WrestleQuest Review

What a ruuuuuush!

By Paul Hunter

It's incredibly rare for a game to fuse my interests as perfectly as WrestleQuest by Mega Cat Studios and publisher Skybound Games. I grew up in the '90s during the WWE Attitude Era, arguably the best period of wrestling ever, and at the same time, I was a huge JRPG fan playing games like Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Trigger and everything in between.

WrestleQuest blends the larger-than-life characters and wacky storytelling of wrestling with the turn-based combat and cataclysmic world threat of JRPGs. The end result is one of the most unique and refreshing takes on the genre in years. If the thought of playing an RPG featuring Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Jeff Jarrett and Randy Savage piques your interest, this is the game for you. Let's head into the Pro-Wrestling Gym to see what WrestleQuest is all about, here are three things I liked about the game...and one I didn't.

Liked: Great Story, Lots of Wrestler Cameos

The star-studded introduction begins with none other than "Macho Man" Randy Savage, or more specifically a toy version of the iconic wrestler. Following that we jump into the boots of protagonist and local wrestler Randy “Muchacho Man” Santos who dreams of making it into the big leagues. The entire adventure is told through toys, including Santos and all the other characters you'll meet along the journey. Even the NPCs and regular enemies are modelled after classic toys like LEGO figures, G.I. Joe, He-Man and even Mr. Potato Head.

While Muchacho Man is aware that he's a toy, he's oblivious to the fact that the wrestling business is scripted and thinks situations are real, even though his opponents clearly understand it's all kayfabe. Through a series of twists and turns, you'll eventually meet a tyrant wrestling promoter who seeks to not only control all the talent in his promotion but the entire wrestling business.

Alongside Muchacho Man, not long into the adventure you'll find yourself switching characters as you assume the role of Brink Logan, a wrestler who comes from a distinguished wrestling family and seems loosely based on Bret "The Hitman" Hart. Whereas Muchacho Man is building his legacy from the bottom up, Logan begins in a more privileged position being the son of a promoter and is regularly booked in matches alongside his cousin and tag team partner Stag Logan, together being the Honest Bucks.

The stories of both protagonists eventually intersect as they climb the wrestler ladder in the hope of becoming world champions. I really enjoy how just like in real wrestling, some of the matches you participate in have scripted story objectives, like intentionally letting your opponent kick out of your finishing move or purposely losing a squash match to make your opponent look monstrous.

Wrestling fans, and particularly those who grew up in the 90s and 2000s will get a kick at all the classic wrestlers you'll meet along this roughly 30-hour adventure. Along with the aforementioned Macho Man, you'll also meet legends like Booker T, Andre the Giant, the Road Warriors, Jeff Jarrett, DDP, Sgt. Slaughter and many more. Seeing all these icons is a real treat, and even better some areas are completely themed around these wrestlers including large central monuments built in their likeness. Even the dialogue will feel familiar to longtime fans as the characters regularly use business jargon like babyface, heel, promo, gimmick, etc.

Liked: Turn-Based Wrestling Combat

Following the brief intro, as Muchacho Man you'll visit the Get Stretched Pro-Wrestling Gym for your first taste of the game's turn-based combat system. It's very similar to classics like the SNES Final Fantasy titles as you have the ability to Strike (attack), perform a Gimmick (special abilities) or defend.

Taking inspiration from the Super Mario RPG, a lot of your attacks will initiate quick-time button press events where you can deal more damage if you press the button on time. Examples are strikes that send your opponent towards the ropes where they'll rebound for a second hit, or performing a submission move where slamming the button deals more damage. Likewise, when enemies strike you there's generally a window of opportunity to push the right button to mitigate some damage.

Each character also has a set of Gimmicks ranging from signature moves to finishers that are more elaborate and deal more damage. There are all sorts of special moves fans will recognize from Randy Savage's iconic Flying Elbow Drop or comically named Burrito Body Slam. These moves all require ability power (AP) of which you have a limited amount and need to spend wisely. Defeating opponents could be as straightforward as whittling down their HP to zero, but in some bouts, you'll need to pin them by playing a mini-game. To win, you need to hit a moving meter when it's over a green zone three times.

WrestleQuest's combat gets even more fun when you recruit characters and have tag team matches. Each character is able to forgo their turn to set up a two-man wrestling move which can inflict punishing damage while looking cool too. Also, you can recruit a manager and create a stable, with your manager able to build up your Hype Meter—a measurement of how pumped the crowd is—to receive better rewards after the battle.

Liked: Side Quests and Dungeons

As you explore the towns you'll come across several characters that offer side quests with nice rewards. These quests often have you exploring the intricacies of the wrestling business which I appreciated as a lifelong fan.

In some towns and connecting areas you'll also get plunged into dungeons that mix light platforming and puzzle-solving with enemy encounters. It was fun triggering switches that open up new paths or finding hidden areas with great loot, all elements reminiscent of the classic 16-bit RPGs. To help you out, the game indicates the percentage of chests you've found in each dungeon so you'll always be aware of your progress and can backtrack if need be.

As you explore dungeons you'll face off with various common enemies that'll help you gain levels to prepare you for the inevitable end boss that awaits you. One piece of advice I have is to save your game often and use backup saves, as like old-school RPGs there doesn't appear to be an auto-save feature in this game.

Didn't Like: QTEs Are Too Short

For my time with WrestleQuest, I really enjoyed it and think it offers a lot to nostalgic fans. That said, one irk I had with the game is how short the quick-time button presses are, which feel a lot faster than you'd expect in games like this. Exacerbating this is the button you have to press changes every time so it takes a lot of focus and quick reactions to get it right. There were plenty of times I wished I could play the game more leisurely and enjoy battles at my own pace, but unfortunately, there are no options to eliminate the QTEs or extend their duration.

The Verdict

WrestleQuest delivered exactly what I was hoping for: a charming adventure mixing the best parts of wrestling with classic RPG exploration and combat. The game is tailored to an older crowd that grew up watching wrestling during the WCW nWo and WWE Attitude Era with its focus on legends like Randy Savage, Jeff Jarrett, Booker T and more. I fell squarely into that bucket and had a blast playing through this unique title full of personality.

Final Score: 8/10 - Great

WrestleQuest details

Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Mega Cat Studios
Publisher: Skybound Games
Genre: Role-Playing
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

A key was provided by the publisher.