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Monday
Apr062009

TNA Wrestling isn't what I expected...And I like it!

tna_header
tna_icon_smallI never liked wrestling...at all.  But in High School, I had a friend that was obsessed with the "sport."  He'd drag everyone over to his house for pay-per-views, make us all watch RAW, and he even started his own "basement wrestling federation" (AKA the BWF).  My wrestling name was Vertigo (I'm real tall, ya see?), and I crushed people's heads.

See, we did more than just jump off roofs or break bones.  In fact, the worst injuries I can recall were bruises and a bloody nose.  No, my friend was into the story aspect of wrestling.  We had overarching storylines of girlfriend-stealing, ripping up homework and crazy name-calling.  For about a year of my life, we never turned it off.  I still didn't like wrestling, but I had at least grown to appreciate it for what it was: a male soap opera, complete with characters, a changing storyline, and a lot of drama.

img_00021So when I saw the opportunity to play TNA Wrestling by Longtail Studios, I was excited.  I thought it would be a fun action game that would allow me to drop people on their heads and execute sweet-ass finishing moves.  But I was wrong.  TNA wrestling is more akin to a choose-your-own-adventure comic book, and for a guy who appreciates the story element of wrestling, that's pretty damn cool. 

You start by defining your character name and look.  You're a nobody wrestler looking for your big break.  You stumble on a scout for the big boys, TNA wrestling, and you have to make decisions about how to behave.  

img_00031A lot of the game is conversation based.  You'll encounter a character, maybe another wrestler, and have to decide what you will say to them.  You are given options, some of them making you the bad guy (or heel) and others making you the good guy (or face).  Choose your own storyline and act accordingly in order to accomplish your goals of becoming a TNA superstar!

The other half of the game is the matches.  These, too, play out more as a series of choices than an action-packed skill game.  You pick which moves to do on opponents and perform certain sets of moves in order to execute combos and finishing moves.  The only "skill" area of the game is executing a number of gestures in order to accurately execute a particularly difficult move before the clock runs out.  It's not going to give you the same feeling as playing mortal combat...that's not what it's going for, and I think it's a refreshing change.

img_0005The graphics are fun but basic.  They emulate the original Nintendo games I grew up loving, so there is a nostalgia factor there.  The goal with this game is not to push the limits of the iPhone format, so don't come in expecting PS3 level graphics.

Complaints?  The conversations can go on a bit long.  I know it is somewhat based on the decisions you make, but it's tough to get out of an insult-trading session with your soon-to-be opponent in the ring.  It's fun for a while, but it goes on too long.

Then again, this was always my complaint with "real" wrestling, so I'd guess you could say that it provides accurate gameplay.

img_00041Want more action?  Go into tournament mode and get straight to the matches, including options for tag team and gauntlet modes.

You can score two types of points, heel or face, in order to level up and unlock new moves.  As the game progresses, the plot gets more complicated and the decisions you have to make become trickier.  But it never ceases to be entertaining.

If you have ever watched wrestling laughing and allowing yourself to be drawn in by the ridiculous storyline, this app is for you.  Instead of being an observer, though, you can participate and shape the story in whatever way you want.

That's right.  John Cena ain't got nothin' on you.

You can buy TNA Wrestling HERE.

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