It’s the late 80s early 90s, and it’s the heyday of the wrestling era. WWF is massive and kids love; Giant Haystacks, Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker. School playgrounds were full of children almost knocking their teeth out while pretending to be their favourite character. Every fan had a copy of at least one wrestling game in their library. The pixelated athletes were glorious to control, and it was an great feeling when you became a superstar wrestler. It was truly an amazing time to be alive. Roll on 30 years and the sport is still loved, but the computer games are poor. Can RetroMania Wrestling buck the trend and create the game we all yearn for?
Developed and published by Retrosoft Studios, this old-school pixelated sports game transports you back to a simpler gaming time. You’ll enjoy no nonsense battles, camp characters and absurd storyline. What on earth is there not to love about this game?
RetroMania Wrestling is like a comfy pair of slippers.
RetroMania Wrestling’s straightforward approach makes it instantly likeable and easily accessible. Aimed mainly at the solo player, you control the career of Johnny Retro, a washed up wrestler who is trying to make a comeback after a serious injury. Working with Steve Richards, a former member of the Blue World Order and the best trainer in the business, you plan your return to the ring. Your goal is to win the only trophy that has eluded you across a glittering career, the National Wrestling Alliance World Championship Belt. It won’t be easy though, this prize is only for the best wrestlers and you have a lot to prove.
Its story, graphics and controls all feel familiar. From the moment I switched it on, I felt like I had travelled back 30 years. It was a nostalgia trip that was wonderfully comfortable, just like placing on your favourite pair of slippers. You’ll sit back, relax and lose yourself to the battles that take place in the ring.
Camp as a row of tents!
This has to be one of the campest games I’ve ever played. From the cheesy script and character animations to the walk in scenes and taunting your opponents. It’s truly brilliant and captures the wrestling spirit immediately. From the moment you play, you won’t want to put it down. You’ll be desperate to know how Johnny Retro fairs, and who he’ll be fighting next. If you somehow tire of the career mode, others are available that can be played solo and in local multiplayer; 10 Pounds of Gold, Retro Rumble and Versus.
Each of these additional modes allows you to be distracted from the main story. 10 Pounds of Gold lets you challenge for that elusive belt without the weight of the plot around your neck. Retro Rumble allows for 15 wrestlers to battle it out to see who is crowned the winner. Finally, Versus, a fully custom mode where you pick the wrestlers and the rules. They follow the exact mechanics of the career mode, but without the rigidity.
RetroMania Wrestling leaves you scratching your head.
RetroMania Wrestling is as easy as you’d expect a wrestling title to be. There are a few complexities such as; weak, medium and strong attacks, how to grapple, and how to throw properly. But mostly it’s a simple affair with a straightforward tutorial covering most of the fundamentals. Yet, what it fails to cover are some key elements; leaving the ring, pinning in tag team matches and so forth. This void of information is infuriating and will leave you scratching your head.
I lost countless fights and had to waste time trying to fathom out a solution. It was a terrible experience of trial and error, with error winning 90% of the time. This tainted what was otherwise an enjoyable experience. Leaving me with a sour taste in my mouth and a desire to stop playing. Fortunately, I battled through and I recommend you do too, as the story and characters are worth the effort.
Early console gaming at its best.
Retro and pixelated games are hot business at the moment, which is alright by me because I love the style and look. With its sharp and vivid colours, OTT character models and blocky details. This was reminiscent of everything that made early console gaming great. The robotic and clunky movement won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved the rigidity and inaccuracies of it, and it simply adds to the old-school feel.
This continued with the rough audio that matched the era. Clunks, thuds, and slaps can all be heard as the battle begins. The music also has a fantastic 80s feel with its synthesised and coarse tone. The whole experience was bonded together by a brash commentary that richly described the action in the ring. As good as the story was, I came for the fighting, so it was a relief that Retrosoft Studios got this spot on.
RetroMania Wrestling will fill you with nostalgia and make you come back for more.
Who doesn’t want to battle it out for the right to be the number one wrestler? I could, and will, play this repeatedly until I get bored. The only let down is its lack of online play, as I would have loved to battle people from around the globe. A mainly story focussed achievement list is unlocked through natural progression. As a result, the desire to return comes from the enjoyment of each battle, rather than the grind to get the game completed.
I accept retro wrestling is a niche market, but fans of the sport should put down their modern games and see where it all began. It’s; camp, loud, ridiculous, and I loved it. For these reasons, you should buy it here! Help Johnny Retro return to form and win that elusive belt, no matter who he faces.