In WrestleQuest, an RPG crafted by Mega Cat Studios and published by Skybound Games, the worlds of vintage wrestling and classic role-playing games collide with remarkable finesse. This indie gem serves as a heartfelt homage to the golden era of wrestling, a treat for nostalgic wrestling enthusiasts and a warm welcome for newcomers to the sport. WrestleQuest, much like the wrestling it draws inspiration from, is a spectacle of extravagance, offering a gaming experience unparalleled in its portrayal of the wrestling world.
The game is set in the toy realm where we find a budding young wrestler named Randy “Muchacho Man” Santos, driven by a desire to etch his name in the annals of wrestling history. Muchacho Man’s admiration for the legendary “Macho Man” Randy Savage is so profound that a colossal statue pays tribute to his hero, and he religiously utters nightly prayers in honor of the wrestling icon in a pretty good impression of the legendary wrestling superstar.
Storytelling holds a paramount role in professional wrestling, and WrestleQuest captures the essence of the wild and exhilarating wrestling storylines the sport is renowned for. Muchacho Man embodies the babyface novice wrestler with grand aspirations, while the characters he encounters along his journey resonate with authenticity. The inclusion of real-life wrestling legends like Macho Man, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Booker T and Bret Hart lends an air of credibility to this fictional toy world, yet the newly introduced characters are equally vivid and lifelike.
Players have the opportunity to recruit a diverse cast of characters, each boasting unique abilities and distinct personalities, essential for constructing the perfect in-ring team. The thrill of discovering new moves that synergize with each other is a highlight of the gameplay experience. As your party advances in levels, they unlock increasingly outlandish skills and abilities, akin to the usual old skool JRPG tropes but all in perfect harmony with the wrestling theme.
It wouldn’t be a classic JRPG style game without random enemy encounters and the ones in WrestleQuest are enriched with cheesy lines designed to incite reactions from other characters, rile up the crowd and get a chuckle from the player. Manipulating these distinct personalities to bolster the game’s hype meter proves crucial, as the side with more hype enjoys advantages during matches. The interplay between enemy and ally personalities, along with interactions with miscellaneous characters, aids players in grasping the hype mechanic and the overarching exaggerated wrestling persona.
Combat in WrestleQuest is the highlight and it’s amazing! It’s turn-based of course (what else would you expect), where players must manage health and skill points in clashes against opponents, be it one-on-one encounters or tag team spectacles. Precision and timing come into play as attacks require accurate button inputs, making the early stages a learning curve but ultimately rewarding as you master the rhythm. Taunting opponents can boost the hype meter but exposes you to greater damage when attacked. Even though its not a wrestling simulation, you can even create your own entrances. Yes. Music, effects and poses are all there to select and give your wrestlers the entrance they want.
The system proves admirably balanced, allowing players the freedom to approach matches in various ways. Some bouts might call for an aggressive brawl, while others may require a focus on hype-building to support your team. Strategizing tag team maneuvers becomes essential, with an expanding repertoire of moves mirroring the growth of your team. Each special move is endowed with a unique and very funny animation, accentuating the individuality of characters. The satisfaction of executing a perfectly timed tag team attack to decimate an entire team is immensely gratifying and very fun.
WrestleQuest employs a classic JRPG overworld system for exploration, presenting each location in an exaggerated way. The pixel art graphics give a distinct, eccentric flair to the wrestling aesthetic, with meticulously crafted settings such as shadowy urban streets, pristine snow-covered fields, and dazzling wrestling rings immersing players in this captivating world.
WrestleQuest emerges as a heartfelt tribute to the realms of wrestling and classic role-playing games. All the character have a larger-than-life personality. With a plethora of both subtle and overt nods to wrestling lore, it caters to die-hard fans and beckons newcomers into the world of sports entertainment. After experiencing WrestleQuest, it’s challenging to emerge without a profound appreciation for the art of wrestling. Good stuff.
WrestleQuest is available now on PC, XBOX Series S | X, PlayStation 4 | 5 and Nintendo Switch.