even if it means screaming at those with pure intentions. The story goes to some extremely unexpected places, and I wasn’t ready to be as emotionally invested as I was. Joining Muchacho’s crusade are “people” who have their own stakes and motivations within the story, and the game even takes the time to develop many of your party members rather than simply being “associates” who you collect because they lose all sense of agency and identity. – conservation.
WrestleQuest as well as a seamless combination of action figures/toys and wrestling, divided into many of the game’s jokes and settings. If it’s not a “junkyard” full of children’s blocks and scattered toy parts, it’s a battlefield with burning model airplanes that players will have to maneuver around. You can even make pilgrimages to see the statues of some of the most iconic grapplers of wrestling, some of which can start side quests to earn the favor of some recognizable faces that may decide to help you put down your enemies.
The side quests? Amazing. This isn’t your garden variety “Go here and do this” busywork that some RPGs like to use to pad out their runtime. No, these side quests would make Geralt proud – sending players through entire dungeons separate from the main game or introducing fun mini-games and activities that give frivolous equipment to upgrade your party members. I had to get the better of Broccoli Man because he felt bad that I seemed to be putting up with him on the dance floor. That’s the energy of most of the game’s side offerings.
And who would I be if I neglected to talk about the actual gameplay? So, you have your classic turn-based system with an added twist: you need to press a specific face button to maximize the full force of your fury or risk a counter-attack. When you hurt an enemy unit enough, they are done. …Unless they are human or quite human, in which case, you’ll have to do things the old-fashioned way with a quick pin based on timing. Or, if you’re a little too impatient for that, you can unlock “terminators” as you level up your character and expand your ability to completely destroy human enemies.
As characters work together, you can even come up with stylish team-based attacks to relieve pain (or draw critical status effects). If you tend to suffer from decision paralysis, this game can throw you for a big loop with the synergies you can create. You can choose “Hype Types,” which are basically classes (Powerhouse, Showman, Sidekick, etc.) that come with advantages and disadvantages, depending on your choice per character. But be warned: WrestleQuest is sneaky with its difficulty. You’ll be taking down enemies left and right in one area, but when you travel somewhere new, that usually comes with new strategies and priorities as you learn and adapt to new enemy types. This ebb and flow was perfect for me because it prevented the game from ever being too easy and forced me to think carefully about what to do next.
There are many small nuances that I would not dare spoil about this game (like all his clever puzzles), although I could write a novelette to go over everything I absolutely adored about it. What am I do I want to focus on towards the end now, however, how much it seems to fundamentally understand me – as a gamer and as a person. For the sake of transparency, I am a lapsed wrestling “fan”. I loved watching wrestling back in the early 2000s. My first memory of anything wrestling is watching Batista Bomb Batista on some poor bastard while flipping through channels and just getting what happened Wednesday Night Smackdown. I remember hearing the roar of the crowd, the excited commentary, the ferocity of the Animal unleashed, and that was all it took.
That was 2005. Eddie Guerrero would pass within a month of me getting into wrestling, and even though I was a new fan, I bawled my eyes out. When I heard what other wrestlers talked about and saw clips of him lying, cheating and stealing, I knew Eddie was a man dedicated to his craft. In my teenage ignorance, I thought to was the heart and soul of wrestling. This physical soap opera/drama was the wrestlers simply doing what they liked without egos or backstage politics. Hahaha. How silly of me.
Over the next decade or so, I began to see what was going on behind the curtain. I saw how some wrestlers were devalued and rejected through no fault of their own. It didn’t matter how good they might be – if someone didn’t like the powers that be decided, that was it. Gradually (for me, anyway), wrestling became less of a “joy spectacle” and more of a “corporate interest exploiting human bodies to make millions of dollars.” I fell out in love with him. Sure, I watch the occasional clip on YouTube if a storyline hits me (*cough*THEBLOODLINE*cough*), but otherwise, I couldn’t bring myself to support the “business” of warfare.
WrestleQuest that changed everything for me. As I played, a revelation struck me like lightning. This game feels like watching that first Batista Bomb all those years ago, stretching out over the hours I spent playing it instead of being dropped to a single minute. In addition to being an exceptional RPG, this is indeed the perfect tribute to the small, fleet situations when wrestling was a pure shot of dopamine without the dark corners and shadows.
You will be able to have gimmick matches outside of “regular” rounds, adding more depth to the game. You will cut promos against jabronis to pump up the crowd and take advantage of a big match. You can even customize your entrance – lights, music, pyrotechnics, and all! You want to know how the crowd showed their appreciation for my Man Muchacho? They threw chairs at him. Come on. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what else I can say to sell you!
There is so much thought, care and detail packed into this wild ride that I strongly believe it impossible for one reviewer to write a review without exceeding the expected word count. The nostalgia is honest, paying homage to the insane, moving, often heartfelt mural that professionally fights in all its glory. Some games are technical marvels, created by the best the gaming industry has to offer. But as wrestling itself can be that thing you mention to people and have them roll their eyes or politely say, “…Oh! you good that fancy stuff?” WrestleQuest will be inevitable that thing causing many gamers to roll their eyes and thing say, “Pfft, if not Tears of the KingdomI don’t care.” (And that’s a charitable comment on the internet.)
WrestleQuest, more than any other game in recent memory, reminded me that I was human. Where it is easy to surrender to powerlessness, this experience somehow inspires me to fight back against the ills of society, as Man Muchacho fought against those who would see him failing — yet, d ‘ he insisted. There are many reasons to play this game again and again (I was a Face the first round and I’m curious to see how things shake out as a dastardly heel), but one thing is for sure: this is a must play. for any player who wants to laugh, beat some fools, and triumph over invincible forces will Bend your machismo.
“And that’s the bottom line, because the Stone Age said so!”
This review is based on the PlayStation 5 version of the game. A copy was provided for review by Skybound Entertainment.
WrestleQuest takes everything that’s great about turn-based RPGs and the fabled art of wrestling to create one of the most memorable, memorable adventures the gaming medium has to offer – with fun characters, deep gameplay, and pleasant surprises around every corner.
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