It couldn’t be a better time to be a pro wrestling fan. Instead of having only one primary product to choose from in the form of WWE, fans can now choose to watch alternative programmings like All Elite Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and more in the same week. Like the TV programs, video game fans are now seeing the same result in great alternatives in wrestling video games. Previously, the WWE 2K series ruled the roost as the only game in town, but now smaller independent studios are starting to make fantastic wrestling games that call back to control schemes that echo from what made the game genre great in the past.
Action Arcade Wrestling, now available on the Nintendo Switch, is a simple, fun pro wrestling title with plenty of unique characters, a wide variety of move sets, and fast and fluid action moves. The game includes over 30 wrestlers that are either a homage to real pro wrestlers or go way out in terms of unique and wacky characters. The Haunted, for example, may call back some memories of the Undertaker, but AAW kicks it up a notch by giving Haunted the ability to shoot laser beams out of his eyes. If this sounds like the game is made more like in the playstyle of the Mortal Kombat like WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade game, you would be mistaken. While some move sets are certainly out there, this plays more like a WWF No Mercy than anything Acclaim or Midway ever put out in the wrestling video game world.
I had a lot of fun with this game, mainly because it was straightforward to get acclaimed with the grappling system and the large variety of match types expands the game’s playability. Unfortunately, the game lacks a career mode, but it allows you to defend championship belts during matches and rewards more points for defending them successfully. I did have a strange bug during a five vs. five elimination tag match where the opponent tagging out was not forced to leave the ring, leaving me to face two people in the ring at once, but that was the only major issue I encountered.
I enjoyed this game far more than Retro Mania Wrestling because its grappling system isn’t a war of slamming buttons faster to pull off a move. I do hope a sequel happens, with a career mode. If you are looking for a fast, fun, and furious wrestling game, this is my current recommendation to go pick up on the Switch right now.