WWE Wrestlefest Premium - $2.99
WWF WrestleFest is a fondly-remembered arcade game developed by Technos Japan, and released in 1991. Players could take control of such legendary figures from the world of sports-entertainment as Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, Sergeant Slaughter, and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, among others, as they took on all comers in the over-the-top-rope Royal Rumble, or paired up to conquer the unstoppable Legion of Doom for the World Tag Team Championships.
As with many old school games, it has made the transition to the iOS platform with bolstered rosters and graphics while keeping the same arcade beat 'em up style of the classics. Various WWE titles have made their way onto the App Store over the years, mostly trying to replicate the more realistic experience of recent console titles. Despite all of these, the best iOS wrestling experience I had was TNA Wrestling which also followed the 2D arcade nature of Wrestlefest. It's safe to say that this will be a hit for those fans as well.
At its heart, WWE WrestleFest is about big sweaty men hitting each other until one of them is unable to stand. The premise of the game is fairly self explanatory and will be easy for newcomers to pick up and play automatically. There are eight of these perspiring gents to choose from, with a further five unlocked as an in-app purchase. You control your wrestler with a virtual stick and two buttons. The stick lets you move around the ring, and the two buttons control your punching and kicking. Once you're in a grapple, which happens when you get close to your opponent, mashing 'kick' will fling him at the ropes, while mashing 'punch' will perform one of your throws at random. After you've beaten your foe's health bar down to zero, and stamped on his crotch a few times, pushing 'kick' will fling your muscular sprite atop his prone body for a pinning attempt. The controls are responsive and work perfectly, something titles with on screen buttons have been guilty of in the past.
There is a lot of choice in the game with a large array of fighters and locations. Almost all of the original roster and locations are gone and replaced with new ones, with both help yet hinder the experience for those wanted a nostalgic feel to the game. Yet, for all the choice you are given between wrestlers and arenas, it’s all pretty much cosmetic. Every single one of the Superstars controls in the exact same way, with a joystick, one punch, and one kick button being your only means of input. Different combinations do different things, and each wrestler still has their signature and finishing manoeuvres.
There are plenty of modes on offer, from single matches to career-spanning climbs up the wrestling ladder. Some bouts have different victory conditions, such as the Royal Rumble, which tasks you with hurling men out of the ring. But mostly you're punching, kicking, and throwing until it's time to lie down.
Online multiplayer lets you take a wrestler out into the big bad world, fighting against other people for pride and bragging rights. This is a nice addition, but as with so many other games which aren't able to the hit the top of the charts the lobbies are a bit dry and it may be hard for you to find a match. If you are able to get a friend to play you, then the life of this game is expanded extensively with a nice bit of local competition.
If you are picking up WWE Wrestlefest Premium hoping for the classic arcade gameplay of old you may go home disappointed. This game has more changes than just the heading and is actually a complete revamp with only the base gameplay remaining. That being said the arcade action is a heap of fun and the large variety of modes will keep you body slamming weary foes for hours to come. Just go into Wrestlefest knowing it is an advancement and not a direct port.
I would recommend this game if you enjoyed- TNA Wrestling iMPACT