Wrestling and the RPG genre might sound like an unusual combination, but, as a long-time fan of both, it’s one I was ALL IN for when I started playing WrestleQuest. The fact that it features some real-life wrestling legends felt like the cherry on top, especially since the iconic ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage just so happens to be a big inspiration of the protagonist. It’s just a shame that whilst it does have some cool ideas that lean into wrestling in an interesting way, it doesn’t always deliver on the core RPG mechanics.
Check out some screenshots down below:
WrestleQuest actually takes place in a world of toys, with the heroes and villains of the tale essentially the same sort of action figures you might have played with as a child. And yes, there are plenty of wrestling figures found in this world too, with the hero of the tale being ‘Muchacho Man’ Randy Santos, who, if the name doesn’t give it away, bases himself upon the legendary ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. He dreams of nothing more than being the greatest wrestler that there has EVER been, which sends him on a journey through the toy box to prove he is the best.
It’s a fun and quirky tale that’s rich with nods to both mainstream and lesser-known wrestling promotions, whilst the fact that it brings in some real-life wrestling legends is really cool. Besides the Macho Man himself, you’ll encounter the likes of Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T, and many more. It’ll definitely bring a smile to the face of wrestling aficionados with its easter eggs, but even casual fans will be able to appreciate the familiar faces that show up on the journey.
The main issue I had with the storytelling was when it drifted away from the more ‘realistic’ (and I do use that term loosely) aspects of the wrestling world. Working through the varied promotions and helping wrestlers out was always a treat, but facing robots and monsters just felt like a deviation from the game’s biggest strength. Of course, it makes sense thematically, especially since you’re essentially playing in a world of toys where anything is possible, but I found WrestleQuest was at its best when it was focusing on the world of wrestling. The pacing could be a little bit off at times too, with some story beats coming thick and fast without giving me a reason to invest in them, but it wasn’t a big enough problem to stop me caring about the overarching narrative.
“Besides the Macho Man himself, you’ll encounter the likes of Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T, and many more.”
When it comes to gameplay, WrestleQuest plays like your typical RPG. You’ll explore a vast world full of different landscapes, you’ll interact with a myriad of NPCs and take on side quests, you’ll have a bunch of kooky characters join you on your adventure who you’ll level up, and, of course, you’ll battle a ton of different enemies in turn-based wrestling showdowns. The combat of the game can be pretty exciting, with players either taking on enemies in one-versus-one encounters or in tag-team showdowns. Whilst the core battling is turn-based, there is an added element of action to the process given that you have to perform QTE-like tasks in order to hit each move. There’s also a hype meter in place that builds up based upon your performance, which grants either the player or their opponent a variety of buffs depending which way it sways.
Combat captures the essence of wrestling really well, whilst the addition of things like managers to grant buffs or having to actually pin opponents to beat them (including a small timing-based mini-game akin to the WWE2K series) will leave players genuinely feeling like they’re part of an extravagant wrestling match. Unfortunately, it also has a few kinks that can see battles losing their charm the longer you play. For one, there are a fair few difficulty spikes which come from nowhere, meaning you can find yourself steamrolling enemies at one moment only to find yourself completely undone in the next. It wouldn’t be so bad if the checkpoint system of the game was a bit more generous, though as it stands, you’ll often find yourself replaying through a few chunky bits in order to have a second attempt at a failed battle. This is something the developer has said that they’ll fix in a coming patch at least, so hopefully that’ll come sooner rather than later.
Then there’s things like a lack of shared experience points with your allies (one of my most loathed features in an RPG), the QTE-style moves getting repetitive the more you play, or the fact that some battles give you specific objectives to complete that can just feel… well… awkward. That last one is a clever idea in theory, especially since it leans into the idea that wrestling itself is scripted, but the actual process can force you to play in a way that just isn’t that fun. Whilst a lot of these flaws are forgivable, the fact that WrestleQuest will take you well over twenty-hours to beat does mean it can feel like it outstays its welcome.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It’d be unfair to say combat is borked because it can really shine at times, but it has a few too many niggles for it to stand out as one of the better features of the game. And it’s a shame, because WrestleQuest does have a lot going for it – whether that’s with the clever wrestling twist on typical RPG side quests, the wonderfully creative world that’s packed with excellent pixel art, the fact that you’ve got an additional storyline taking place on the side with a second protagonist, or just that the game is a love letter to wrestling fandom across multiple generations. It just doesn’t always put its ideas together perfectly, with the execution leaving a lot to be desired when it comes to the core RPG fundamentals.
WrestleQuest is a wonderful love letter to the world of wrestling, but some repetitive combat and awkward mechanics hold it back from stardom. It’s a shame because there are some really cool ideas on show that give a greater emphasis to the wrestling aspects of the RPG adventure, but the execution doesn’t always hit the mark – especially when you’ve got to complete awkward objectives in what can already be challenging combat scenarios.
It’s certainly not a bad game and it’ll definitely keep a big jolly smile on the faces of wrestling fans, but I can’t help but to feel like WrestleQuest is more of a mid-card showdown as opposed to a main event spectacle.
Developer: Mega Cat Studios
Publisher: Skybound Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch