Well, it’s Wrestlemania weekend, the biggest of the year for anyone who cares about the business. I happen to fall into a mixed category when it comes to wrestling at this point in my life.
I grew up on WWE, it was one of the things that insured that my Dad and I had something to bond over. Starting all the way back in 1985, I’ve followed professional wrestling in fits and starts, thought over the last decade my one consistency has been maintaining a membership to PWInsiderElite.com, a pro wrestling website run by Dave Scherer and featuring the work of the best reporting in the biz, Mike Johnson. I may not watch Monday Night Raw or Smackdown, but I know what’s happening inside and outside the ring thanks to Dave and Mike’s work.
Since the Royal Rumble, I’ve also had a subscription to the WWE Network in preparation for ‘Mania 37. There is some outstanding content on there, specifically the documentaries that are constant highlights, as well as Stone Cold Steve Austin’s interviews with talent. Austin has become an outstanding interviewer; he works hard on his research and it shows.
So while I’m looking forward to watching Wrestlemania 37 this weekend, I do have a feeling I’ll only half be paying attention. Why?, I hear you ask (I swear I did). Well, because I’ll also be playing playing RetroMania Wrestling for the Nintendo Switch, an incredibly fun game that recently arrived.
The sequel to the classic Wrestlefest, RetroMania Wrestling was developed by Retrosoft Studios and features 16 familiar faces to wrestling fans, including legends like The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, and Tommy Dreamer, and newer faces such as Matt Cardona, Nick Aldis, and Johnny Retro (aka John Morrison, who was attached to the game before he returned to WWE). The game may not feature WWE, but it does include the NWA and Dreamer’s own House of Hardcore, which makes it especially exciting. I’ve never been one for made up characters in any wrestling game (I never do create-a-character in other franchises) so having familiar companies and faces gives RetroMania Wrestling a real-deal flavour.
RetroMania Wrestling was designed to be a pick up and play title, far different from either the WWE 2K franchise or the beloved but brain-melting Fire Pro games. For the most part it succeeds, but if you’re like me and you’re not quite sure how to do all your moves, etc, start off with Story Mode, which follows Johnny Retro on his quest to come back from injury and win the NWA Heavyweight title. It gives you a crash course in game mechanics off the top, while also delivering an outstanding story mode. The cartoonish animations in the story segments are refreshing; they capture the likenesses of all the game’s characters, going slightly over the top but never crossing the line.
The 2d pixel in-game animation for RetroMania Wrestling is gorgeous, in my estimation, especially when the Switch is docked and showing up on my television. As someone who’s gotten fairly bored with pixel games, I’m extremely impressed with just how great this title looks.
I’ve only scratched the surface of RetroMania Wrestling; I still have the myriad match options to play through, and I’m looking forward to the DLC content that will add to the game’s roster which, while solid, definitely needs to be beefed up from its initial 16 names. Overall, for fans of pro wrestling, I definitely recommend picking up RetroMania Wrestling this weekend. It will certainly help pass the time during the Braun Strowman/Shane McMahon steel cage match.
Learn more about RetroMania Wrestling here. It is available now for the Nintendo Switch and Xbox, and is coming soon to PlayStation 4.