Wrestler: Unstoppable is far from a body slam
I’ve been a fan of video game wrestling titles since I was just a little kid. Back then it was Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper, and Junkyard Dog filling up my games, and I loved it. So while I was left curious about a 3D Wrestling game on Facebook, I remained excited about the prospect. But excitement was quickly replaced with anger, since Wrestler: Unstoppable isn’t really a game at all.
Let’s take a tour of the game first. When you initially start the game you’ll create a wrestler, though at first the options are pretty limited. There are tons of clothes and styles to buy with in-game and real cash, however. The main screen lets you navigate all the different areas of the game, from timed training sessions (think growing crops in Farmville, you pick it and then wait until the timer runs out) to increase your stats, or you can open up new wrestling moves.
You go through a tutorial with the computer about how the game plays and after that you can start challenging real opponents or entering tournaments. You can invite friends to assist you in all the typical Facebook ways, and join various gyms and such to enhance the overall experience.
But all those little things are really tertiary to the main problem, and that’s the gameplay. Or, rather, the lack thereof. There’s no real game here. You click the move you’d like to attempt, then watch the animation to see if it’s successful or not. If successful, you get to pick another move, if not then your opponent goes.
The frustrating part about this is that you have no control over what’s successful or not. There are no controls of any kind, you just pick a move and watch it go. This makes Wrestler: Unstoppable more of a slide show, or a choose-your-own-adventure book, than a game.
You can see what’s really happening if you turn off the 3D rendering, which turns the screen into a stat sheet showing the health and other stats of each wrestler. From here you can view your moves and their various hit percentages. You choose your move, and some sliders move around depending on whether it let you hit or not. The way this plays out is the same in 3D or 2D, it’s just 2D doesn’t attempt to hide it.
And, sadly, even watching this piece of software play itself is frustrating. The 3D models of the wrestlers are oddly shaped, with tiny heads and weird back muscle sticking out. The characters have a low polygon count and just kind of look weird. It’s not cartoony, it’s just off-putting. Oh, and the game has no sound in it. But with everything else going against it, that’s not exactly surprising.
But the most egregious graphical offense is the fact that there’s no fluidity to anything. Let’s say you bodyslam a guy and it hits. So it plays the animation of you picking him up and slamming him down, prompting you to pick another move. Instead of starting from the place where the last move ended it just cuts back to the two guys on opposite sides of the ring again, and plays the different animation. It’s just a series of short little three second animations, with nothing to string them together.
Some games take a bit for their flaws to bubble up on the surface, but with Wrestler: Unstoppable flaws are really all there is. The interface is confusing, the choices limited, and there’s no actual gameplay to be found. The only saving grace is that it’s free, so once you’re done looking at it you know you weren’t out any money.