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In-Depth Review

TNA Wrestling

TNA Wrestling is a game for the iPhone and iPod touch based on the world of TNA (Total Nonstop Action) Wrestling. I have to admit I didn't know anything about TNA before this game came along, but I thought a game based on pro wrestling sounded like fun and I was right. (Learn more about TNA here: http://www.tnawrestling.com.)

TNA Wrestling is a sprawling game that follows your wrestling career from rank amateur to TNA World Champ. Along the way you'll meet, compete, and team up with TNA superstars including Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Sting, LAX, and more.

But it's not just a wrestling simulation, it's also a role-playing game with an extensive story line that you influence by choosing your character's dialog. In the following images my character, Doc, is responding to comments made by other wrestlers Jarrett and Daniels. His choices are to accentuate the positive by proclaiming he's the best or go negative by making fun of Jarrett and Daniels as shown in Figure 1.


TNA Figure 1

Figure 1

Notice that the positive response (top) features a calm blue face icon in the lower right part of the screen while the negative reply (bottom) has an angry red face.The story progresses based on your decisions in dialog scenes such as this one.

Then there's the actual wrestling action, which is based more on strategy than finger speed, though there are elements of both.

Figure 2 depicts a typical one-on-one match:

TNA Figure 2

Figure 2

At the top of the screen are Stamina Meters (red/yellow/green bar at the very top), Battle Points Meter (yellow dots just below the Stamina Meters), and Crowd Meters for each fighter. My character, Doc, is the one on the right. I'm on the offense here and have a full eight battle points to use before my turn ends. At the bottom of the screen, the larger icons represent current moves -- Punch, Kick, Ropes, and Lock (left to right) -- and the set of smaller icons below them represent one of the possible combination moves I can use (Face Rake) and the number of Battle Points it will require (7 yellow dots). To use the Face Rake move I'd have to successfully complete the sequence of moves represented by the icons below the combination's name -- kick, punch, punch, kick, lock, etc.

If I do, I have to complete a series of finger gestures before the time runs out as shown in Figure 3:

TNA Figure 3
Figure 3

In this case I need to swipe down (top), then swipe a backwards "C" (bottom) before time runs out. The circle in the middle near the top of the screen represents the clock; when it runs out, my time is up. If I've completed the gestures successfully I make the combination move; if I fail, only the last regular move in the string occurs though I still lose all 7 Battle Points!

There are also some other moves that only appear occasionally including the always enjoyable "throw the bum out of the ring" and the excruciating "smash a folding chair in his face."

When you're on defense you have a choice of four defensive moves -- Avoid, Counter, Reverse, or None. To successfully execute a defensive move you have to complete a sequence of finger gestures similar to the ones shown in Figure 3. But be judicious -- you can only use each defensive move once per match unless you refill them by using some of your Battle Points to pump up the crowd at the beginning of an offensive turn.

Win matches and your character grows stronger with increased stamina and battle points per turn. Wins also provide you with Signature Moves -- über-combination moves you can use at any time.

When a wrestler's Stamina Meter is in the red zone, his opponent can try to pin him and win the match as shown in Figure 4.

TNA Figure 4
Figure 4

To pin him and end the match I have to tap the big red button while the moving cursor is in the green target zone before the clock runs out. But I only get one try -- if I fail my opponent gets another chance and the match continues.

I've played for several hours and while I haven't finished the game yet I expect several more hours before completing my first career. And I have to say that while I usually don't complete games like this, I'm having enough fun that I think I will probably finish it soon.

In addition to the full-blown career path there's also a free-play mode that allows you to practice any or all of the match types -- one-on-one, tag team, iron man, and gauntlet -- without affecting your career.

My only complaint is that the game can drag a bit at times. Some of the dialog and wrestling matches seem to go on a little longer than necessary. A bit of judicious editing would improve the pace immensely. But other than that it's a lot of fun and I'll still be playing it long after this review is finished, which isn't usually the case.

The Bottom Line

TNA Wrestling combines role-playing and finger-twitching action to create a genre-crossing game that's more fun than I expected. The dialog is, at times, hysterical, and the wrestling action remains fun even after hours of play.

Just The Facts

TNA Wrestling from Longtail Studios

MSRP US$4.99

Pros:

Combines role playing and finger-twitching genres, mostly entertaining dialog, a lot of content means more than an hour or two of play.

Cons:

Dialog and matches can drag a little.

1 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

rpaege said:

T & A Wrestling?  Mixed tag-team?

   Quote

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