WrestleQuest isn’t your average wrestling game. Remove any ideas of No Mercy or Def Jam from your head, and come at this like it’s Final Fantasy 6 or Chained Echoes. While you’re still putting opponents through tables and performing acrobatic finishers, this is a turn-based tactics RPG with more akin to Pokemon than WWE. That is, unless you understand the references.

Even the most wrestling-averse RPG fan is probably aware of Macho Man Randy Savage, who is pivotal to your initial protagonist, Randy Santos. You practically worship the iconic wrestler, whose statue stands over your home town and whose bearded visage stares down at you from the gym where you train and sleep. There are other legendary wrestlers referenced in the game, some explicitly like Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, and others implicitly, like Stone Age Cotton. These are references for the hardcore wrestling fan, you won’t find Roman Reigns or John Cena here. At least, I haven’t.

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You switch protagonists throughout your adventure, from up-and-comer Santos to perpetual jobbers and definitely-not-Hart-brothers Brink and Stag Logan. Most are parodies of real wrestlers in toy form – did I fail to mention that everyone is a plastic toy in WrestleQuest? You’re served by Lego shop assistants, you encounter Barbies and bobbleheads, and everyone is some form of figurine. It’s another fun layer to WrestleQuest’s presentation, but the real depth comes from the RPG elements.


WrestleQuest - via Skybound Games

You’ve got everything you’d expect from a 2D RPG here. Stats? Check. Equipment that affects your abilities both in the ring and out of it? Yep. An open world to explore between turn-based battles? What more could you want? A party of wrestlers who can perform different tag team moves based on the combination of skills, plus managers who can affect the battle, items to heal yourself or confuse opponents, powerful combos and finishers to vanquish a variety of foes? Methinks you’re asking too much, but WrestleQuest provides it anyway.

In my time with this preview, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the RPG systems. I want to tinker with my stable, creating a vibe as much as a coherent fighting force. I want to work out which tag team partners create the most explosive finishers, and which support wrestlers will allow them to strut their stuff to the best of their abilities.

From planning your walk-on to keeping the crowd interested in your match with varied and exciting moves, there’s a lot to keep an eye on in each match. I expected WrestleQuest to pull me in with its story or references to real-life wrestlers, but it’s the RPG mechanics underneath it all that make it tick. It’s too early to tell whether they’re up to the rigorous standards of the genre, but the unique wrestling presentation of a classic RPG formula is enough to make WrestleQuest stand out from the crowd.

wrestlequest match

It’s actually the story elements that I care the least about in the opening hours of WrestleQuest. I’m invested enough in Randy Santos’ journey to be the very best, like Macho Man ever was, and the running joke that he doesn’t realise wrestling is scripted never fails to elicit a smirk, but it’s not compelling. I don’t care like I care about Tifa Lockhart or Kim Kitsuragi. There’s still time, but the story at present feels a little bare bones. The turn-based battles make up for it, but I’m hoping the narrative crescendos quickly, and provides more stakes than just a title match.

Not really a wrestling game, but with more wrestling moves than your average RPG, WrestleQuest sits in a weird limbo that will either help it to stand out in both genres, or miss the mark for fans of either. The devs are clearly having fun, they’re so obviously fans of wrestling and RPGs alike, and that’s why I think this game will succeed. WrestleQuest is a game with heart, and even if that heart is made of the same crappy plastic as the spandex singlet that gives you +1 damage, it beats all the same.

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