What do Ryse and For Honor have in common with an indie game like Wulverblade? I will let you ask yourself that for 3, 2 and 1 … a realistic representation of the war fighting from the past. This side-scrolling brawler from Darkwind Media is one hell of a passionate project, question is… will gamers be able to enjoy this game? Pick up your axe, grow a beard and let us fight our way through this review.
- Fantastic and well animated visuals that isn’t shy for some brutal gory scenes. Decapitated heads, throwing arms towards vikings.. yeah, sounds awesome right? It is! All that in an outstanding art style that gives Wulverblade something special. A little bit more variation would have been welcome but the character design is marvelous, the same remarkable thing can be said about the environments.
- The game isn’t like feeding ducks, there is some kind of challenge that makes the repetitive nature of the game fun. Dodging arrows or knife attacks, having a good placement on the 2D map, using your special attacks at the right time, surviving wave after wave of roman soldiers or vikings. Learning your parry-move is important, it literally means the difference between enjoying the game or dying a hundred times. Boss fights especially are a serious increase in difficulty, doing high damage and difficult to avoid attacks. Don’t worry though, checkpoints are plenty!
- Story mode with eight levels, three slightly different playable characters (my favorite is Guinevere), an arcade mode with only three lives and my favorite thing to play in Wulverblade, the arena mode. The game had enough content to warrant the €15 asking price, heck I expected a higher price for the visual wonder and voiced characters. There is also a “Coming Soon” tab next to story, so I’m curious what this will be!
- Packaging everything together is a decent story with lots of history lessons. The game has a lot of folklore and written story parts that you collect in the game. While not everyone, or even most of the players will actually read all that stuff, I highly recommend checking it out because you really notice the attention to detail and love from the developers. Sadly enough this is something that will go underappreciated but the dedication and research to be accurate is really, really remarkable.
- Voice actors and a great selection of atmospheric music makes Wulverblade not only a visual but audio treat too. The bombastic music totally fits the game and the fully voiced characters are a rare sight with indie-games.
- Nothing wrong with the old school beat-em-up action but Wulverblade doesn’t really bring much new to the table. Eating the same steak all the time is nice but sometimes I want a different sauce. And that’s what I missed while playing this game. Don’t get me wrong though, I had some really fun hours on Wulverblade. It was just more of the same, each and every time.
- Controls are barely manageable, being restricted to only run at one lane and not having full area control causes some frustration in trying to avoid ranged attacks. Some moves are also unexplained, making combat harder than it should be. Oh and the jumping … I’m sure I can swing a giant hammer in real life easier than using the jumping ability in this game in a practical way.
- One design flaw that let to a few less pleasant moments is actually something that the developer can easily fix. The X-button is used for your normal attacks and picking up items on the ground. As you can likely imagine this results in some issues. When a horde of enemies come and you are attacking with the X-button it happened quite a lot that my character decided to pick up a dismembered limb or an axe, resulting in getting hit and losing my combo-streak. Weird that this wasn’t detected as a potential issue before release, I hope the dev can do something about it soon.
[Wulverblade] Score: 8.7/10 Wulverblade is a product born from lots of love, research and dedication from the developer. This typical 2D Beat em up game is one of the best in the genre that I can recommend on Xbox One. It looks great, hears great, the story is great and gameplay is fun too. A shame about some control issues, otherwise it is a near perfect game.
Dev: Darkwind Media Played on: Xbox One X | LifeisXbox received a digital Preview code, provided by Darkwind Media.