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WWE WrestleFest

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Fightin' to survive

Product: WWE WrestleFest | Developer: THQ | Publisher: THQ | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Fighting, Retro | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.01
WWE WrestleFest iPhone, thumbnail 1
Whether you think WWE is the pinnacle of sports entertainment or a silly choreographed circus, there's no denying the popularity of its unique blend of grappling and melodrama.

With that in mind, it's less than surprising to see the classic 1991 arcade game WWE WrestleFest making its way on to iOS devices. Spruced up, with a roster of classic pugilists and new blood, it offers a chance to relive a time when fighting games had all the subtlety of a plank to the face.

It might be ugly and clumsy, but it brings with it a certain retro appeal, managing to capture the spectacle and nonsense of the sport in a way few modern games could.

Almost ready to rumble

At its heart, WWE WrestleFest is about big sweaty men hitting each other until one of them is unable to stand. 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.

Ultimate warriors

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. Unfortunately, though, there weren't many other brawlers online when we checked, and the lack of local multiplayer options is a shame.

No matter which mode you choose, the gameplay is repetitive. There doesn't appear to be much difference between the wrestlers on offer, save for the signature throw mixed in with the random moves you can perform.

What goes on in the ring, stays in the ring

WWE WrestleFest harks back to an era when all we wanted from our games was giant men in garishly coloured underwear thwacking each other repeatedly in the sternum. By today's standards, it's a shallow, lumpen oddity that you can pretty much play behind your back.

But it can still raise the occasional hoot of laughter as you pummel and chuck your beleaguered foe from pillar to post. It's childish, button-mashing fun, with no message, finesse, tactic demands, or desire to be anything other than the technicolour slapfest that it is.

To paraphrase the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, WWE WrestleFest is nasty, brutish, short, and the sort of guilty, face-slapping pleasure that you can't help but enjoy despite its considerable failings.
WWE WrestleFest
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 24 February 2012
Stupid, glitteringly bright, and a little bit broken, WWE WrestleFest still manages to capture the slapdash drama and violent hilarity of the ring
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