A love letter to the fans and industry of pro wrestling, WrestleQuest mixes crazy action and insane stories with RPG gameplay. This game is aimed at long-time wrestling fans with nostalgic deep cuts that they will appreciate. It’s an interesting enough idea, but one that produces mixed results.
If you enjoy the feel of a classic RPG, you’ll feel right at home with WrestleQuest. The game is built around turned-based combat and players have an opportunity to inflict additional damage with timed button pressing. Sometimes you’re fighting by yourself, sometimes alongside a partner or two. Your job is to get the crowd pumped up and involved with the show, and taunting your opponent riles up the audience.
Along the way, you find and store items to recover your health points (HP). Your ability power (AP) is the currency for the “gimmicks” menu—your special moves. With enough AP, you can perform a "South of the Border" Stunner or a "Flying Elbow Drop" with Muchacho Man. In tag-team mode you’ll find inventive maneuvers like "Brooterly Love" and "Toybox Blockbuster."
To win, you play a mini game for the pin. It has a meter, and you need to be able to hit the button when the needle is in the green three times.
The coolest part of any wresting game are the special moves, and I didn't particularly care for the timed button pressing in turned-based sequences to make those happen. The timing was too fast for me; I think most players will have a hard time pulling off special moves with the ring closing so quickly.
The story mode in WrestleQuest is its differentiating feature, and is something wrestling fans will appreciate. It follows two different guys climbing the ranks: Brink Logan comes from a wrestling family and is one half of the "Honest Bucks" tag-team combo with his partner Stag. The other main character is the Muchacho Man, which as you can guess, is modeled after Randy Savage. There is an eclectic cast of characters that you will meet as you ascend the ranks of the wrestling world.
Progressing through the game is sort of a mixed bag of pleasure and pain. The mini map needs a lot of work; accuracy is an issue and you can get lost as a result, which is frustrating.
Early in the game, I encountered one of the worst mini-games I have played in a long time. Nothing is more frustrating than a platform jumper with poor mechanics—and that’s exactly what this was. If you hold the button down for too long or not long enough, your character doesn't jump correctly, and you risk losing. The whole thing is an exercise in frustration.
Also, a word to the wise—save often and have a backup save point. Toward the end of the game, when I lost a match, the game reloaded my last save point. The problem is that it put my character in an arena where I could not leave. It was a game-breaking bug. What I had to do was quit the game and then manually load one of my save files.
Fortunately, I only lost about 20 minutes of progress instead of 20+ hours of gameplay.
Overall, WrestleQuest is something wrestling fans will truly enjoy from a sentimental perspective. The story overstays its welcome a bit, but I loved the nostalgia in the storyline. You can clearly see the love of wrestling the development team had and their care with the different legends like Macho Man Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, and more.
I love the wrestling nostalgia, but due to playability issues I can’t give it my full recommendation. I hope that a patch or two might resolve these shortcomings down the road.
● Wrestling fueled nostalgia
● Creative combat system
● Great use of some of the biggest legends in the industry
● The story could have been told in a more concise manner.
● The timing sections will be too quick for some people.
● Some of the mini-games are an exercise in frustration.
● The mini-map doesn’t work properly at times.
WrestleQuest is available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
The Xbox Series X version was played for this review.