Our WrestleQuest preview takes a look at the upcoming RPG game that hones in on the wacky and over-the-top nature of the sport while telling a reverent story about the icons who laid the groundwork for modern-day wrestling. WrestleQuest already seems like the ideal game for long-time wrestling fans, even if it’s a little more eccentric than its WWE and AEW contemporaries.
WrestleQuest is, at its core, an innovative marriage of wrestling culture, the sport of professional wrestling, and turn-based RPGs. It was this blend that struck me most during my time with the preview build, as Mega Cat Studios has adapted what fans know about the sport both in and out of the ring to create some truly unique and entertaining mechanics. We’ve previously called WrestleQuest Earthbound with Randy Savage, and there’s some definite truth to that.
QTEs help lend matches a sense of immediacy, and you’ll need to pin certain enemies to win, while double, triple, tag-team, and manager moves can change the flow of battle depending on how you set up and use them. WrestleQuest is not just an RPG with a wrestling coat of paint, as the mechanics of a wrestling match are smartly woven into the action at every turn.
You can even cut promos before matches and customize your entrance, with your level of flashiness affecting the crowd and granting you handy in-ring bonuses.
The crowd is also equally important in the heat of a match, as you’ll need to keep them entertained throughout to keep those bonuses coming. This is another notch on WrestleQuest’s belt of truly brilliant ideas that elevate each and every encounter beyond a back-and-forth of spamming the best moves and using AP potions.
WrestleQuest even uses kayfabe to its advantage, as you’re sometimes given optional objectives in matches for extra bonuses, all of which are presented as different spots and in-ring drama that you can attempt to pull off. This often plays into the story too, which helps create a strong link between the gameplay and narrative that feels integral to WrestleQuest’s design.
I was initially hesitant about the whole toybox theme, where the game’s world is entirely made up of action figures and playthings, but seeing it in motion sells why WrestleQuest needs it. You wouldn’t get a giant moose man swinging pucks with a hockey stick in-ring, a wrestling velociraptor named Sunset Fliptor, or some delightfully obtuse videogame references if not.
It’s strange, though, because while the toy versions of certain real-world wrestlers do sell WrestleQuest’s reverence for the sport, not every reference here feels quite so natural, from YouTubers to comic book characters. If these references were played for jokes, their inclusion would make more sense, but they’re not. That said, the toybox ‘anything goes’ mentality is still a net positive, as it allows for a constant stream of creativity.
The story also neatly incorporates both in-ring and behind-the-scenes wrestling tropes, where you’ll be playing as two main characters, each with very different goals. One wants to climb the ranks to become a champion, while the other is looking out for his family’s wrestling business. While both characters are engaging, I was often thrown between their stories too quickly, with neither getting ample time to sink in before I was rushed along to the other.
Even with that gripe, WrestleQuest is sure to delight wrestling and turn-based RPG fans. It takes the genre in some interesting directions while paying reverence to – and poking fun at – wrestling culture as a whole in ways that feel genuine. If you want even more wrestling videogames, our recent AEW Fight Forever review will let you know if the WWE2K rival is worth a go.
While you wait for the WrestleQuest release date on Tuesday, August 8, you’ll want to check out what other upcoming games from 2023 and beyond are worth keeping an eye on. Or you can look at the best new games on PC instead.