Wrestling Empire is the best wrestling game on the Switch.
This is less of an achievement than it sounds like. After all, it?s not like there?s a whole lot of competition for the title. WWE 2K18 is infamous for being one of the worst games of all time, and even if last year?s WWE 2K Battlegrounds was a step up, it still had its share of issues. So even if Wrestling Empire is the best wrestling game on the Switch, that?s a title it gets simply by a) not being a broken, buggy mess, and b) not being filled with microtransactions.
That said, it?s a good game — though, again, that comes with certain caveats. In order to fully enjoy Wrestling Empire, you need to be willing to overlook some flaws. This isn?t a great-looking game — even accounting for the fact it?s a homage to the era of 64-bit games, it?s still pretty ugly. On top of that, the controls can occasionally be a little wonky, and the same goes for the overall performance, as evidenced by the time my character ran into the ring, accidentally walked into a desk (because the camera controls are also pretty bad), and immediately got trapped in a long loop of falling down, standing up inside the desk, and falling down again.
Still, even with those issues, it?s hard not to love Wrestling Empire. A big part of that is that you can tell this is a game made by someone who genuinely loves pro wrestling, and who?s been obsessed with it for the past thirty-plus years. I mean, we?re talking about a game that has stand-ins for not just icons like Brock Lesnar, CM Punk, and The Rock, but characters that reference the likes of Skinner, Ahmed Johnson, and Bastion Booger. There are references to things like the Crockett Cup and Maple Leaf Wrestling. I?m not usually someone who gives a lot of weight to nostalgia, but I?d be lying if this game didn?t give me fond memories of watching wrestling back in the early ?90s with my little brother — to say nothing of playing WWE No Mercy a little later that decade.
That said, Wrestling Empire has a lot more to offer than just nostalgia. It also offers so many customization options that it borders on insanity. There?s a massive roster with hundreds of characters, there are all kinds of competing wrestling promotions to choose from, you can edit characters to your heart?s content, and there?s an insanely deep career mode that allows you to put all of those features to good use. Even if you just want to drop in for a single match, you can do that, with a fully customizable match type.
Basically, Wrestling Empire is the wrestling game that wrestling fans have been wanting for decades.
To be sure, it?s not perfect, and to enjoy Wrestling Empire you need to be willing to overlook a lot. Provided you can do that, however, you?ll find that you?ve got one of the most enjoyable wrestling games in years at your fingertips.
MDickie provided us with a Wrestling Empire Switch code for review purposes.