Megacat Studios is certainly know for some innovative games such as Coffee Crisis and Bite the Bullet. Their newest game may just be one of the most unique gaming titles in a long while. Wrestlequest is a traditional RPG with a wrestling motif, combining all the basics and crucial details of professional wrestling and the critical components of JRPGs.
The art style is of the retro pixel variety and it reminds me of Wrestlefest from the 90s. The world is awash with a colorful palette even in the starting town of Boxwood, which has a rundown city vibe. I got to experience a few different environments and each one feels distinct and has a considered style to it much like the best RPGs of yore.
Wrestlequest is the tale of Randy Santos, Muchacho Man and his rise to stardom. Being a fan of superstar Macho Man, Randy takes his naïve view of wrestling and sets off to become a wrestling legend. You start off in a rundown town with a backyard wrestling style league. You’ll encounter tons of NPCs who colorfully explain the games mechanics as you make your way through the early bits of the game. The dialogue is a high point and will have you laughing out loud even during the tutorial bits. As you progress about the world map, you’ll gain the option of garnering tag team partners for your team. The story progression feels very much like an old school 16 and 32 bit RPG. It’s got varied locals, a big overworld map, the ability to explore the world at your leisure and an entertaining narrative. I asked about the option for co-op or versus modes, but the game seems to be firmly planted in the single player experience and that’s perfectly fine by me.
Lending some credibility to the game is the inclusion of some 80s and 90s superstars. Koko B. Ware, Macho Man, the Road Warriors, Double J Jeff Jarrett and more are featured in the game. They come in the form of statues that you can praise and get imbued with some stat bonuses. Jeff Jarrett, who was at their Penny Arcade booth to greet fans and talk about the game, is a consultant on the game. And it shows; Lending some credibility to the game is the inclusion of some 80s and 90s superstars. Koko B. Ware, Macho Man, the Road Warriors, Double J Jeff Jarrett and more are featured in the game. They come in the form of statues that you can praise and get imbued with some stat bonuses. Jeff Jarrett, who was at their Penny Arcade booth to greet fans and talk about the game, is a consultant on the game. This is an amazing idea I wish more game developers did when working with licensed or pre-existing properties. The game seems to have hit the right tone and nailed the important aspects of the sport. This is an amazing idea I wish more game developers did when working with licensed or pre-existing properties.
When in the squared circle, visual flourishes like colorful particle effects and neon outlines accentuate certain moves which give them a some very pleasing visual flair. Battles come alive with detailed idle animations and smooth character motions when performing moves. I will say that some polish could certainly be use during the matches though. It looks like some frames are missing or are not implemented yet but I have confidence that those details will be ironed out before the games release.
The game mechanics of Wrestlequest tick all the boxes of traditional turned based RPGs. HP and MP stats, leveling up, customizing abilities and other familiar systems are all here. All of it packaged in a wrestling motif, so things like abilities are called gimmicks. Outside of battle, you can tweak your moveset and your entrance, the latter will affect the audience engagement in the match. Options such as flood lights, smoke effects and more are available and it’s cool to see both the visual splendor of your work and the effectual impact on the match. That leads me to the hype meter. This mechanic is displayed at the bottom of the ring above the audience and it can change how difficult the battle is. If you don’t excite the fans by performing varied and interesting moves, then the meter will drain and the enemies will become tougher. This is an interesting way to incorporate aspects of the most entertaining WWE and WCW matches of yore. Since professional wrestling is staged, broadly choreographed and the winners are decided ahead of time, it’s the back and forth between the opponents that can be the most exciting and Wrestlequest encourages you to mix things up and keep the audience engaged.
One thing that the devs commented on but wasn’t implemented yet is Twitch integration. The idea is if you decide the stream the game on Twitch that fans watching can chant certain keywords in the chat to affect the hype meter and matches. This perfectly emulates the live audience of a professional wrestling match and is an ingenious idea. It’s definitely something in their roadmap and I hope they end up implementing it before release.
Overall, Wrestlequest shines with love and attention to detail. Every aspect of the game I got to demo felt polished and fleshed out and core mechanics felt fun. It’s still got a ways to go before release but it’s shaping up to be one hell of an experience and I’ll be keeping tabs on the all the latest updates as they come out. You can find more about the game on the Wrestlequest official website and you can check out the trailer below.