REVIEW: WWE WrestleFest for iPad and iPhone

For a lengthy part of my childhood, there was a local video game store which had many of the “cool” arcade game machines. Not extremely crowded at any given time either. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and WrestleFest (WWF at the time). Once the establishment turned their machines to nickels only, I was hardly ever home. Bob owned a store that shined on customer relationships.

WrestleFest was such an addicting game. My favorite of that particular time. Pro Wrestling had a larger than life appeal with guys like Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, “Mr Perfect” Curt Hennig, and so forth. Arguably, the first arcade game I learned the importance of button mashing. Today, wrestling has more focus on younger talent.

WrestleFest Macho Man Sheamus Match

This week, WrestleFest was released for the iPad and iPhone. Both premium and free editions available on each device. I immediately stopped what I was doing, and downloaded the paid version for iPad.

Upon launching the game, it feels similar to the classic retro version. No fancy intro videos, or dynamic story like you’d find with games that maximize the iPad hardware. Just push start and dive right in.

WrestleFest Roster iPad

The new roster consists of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, John Cena, Rey Mysterio, The Rock, Randy Orton, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and The Undertaker. If you want to pop another 99 cents in, you can also download Big Boss Man, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, CM Punk, and Sheamus.

Game Modes

Exhibition mode is typical for any game. Just a free-for-all. Choose two wrestlers and duke it out if your time is limited.

Road to Wrestlemania is a feature that debuted in the Smackdown vs Raw series on Playstation and later with X-Box 360. It’s a storyboard mode that takes a superstar through scenarios to win each respective title belt until you make it to Wrestlemania.

CM Punk WrestleFest Wrestlemania

CM Punk on the Road to Wrestlemania

Royal Rumble is probably the hardest mode in my opinion. Lots of wrestlers in the ring at the same time. It’s a lot of button mashing, which is similar to the original arcade game. Dramatically getting knocked down with one punch when energy is low, can be hard on the fingers.

Saturday Night’s Main Event is a Tag Team Tournament. Like the original, choose two wrestlers and beat every team to win the championship. Unfortunately, there is no Legion of Doom at the end.

Tag Team Mode is like Exhibition. One match with two teams squaring off between each other. Pretty simple, but fun pairing two unlikely superstars together.

Macho Man Randy Savage WrestleFest

"Macho Man" Randy Savage (R.I.P)

Gauntlet Mode seems neglected. Choose a superstar and beat a “set” number of wrestlers one after another. Personally, I haven’t found an end to this. It just keeps going, and going…and going. I’ve beat Steve Austin about 5 times now. It also does ring entrances for each opponent. The operation of gauntlets should more real time like the Royal Rumble.

If taking on the computer gets too boring, there’s a multiplayer mode. Currently, the Game Center Auto-Match has a really long wait time. Noticed the iPad actually gives up looking if the screen goes black.


WrestleFest ClassicIf you’re a huge fan of the original arcade game, you may or may not be disappointed. The bass thumping beat of wrestlers walking to the ring is missing. Announcer voices are missing with the exception of Justin Roberts. I think the original had a bulldozing edge by announcing every move performed in the ring.

The only two legends from the original game are Big Bossman and Jake Roberts at the moment. Also a little odd seeing Triple H and Shawn Michaels executing Hulk Hogan leg drops.

It still maintains the simplicity of two button action. Old strategies may still work to win matches (Hint: Manipulating punches). Most iPad games I buy are highly rated, but I tend to neglect them fairly quickly. WrestleFest won’t be one of those. I feel like WWE will have close eyes on this one, and put a good deal of advertisement into it. Anticipating that it will include more wrestlers and improvements in the near future.

It’d be curious to know what Gary Vaynerchuk thinks of the new release, since he’s a fan too. This video has nothing to do with the game, but it stands out over his message :)