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WrestleFest Premium Review

By Dave Flodine, on February 29, 2012


WrestleFest Premium
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • The mashing of buttons to kick out of a pin is fun.
  • The ability to play as Jake 'The Snake', and the Macho Man.
  • Nostalgia factor.

CONS

  • DLC lock on a good chunk of the roster.
  • Long load times on older devices.
  • Gameplay is button mashing, and not of the fun variety.

VERDICT

Fans of the original Wrestlefest may get some nostalgia out of this remake, but the small bizarrely chosen roster and seemingly luck placed gameplay will leave a sour taste in the mouths of most.


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Full disclosure here, Dave is a huge wrestling fan. Having watched various promotions from the late 80s all the way up to today, this either makes him the best candidate to review this remake of the arcade classic Wrestlefest, or perhaps the worst. It's all how you look at it. Nonetheless this is how it's gotta be so let's see if THQ can take what made the original Wrestlefest so fun to play and make it shine on the iPhone.

The original game only had two modes, Battle Royal, and Tag Team. Like the other WWE games, this version is loaded with options including the Road to Wrestlemania, which takes a wrestler of your choosing through various belts and types of matches to the top of the company. What makes this mode work on consoles is the crazy storylines that play out in cut-scenes between the matches, and the small amount of scrolling text at the bottom of the screen accompanied by Mean Gene Okerlund does little to excite or push the drive to play further.

Next is the roster. Now they've done an interesting thing here in keeping some of the wrestlers from the original game and replacing others with WWE's current roster (as well as a couple members of the attitude era of the late 90s). This means you can have Jake 'The Snake' Roberts delivering a DDT to Rey Mysterio, or Stone Cold giving the stunner to Macho Man. Unfortunately a chunk of the roster is behind a DLC wall, with names like CM Punk and HBK needing to be unlocked. Even with the constant addition of new wrestlers and rings however, there's the fundamental game to take into consideration.

The original Wrestlefest was a bit of a button masher, with one button being your main attack, and the other being a situational button to do things like pin or Irish whip an opponent. The same setup returns in this version but something seems to be lost in translation. It doesn't seem to be the lack of tactile feedback swapping arcade buttons for a touch screen, but more that a sense of agency has been lost. Rather than sheer button power, whether you win a grapple or not seems more on luck this time around. We know the buttons work as the 'tap to kick out of a pin' section of the game is brilliantly implemented so it ends up feeling like the game has taken a step back. There's also the health bar. You can beat an opponent down to zero and they still sometimes kick out of a pin at the one or two count. All in all, the play experience is immensely unsatisfying.

Whether or not you think the visuals have improved or taken a step back is up to you, but the sound quality has definitely taken a turn for the worse. Essentially this feels like a lazy cash-in to appeal to wrestling fans and the nostalgia of the original arcade game. It's hard to recommend.

Screenshots

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