Wulverblade sets you up as a tribal village going against the all-mighty Roman Empire. While it is not the most historically accurate description of those times, Wulverblade uses its story to set up this dark atmosphere that slowly makes you feel like you’re on a huge battlefield. Unfortunately, not much is added to this story as you go on. You’ll meet characters who give you a little more insight to the situation, but that seems to be about it.
Even though Wulverblade‘s story wasn’t fantastic, this brutal side scrolling beat-em-up checks all the boxes for what I believe makes a great game.
Wulverblade allows you to pick between three characters, all of which not only look different but have different weapons and stats. This gives the game a little bit of replay-ability, because you can go back and play through the game again with an entirely different character that may have less health for more power or vice-versa. I love it when beat-em-ups have creative ways to promote variety beyond aesthetic differences and this was a very nice way of doing so.
The handful of beat-em-ups I’ve played were always cartoony and the fighting style drew from different styles of martial arts. This is something that Wulverblade does very differently.
Alongside beautifully hand-drawn visuals that have a dark and cartoony look, Wulverblade goes for a very gory attempt at the genre — it’s more of a slice-em-up than a beat-em-up. The term “gory” can sometimes be misused, but I couldn’t mean it more with this title. Parts of your enemy’s body can be dismembered, picked up, and thrown at other enemies. This gets even more disgusting at later stages in the game where character models start resembling elderly women — and for me, chopping their heads of felt simply cruel!
However, this type of gore made me feel more attached to my character and its mission in this horrific war.
The one and only gripe I had with this title was its controls. You see, for a beat-em-up title, I was expecting fluid controls with easily accessible combos. Due to the joycon’s small size, I felt like my hands got cramped very easily, and my hands are not very large. This was quickly solved when I paired my Pro Controller to play the game, making for a much more comfortable experience that allowed me to effectively use skills and combos.
If you already have a Pro Controller, this won’t be a big deal; if you don’t, you will have to either get one or get used to the joycon’s cramped controls for this title.
The last thing I should point out in this review are the awesome skills that the developers allow you to use. Not only can you use rage, which builds up as you kill enemies, but you can also use an electric blade that deals huge amounts damage to enemies even at later stages. I found it very cool that throughout the game I kept unlocking skills that made my adventure not nearly as repetitive as some beat-em-ups are.
My favorite skill was the ability to summon wolves once per wave. The wolves were not only a signature feature of the tribe you play as, but were also very helpful in clearing waves of enemies. Overall, even when the game got difficult — and it gets pretty hard — these skills made it just a tad bit more manageable, and, most importantly, a blast.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A download code for Wulverblade was provided to the reviewer from a contest.