These days, fans don’t have many choices when it comes to arcade-style wrestling. Sure, they could try their luck with WWE 2K20. But considering it’s a buggy mess, they’re better off tackling the much more playable Fire Pro Wrestling World. This summer, though, a new opponent will enter the ring – RetroMania Wrestling.
At first, it doesn’t sound like much, but note the word “retro” in there. That’s because the team at RetroSoft Studios is essentially making a spiritual successor to the classic Technos arcade game WWF WrestleFest. Obviously, these guys don’t have the full-blown WWE license. But they do have a number of superstars in the fold. Not to mention that its control system makes it easy to kick butt and look good doing it. And really, isn’t that what any wrestling fan really wants?
Let’s go back to the ’90s
The game features a cavalcade of superstars, including some inspired by more current favorites. For example, WWE’s John Morrison is represented here as Johnny Retro. But there are official stars aplenty as well, including Stevie Richards, The Blue Meanie, the Legion of Doom (“What a rush!”), and Colt Cabana, among others.
The goal of the game, obviously, is to beat your opponent to a pulp, then score the pinfall. But the game provides a number of ways for you to do that, thanks to different match-ups. There will be a story mode within RetroMania Wrestling, but it wasn’t present in our demo. However, we did see options for a 3-way match between opponents, as well as a four-way and a tag team match. There’s also singles, in case you want to prove yourself without the help of anyone else.
In one match-up, we had Johnny Retro go up against a default wrestler. It’s here we got a good look at the game’s crisp visuals. There’s a dual camera system; up-close action is captured perfectly, but then the camera zooms out as you go out of the ring, to capture everything by ringside. It looks really nice, even though all the wrestler sprites aren’t set yet.
That brings us to the environments, which are excellent thus far. You can wrestle in a school, a classic NWA arena, a RetroMania stadium, and several other locations. They look great as well, with classic animation on the fans surrounding the ring. It’s not amazingly lifelike, but hey, for a ’90s-inspired wrestler, it fits the bill.
It’s all about the power moves
One interesting thing that works in RetroMania Wrestling’s favor is the control scheme. You can tell how inspired these guys are by WrestleFest, as there are different grapples, power moves, and hits to perform. You have a weak, medium, and strong punch. Their effectiveness depends on your energy level. As you build up a meter in the corner, you can perform more moves against opponents. So make sure you stay on your guard and don’t leave yourself open to attacks.
What’s more, there’s a neat slo-mo effect with some of the power moves within the game. For instance, if you drop kick someone, everything slows down for a second so you can feel the dramatic impact. The developers haven’t made the final call as to whether this will be left in or not. I think it should totally stay, but to each their own.
RetroMania Wrestling still has a little development time to go before it makes its release this July. But the hype is already going full-steam, and, thus far, the game is living up to its potential. If it’s a classic wrestling game you’ve been looking for, RetroMania is ready to put you in a headlock, brother.
Wishlist the game on Steam, and check out the screenshots to enjoy the cool retro visuals.