I love Wrestlefest in the 90’s. I would play that game to shred at the arcades. So, when I heard about its sequel Retromania Wrestling is coming out, I didn’t hesitate to get it!
Now that it is here, I am somewhat disappointed. The game definitely needs a standalone tutorial and a whole lot of adjustments to make it a better wrestling experience. For $30, I didn’t expect I’d get an early access!
Before we get into the list of deficiencies, let’s start with the good stuff first. The graphics and the character animation are the only impressive features going for Retromania Wrestling. They are an amazing throwback to that incredible era of classic pro wrestling.
The developer did a good job with the environmental design. It has made the various venues feel nostalgic as if you were playing at the arcades. While the character sprites are admirable to say the least, it’s fun to see wrestlers enter the ring with attitude, showcasing their great 2D pixel art and 700 animations.
To keep things from going stale in the ring, the game provides you with over 50 match types to choose from. Some of my favorites are Battle Royals, Tornado, and Elimination Tag Team events.
The story mode is somewhat fun. Unfortunately, it’s quite short. It will only give you about an hour of narration at best. But if you prefer a more “interactive” approach to the storyline, then the “10 Pounds of Gold” will give you that satisfaction.
The way it is created, the 10 Pounds of Gold plays just like the original Wrestlefest, where you have to go through a series of matches. Once you win the gold, that fighter becomes the NWA Champion the next time you play.
The roster is rather small but it still manages to sign-up some of the more familiar wrestlers like Tommy Dreamer, Nick Aldis, Matt Cardona, plus Hawk and Animal from the Road Warriors.
The controls are quite easy to learn but the bad stuff here is the difficulty at which the AI is terribly imbalanced. At the lowest difficulty, AI applies vast amount of damage to your character.
Winning a grappling move depends NOT on how fast you mash the button but on timing, like in FirePro Wrestling. Not to mention, medium and strong grapples can only be done when the bars just under your health gauge are full.
Because of the inconsistent gameplay mechanics, every piledriver and powerslam take a lot of work to put your opponent to the canvas. And that’s where the game is extremely frustrating!
The developer seems to be looking for feedback everywhere in the social media. I hope they’ll listen to the players and patch up the gameplay issues that are breaking the essence of arcade fun. They need to tackle those before releasing any of the DLC items.