Action Arcade Wrestling | Nintendo Switch Review
Action Arcade Wrestling is a throwback to wrestling arcade games from the 90s, developed by VICO Game Studio and published by Reverb Games. It is available on Windows PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of this review, I was playing on the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode.
The idea is a simple one, choose your wrestler, choose your arena and match type, then FIGHT! That is all there is to it, literally. There is a decent sized roster of original and fictional characters to choose from - some of these do bear some similarities to real life wrestlers of the past but it is indeed an all original cast. There are also a couple of stock arenas to pick from and 16 different match types including 1v1, tag team, battle royal and battle rumble. Whilst these options do provide a bit of variety, unfortunately, this does not have a classic “Arcade Mode” or “Career Mode” available and in my opinion, it suffers greatly for this.
Action Arcade Wrestling boasts a powerful creation tool called the Wrestle Lab which must be accessed on PC via a free download from Steam. This allows you to create custom arenas and wrestlers. You then must upload these to the Nintendo Switch, so, unfortunately if you do not own a laptop or PC then you will not be able to access this feature. You can download wrestlers which have been created by other players and uploaded to the server. The tool is extremely powerful in terms of what you can actually create and you really can let your imagination run wild. I will say that some of the downloadable characters are incredibly good with people having gone to great lengths to accurately recreate real life wrestlers from past and present. You can also create a new federation and fill it with custom wrestlers which seemed like an exciting prospect. However, with the lack of a story or arcade mode, you can’t really do anything with it so all of this just seems really pointless to me. You can select your match to be for a championship belt, but this doesn’t really do anything. There are no intros or ring walks so this means the wrestlers won’t wear the belts on the way to the ring for their next match. Again, it all seems a bit… pointless.
The controls are pretty simple with only two buttons required to perform any strikes and all of the wrestlers' grapple moves. The wrestler's movement around the ring with the D-Pad felt really clunky and unnatural. I realise that this is a throwback to the old school arcade wrestling games of the 90s, but I feel like the controls should at least be somewhat improved upon. A feature which I really thought was great is that the game will call different “spots”, which is a wrestling term for a predetermined sequence of moves. If you can execute these spots successfully within the given time limit, you will gain extra XP. Power-ups will appear randomly in the ring throughout each match which you can collect to give your wrestler a boost in certain categories. Again, I thought this was a nice addition and added something different. Some of the wrestlers have super powers such as firing lighting bolts from their eyes which does make this a bit different to your average wrestling simulator and I did find this aspect pretty entertaining.
The audio was a bit hit and miss in my opinion. The music was great and really does transport you back to arcade games of old. They really hit the nail on the head with this. During a match, you do hear some cheesy one-line commentary which actually fits in with the style really well. The sound effects are not the best and I suffered some syncing issues with them, most noticeably when swinging a weapon at your opponent. The sounds were not in time with the wrestlers movements. Visually, I thought Action Arcade Wrestling looked amazing with its 3D cell-shaded style graphics. They worked incredibly well in bringing a colourful throw back to the old arcade games of the past.
There are some great and unique ideas in here but it’s just not enough to make this a game I want to spend any amount of time with. The bones are there to make this a really nice wrestling game, but the lack of an arcade or career mode really kills it off for me and kind of makes everything seem a bit pointless. Why go to the bother of creating a wrestler when you can’t take them through a career or win title belts with them? With a few improvements to the controls and by adding an arcade or story mode, this would have been a winner for me but unfortunately it fell really flat.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 2 chair shots to the head out of 5.
For more information on Action Arcade Wrestling please use the following links...
Many thanks to Reverb Games for supplying the review code.