The search for a truly wonderful wrestling game on Switch has been fraught with pitfalls, and one that has yet to culminate in an absolute gem.

WWE 2K18 was such a shocking and problem-riddled port that 2K Sports refused to bring the 2019 and 2020 offers to Nintendo’s console. Its arcade-style spin-off WWE 2K Battlegrounds fared a bit better in that it worked, but it was still a repetitive and superficial experience.

Closest to shine on Switch so far is Wrestling empire, an indie title that seems to draw inspiration from the N64 era (the best era for wrestling games) and packed with content, but is such a ridiculous mess – deliberately, to be fair – that it won’t be the case. the tastes of anyone who just wants a solid wrestling game.

Well the count of 10 is over and the next contender entering the ring for this Switch Royal Rumble is RetroMania Wrestling, the “ official ” sequel to Technos’ classic arcade wrestling game from 1991 WWF WrestleFest (in this developer Retrosoft made a deal with the owner of the game, not that anyone from Technos actually worked on this game).

Anyone old enough to remember WrestleFest will be able to tell right away that RetroMania is an authentic facsimile, at least visually. The game does an awesome job of recreating the look of WrestleFest, right down to the way you see the contestants slowly descending the entry ramp before each fight. Once inside the ring, everything looks the way it should: Movements in particular just have the right number of animated frames to make it look like a modern, authentic take on WrestleFest.

That might sound like the part, then, but it’s different, especially when it comes to the grapple mechanic. WrestleFest was a bit of a button-basher and each wrestler only had four grappling moves that the game chose for you, but RetroMania’s grappling system is more timing-based like the Fight Fire Pro Games. When the two wrestlers enter a grappling hook, the goal is to press a button the very moment they make contact. If you time better than your opponent, you will flash green and be in control of the movement. If you’re doing it at the same time, now’s the time to hit the buttons.

It also shares Fire Pro’s use of light, medium, and heavy grapple movements. Much like a real fight, it’s unrealistic to expect to storm and start firing strong punches right after the match starts, so at the start the only grappling hooks you can pull off are the weak ones (the weakest ones). strengths will be reversed). Eventually, your character’s momentum bar builds up, allowing you to fire medium and strong grappling hooks. That way the beat of the fight is more like something you would see on TV. Each grapple force also has a variety of different movements, fired maintaining a different direction when you press the button.

The grappling is excellent then, but the other attacks leave a lot to be desired. Punches and kicks are difficult to connect, and current attacks need to line up perfectly or they won’t connect. It’s a lot easier said than done, which means you’ll find yourself avoiding throwing attacks – a shame, as they’re some of the most satisfying moves in the game on the rare occasions they hook up.

Another letdown is the character roster, which only includes 16 wrestlers. It’s an odd mix of indie, New Japan and Impact wrestlers, with Tommy Dreamer, Colt Cabana and the Blue World Order, joined by NWA champion Nick Aldis and Matt Cardona and Brian Myers of the Impact (previously known at WWE as Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins). There’s even the Road Warriors (aka the Legion of Doom) in there, because why not. They were the last WrestleFest bosses, after all.

If you eat, drink, breathe, sleep, and sneeze occasionally in wrestling, this may well be a list to get you excited, but your typical WWE (or even AEW) fan will be hard-pressed to get excited at the wrestling. idea to play as Warhorse or the Blue Meanie. It just feels like they ditched everyone they could accept to be in: Austin Idol, 71, and Nikita Koloff, 62, will hardly have most fans eagerly shoving $ 25. in the mouth of the eShop, The Ted DiBiase style.

Oddly enough, there are actually more arenas than wrestlers, and these are brilliantly put together. Whether it’s Stevie Richards’ gym, Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore arena, WCW-inspired beach decor, ECW-style ballroom or a game taking place in hell itself, the locations are varied and filled with detail, especially when the camera zooms out and you get the big picture of everything. There’s even an arena based on Cardona and Myers ‘Major Wrestling Figure podcast, with a ring that looks exactly like the WWF’s blue plastic toy ring from the early’ 90s and just might be the best thing in the game. .

In terms of game modes, there is a Story Mode where you play as Johnny Retro (aka John Morrison) as he tries to come back from an injury. Starting with Stevie Richards Fitness, you’re in charge of knowing who to befriend and who to stab with thanks to the dialogue trees (although these tend to appear at the end of the lines, which means we accidentally made decisions when we thought we were skipping the previous line). This gives you a surprising amount of choice, but unfortunately the story is far too short to consider it the primary reason for purchasing the game.

Other modes include 10 Golden Pounds (a standard tournament where you try to reach Nick Aldis to win the NWA title), a “ Retro Rumble ” (which is a 16-player Royal Rumble-style match), and a Simple Versus mode with a number of match types. The latter is versatile enough for some interesting fights – an eight-man match in a WWF-style blue cage, anyone? – but still a bit limited compared to what Wrestling Empire and even WWE 2K games have to offer in terms of match customization.

Ultimately, RetroMania Wrestling is as much about what it doesn’t have as it is about what it has. There is no online multiplayer, no character creation, no huge stars in the list, and no longevity in its single player game modes. The developer has already announced that there will be more DLC wrestlers to come (the first pack includes Mr. Hughes and Impact wrestlers James Storm and Chris Bey), and has also committed to adding more modes like GM mode if there is enough interest. The latter could potentially make this a much more attractive prospect, but right now there’s not much to offer.


RetroMania Wrestling looks like WWF WrestleFest, plays (a bit) like Fire Pro, and has a wide variety of entertaining arenas to play in. However, the small roster, lack of creation modes, lack of online experiences, and brief single-player experiences mean that you’re really going to need to be interested in local multiplayer if you’re going to play this one for long. long time. To give him the Cena test: he has our respect for the old school and he will gain the cult loyalty that will inevitably follow him win, but he still needs a little more fuss before he is the finished product, whereas now it looks like the prototype.

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