Switch version tested
Review code provided
Chiki-Chiki Boxy Pro Wrestling looks to walk that aisle and add a bit of retro charm to the wrestling scene. Over the years wrestling games have been extremely limited to the WWE brand with only a few small contenders to speak of. As many of us know, WWE’s one and only outing on Nintendo Switch ran about as well as Kevin Nash! Leaving grappling fans to wonder when they might see a worthy title to lay the Smackdown on their friends while on the go, is Boxy Pro Wrestling is here to save the day? Over to you Mean Gene!
Firing up BPW I was impressed with the content on offer, a full tournament mode for single-player, local and online multiplayer for up to six people, creation mode and a training option to hone those skills. It would appear there was more depth than I first thought to this colourful and old school looking title. Going straight into the tournament I blew air out of my nose quicker than usual as I was amused by the nods to classic wrestlers on the character selection screen. Opting for an HBK looking dude I headed into the squared circle ready to style and profile.
The tournament mode takes place over seven rounds leading you from lower leagues up to the championship. Each round consists of four matches to fight through, along the way you will unlock new wrestlers which will also provide their design items to the creation mode. The arenas amusingly ranged from volcanoes, jungles, the arctic to a proper wrestling house, which oddly felt a bit out of place. Each stage has its own unique activity going on, lava will rise outside the ring so you want to make sure you stay in the ring because “KANE IS ON FIRE!!!!!” or in the jungle you will have animals walking around with some power-ups to collect, these are either health or increases in attack power. As you can tell this is a very arcade experience, anyone looking to recapture the in-depth intricacies of a story defining pro wrestling match is more out of luck than an NXT call up!
That being said, the game-play was fun! Move sets were decent enough with two primary strike and grapple moves, two finishers, a selection of submission and diving moves. Victories rewarded you with money which you can spend on items in the creation mode with the option to earn extra by beating your opponent via pin fall. Though most the time it just came down to slamming them around until their health bar ran out. The fun soon started to slow in lieu of any real challenge and all seven rounds following the same formula, One-on-One, Tag Match, Battle Royal then another One-on-One. With no real diversity in match types or any sense of escalating challenge the tournament mode was completed in under two hours with no real need to go back and play it again.
Creation mode was once again short-lived fun, after defeating mock-up versions of classics like Sgt Slaughter to Ric Flair I was able to dabble in creating all manner of ’80s looking porn star… I mean wrestlers complete with their own move sets. Though this was essentially pointless for single player, but plenty of fun for BPW’s multiplayer which is party themed. Grabbing six friends for shared or local co-op is where the fun would be, sadly I don’t have six friends, so I jumped into the online, which was great to see included in such a small title. After waiting around in lobbies, I was back to my childhood days of no one wanting to play with me, so I can’t comment on how it performed but with the basic premise of the title I can’t imagine it having many issues.
As a wrestling fan it is great to see a grappling title appear that I can take on the go with me and whip off the joy-cons for a bit of fun with a friend, yes I have one. Boxy Pro Wrestling is colourful, loud and fun which is everything wrestling should be, but the experience is just too short-lived if you are playing solo. Younger players will likely find some fun in the multiplayer though with the lack of variation or progression BPW felt like a missed opportunity but one that is worth trying for a chuckle, just not at the full asking price.