Macho Man Randy Savage in WrestleQuest, taunting to the camera

WrestleQuest Is Wrestling and RPG Tag Team Perfection 

September 9, 2022

By: Robert Scarpinito

 
 

When you hear the term "fantasy RPG," it’s easy to get lost in the Final Fantasies and Dragon Quests of the world. But-- what’s that? Whose music is that? Well by god, it’s WrestleQuest, charging down the ramp, ready to firmly plant its feet in the canvas – and in the hearts of wrestling fans. 

WrestleQuest flips the script on what it means to be a fantasy RPG by injecting it with a lot of wrestle-fueled levity. The indie title from Mega Cat Studios and Skybound Games is inspired by the heyday of pro wrestling – think iconic legends like "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Jake the Snake Roberts. 

 

By simultaneously celebrating old-school JRPGs and paying homage to the squared circle, the WrestleQuest preview demo we saw at PAX West put on a fantastic display that would make any ringside manager proud. And as long as the final product delivers, it could be the next wrestling game of a generation. 

the overworld in WrestleQuest, featuring a school

 
 

WrestleQuest Preview: The Cream Will Rise to the Top 

WrestleQuest is set in a world where plastic action figures are sentient beings, and many want to be the next big wrestler. You’ll step into the role of the "Muchacho Man" Randy Santos, a rookie wrestler who’s trying to rise to the top, just like his idol, the Macho Man. 

While Santos might not be the greatest superstar in all of wrestling entertainment (yet), he’s already stolen our hearts in our short time with the WrestleQuest preview demo. He still believes wrestling is real, so his dialog with fellow prospective wrestlers is full of hilarious charm that will remind any wrestling fan of conversations they might have had on the playground in school. 

 
 

For example, one rookie makes a remark about the writers behind the scenes. After he’s out of earshot, Santos laments over that poor rookie, who he thinks is horribly deluded by these made-up "writers" that would never taint the great art of professional wrestling. With a fantastic sense of humor and thinly veiled references like, "That’s the bottom line because Stone Age said so," old-school wrestling fans will find a lot of reasons to crack a smile.

Randy Santos standing in the gym in WrestleQuest

But it’s not just wrestling fans who might enjoy this; JRPG aficionados might find a lot to love here, too. While everything is a reference to wrestling in some way, many of these references are made through the lens of JRPGs from yesteryear. Dialog and animations are delivered with text windows and pixel art. The overworld looks like it could’ve come from an older Final Fantasy game. The battle system is turn-based, though it does away with lots of the tedium that vintage JRPGs are notorious for. 

In battles, you can throw a strike, use a gimmick, use an item, or perform a taunt. Strikes, items, and gimmicks (think spells or special attacks) translate pretty easily onto a JRPG blueprint. The taunt action, however, isn’t related to tanks taking up aggro. No, this taunt is about sending a message. It’s about striking fear in the hearts of your enemies. It’s about getting the crowd riled up. If you think that’s useless, then maybe WrestleQuest isn’t the game for you. 

 
 

However, the ultimate mechanic in this game’s battle system is, in fact, the crowd. If the crowd cheers for you, you’ll get buffs. If you lose the crowd, you’re more likely to lose the match – after all, no one likes it when a heel wins. 

So you’ll want to vary up your moves, lest the crowd get bored of seeing the same attack over and over. While that plays into the heart of wrestling, it also cleverly gets around one of the less beloved tropes of old-school JRPGs. Style and flair will win your matches, not one overpowered special attack. 

Randy Santos pinning an enemy in WrestleQuest

And in true wrestling fashion, if you want to win, you’ve got to pin your opponent until the ref counts to three. From a game mechanics standpoint, pinning starts up a short quick-time event segment that’s a little tricky at first, but it gets easier with each successive pin. Much like a real match, the more times someone’s shoulders touch the mat, the more likely they are to stay down for the count.

 
 

If it isn't clear by now, WrestleQuest was a big crowdpleaser for us at PAX West. On paper, it sounds like a lot of fun, but in action, it's electrifying and magnetically charming. We can only hope that the final product delivers whenever it's ready for launch.


TechRaptor's WrestleQuest preview was conducted on a demo booth at PAX West 2022.