Professional wrestling games have been in a bit of a rut for a long while. The last breath of life in the genre was back in 2011 when WWE All Stars did its best to entertain the seldom few who picked it up. Perhaps fans of WWE are only interested in the tried and true SmackDown vs. Raw gameplay style, but I feel there is still a gap out there for fans of the N64 era grapplers, or those who might have grown up alongside a Saturday Night Slammasters machine at the local arcade. For those people, CHIKARA: Action Arcade Wrestling might just be the game for you.
If you are unfamiliar with the northeastern independent professional wrestling scene for some reason, CHIKARA started life as a family friendly alternative to a WWE still coming out of the famed “Attitude Era.” It grew to become a breeding ground for talents on the indie scene, including such WWE luminaries as CM Punk and Cesaro. Their entire roster is filled with masked wrestlers of all kinds, including evil sentient ice cream cones and old timey baseball men. Their current wold champion is thirteen year veteran Hallowicked, seen here yelling nonsense with occasional tag team partner Delirious. Basically, the federation is the perfect fit for the more loose adaption of the world of professional wrestling that Action Arcade Wrestling hopes to create.
In fact, this isn’t even the first time that Chikara has attempted to translate into the virtual sphere. There is also the long awaited Rudo Resurrection, which has been in development in some form since 2010. That game has already passed Greenlight, but has been stalled due to a failed Kickstarter. (Full disclosure: I did pledge to Rudo Resurrection during its campaign) Action Arcade Wrestling is being developed simultaneously by a different company and looks to be a throwback to the classic N64 days, rather than the story driven brawler that Rudo Resurrection is (was?) going to be.
However, it’s not a complete throwback, as the game looks to take advantage of some of the more fun aspects of past Chikara events by giving you a few supernatural moves to play with. Nothing as grand as hypnotizing your opponents mid match, but adding in a few fireballs and lightning strikes will help the variety of what seems to be a back to basics gameplay engine. The above trailers is most everything we have to look at the game so far, and some of those animations look to be works in progress, but there is certainly an appeal to this style if it was smoothed over before release.
The Greenlight page promises the arena and custom character creation features that you’d expect from a wrestling game at this point, as well as a promise for continual updates once the base game is completed. Considering that the current PC wrestling game landscape is limited to a questionable version of WWE2K15 and the birthplace of Bully Demise, more games in the space that take advantage of the unique advantages to the platform are certainly welcome.
It would be very exciting to see a game that could update itself along with the federation it represents, adding in new modes and characters timed along with upcoming PPVs. A King of Trios mode or new characters based on breakout stars perhaps. There is some promise here, and I hope that the simple gameplay matches up with expectations if the game gets through Greenlight.
Is there a game still on Greenlight that you’d like to see covered on To The Green? Do you enjoy professional wrestling? Or do you just enjoy it ironically while wearing a ratty NWO shirt? Sound off in the comments below!