The arcade version of TMNT meets God of War?
WulverBlade – Nintendo Switch – Released: 10/12/17 – $19.99
Short Review: (Review copy provided by Developer)
Real short, go buy it…. Some people have commented that they want a more forward “Buy, Used, Rent, Don’t buy” aspect and that I should add what my background history is on the genre that a game relates to and compare it to other games. This review will be the first to cover that so when it comes to WulverBlade, I like to think of it as a mix of old arcade games with God of War drizzled into its DNA. This is a very good thing in my opinion, it has that feeling of popping in another quarter when you do die seeing that familiar spawn that knocks back all enemies. It has the added benefit of having a deep historical aspect that reminds me of God of War even having a “Rage” meter that fills up over time that when used, will make you unstoppable and heals you.
WulverBlade roots itself in games of the past even the website mentions that it has the “gameplay style of the 1990’s arcade scene” but is that a bad thing? Yes and no depending on who you are. Gamers today are pretty soft when it comes to difficult games and the developer is already working on a patch for an easy mode and boss checkpoints due to the slight backlash of the game being too difficult. I remember the first few days of its release the Nintendo Switch Subreddit had several threads saying “don’t buy it because it is too hard and requires 2 players to beat”. If you grew up playing games in the arcade such as The Simpsons or Double Dragon and Battletoads on SNES or Golden Axe on Genesis, this game is up there in difficulty if played single player.
WulverBlade starts off pretty dark as the Romans are taking over different regions and have finally invaded your area. Obviously your job is defeat them and put an end to their fight for land. The game’s first level is a tutorial but has very important aspects that I think need to be addressed in a short review. The game doesn’t explain how item drops work, if you are playing single player, these play an important role as they will be a good chunk of how you do damage. Just like in old arcade games mastering how to abuse say the fire hydrants in TMNT to line up enemies or when to grab the pizza power to do maximum, the items dropped in WulverBlade need to be used. Face value they don’t seem important but before the patch comes up, you will need all or two of your lives to defeat the stage boss in single player. Just like fighting any boss in the arcade they have cheap shots that will take a chunk of health and you will need to save your “Rage” for the fight. You do have the option of having Wolves come out but I found them to be more useful in the stage rather than at bosses unless the boss has a few small enemies spawned with them. Bosses are tough not going to beat around the bush about it since it is true but if you take what I’ve said and use them effectively they can be a piece of cake. If you check out my gameplay footage of me playing the first two stages, you will see that I almost defeat the first boss without losing a life but in the second stage I messed around too much and died at the boss.
The game is very solid but people need to know what they are getting themselves into before buying it. The game on face value could look like a pretty easy game and depending on what reviews you look at will say it is too hard or just like old arcade games. There is a clear divide of how the difficulty it really is but overall the game is highly received and rightfully so. The patch in the works and issues being addressed WulverBlade is shaping up to be one of the best indie games the Switch has to offer. At its core, it is a solid game that I hope does extremely well and I look forward to what ever game Fully Illustrated has to offer in the future.
One of my favorite icons:
The story is fairly simple, the Romans have finally reached Caradoc’s area. Caradoc wants to stop them from invading and taking over the land. His father watched over the land and took care of everyone there, he was called Wulver, the man of the woods. Caradoc now has to carry out what his father did before him and help the tribes take back their land. The story is further explained in letters found in the game along with several very well done cut scenes. I’m not sure how accurate the history is because I don’t know anything about that era but the website states that is is a mix of British history and native tales of lore. So my guess is part fiction and part non-fiction.
You pick between three characters but the main character is Caradoc, a guardian of the Northern Tribes, the game has a two player mode. Each character has their own stats, Caradoc is the all around guy, Brennus is the heavy damage but slow speed, and Guinevere is the fast speed but low damage. It requires you to pick up items and use them to your advantage not just let them sit there when some deal 1/4 to 1/2 health bar damage if used. This is the main mechanic you need to take advantage of since it will get you much further than just passing up on drops.
You are able to do the standard combos but you are able to pick up a secondary weapon depending on the stage that you can string with your combos. I use it several times in my gameplay footage of the first stage. It does a crazy amount of damage but will eventually break if used too much so reserve it for hoards of enemies or when you have a group lined up. Then there are the executions which appear from time to time that an enemy will be knocked down with stars above them. This means you can execute and gain a good amount of “Rage” from it. Then you have the counter when an enemy attacks you depending on the attack you can block and they will be slightly stunned from the block. You can use that time to perform a hard hitting two hit counter that does a lot of damage if you look at the gameplay footage of the second boss you will see it is required to beat them.
Once you build enough “Rage” you can go into an unstoppable form that allows you to mash all you want and you recover health while it is up. All of these things come to together to have a good run in single player mode. If you don’t take advantage of these it will be hard to progress in the later stages since it only gets harder. The patch should fix this issue when we get boss checkpoints but currently you will need to master how to deal with the gap from the mid-checkpoint to the stage boss. Saving a “Rage” and depending on the boss wolves can get you an easy kill on the boss not requiring a ton of work.
I am really enjoying playing the game. The cut scenes are on point, the game has just enough difficulty that I don’t want to put it down. I can’t wait for the patch so then I can have my nephew play with me since I know he will get a kick out of it. Yes, I think my 5 year old nephew will get a kick out of this game. Back in the day it didn’t matter how much violence was in a video game we just played it and we loved every minute spent on it.
Definitely pick up it! It is worth the money and with the patch on its way it will be a great game for anyone. Also, if you are a fan or want another reason to push you to get it. Go follow Fully Illustrated on Twitter, he is the biggest hype man for his own game. It is amazing watching him post multiple times a day about reviews and promoting what is going on and talking to the community.
I would give this game a 9 out of 10!
My first 40 minutes with the game: (This was after multiple times playing the first stage and second stage)
How was that review? I love being able to show some gameplay of me actually playing the game. Please subscribe if you want more gameplay! I am still sick so couldn’t start Tiny Barbarian so currently that is going to be on hold due to reviews needing to be finished first.