When you’re stressed or frustrated, there’s nothing like a good beat ’em up to relieve the tension. Enemies come pouring out at you, and with nothing more than your fists (and a few special moves), you can leave them battered in the dust. Street Wrestler is a beat ’em up in the tradition of classic games like Streets of Rage or X-Men, but if you’ve played those, Street Wrestler doesn’t hold many surprises.
The most interesting aspects of Street Wrestler are its crazy art style, setting, and sense of humor. The game takes place in the wacky world of luchador wrestling, where Mexican masked wrestlers with over-the-top personalities clash in an epic melee.
Need some help crossing the street?
As a result, the graphics are bright, busy, and cel-shaded, the music is pure thrash metal insanity, and the action is punctuated by bizarre humor. A few of our favorite examples of Street Wrestler’s quirky personality include a giant chicken, a deadly bomb-tossing pinata, and henchmen randomly mowed down by out-of-control trains.
However, the gameplay isn’t nearly as surprising. Just like in Streets of Rage, you have to continually move to the right, picking fights with lower-level wrestlers that fall over with just a few quick taps of the punch button. Later enemies require you to use special moves, like slamming and sliding, using a context-sensitive button. But the enemies repeat quickly, and there are only a handful of boss fights, which aren’t especially memorable (except for the pinata).
I’ll fight you for that last soda.
Street Wrestler also breaks its action down into small, bite-sized levels. While this is generally a good idea for mobile games (most missions can be completed in 2-3 minutes), the levels are also frequently uneventful. You’ll see a lot of the same backgrounds and enemies, and the gameplay never evolves over time. Streets of Rage 2, for example, continually introduces new enemies and environments, and makes an effort to keep surprising players. That game came out nearly 20 years ago.
Street Wrestler has a quirky sense of humor and looks great, but it also plays things safe. We would have liked to see more enemy and gameplay variety, and the levels could be more exciting to match the high-intensity setting. Maybe these parts of the game will be improved in an update or sequel. For now, though, Street Wrestler is still a solid brawler, and it may keep you from scuffing your knuckles in real life.