Wulverblade Review–A Beat ‘Em Up with a History Lesson

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Posted February 1, 2018 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Fully Illustrated

Publisher: Darkwind Media

Release dates: October 12, 2017 (Nintendo Switch), January 30, 2018 (PC, PS4), January 31, 2018 (Xbox One)

Available on: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)

Side scrolling beat-’em-ups are nothing new to gamers, so it’s a good thing when a game does something at least a little different to set itself apart from the rest. Developer Fully Illustrated and publisher Darkwind Media have done that with their new title, Wulverblade. The game tells the story of Caradoc and his leading the Northern Tribes against the 9th Roman Legion during the Roman occupation of Britannia in 120 AD. Adding the element of a story based on historical events and folklore gives the game a bit of a different flavor. Including extras that present facts and photos of historical sites (videogames make learning fun!) is a nice touch, and the factoids make for some interesting reading, if history is your thing.

Gameplay, however, is pretty standard. You have your quick and strong attacks, a block button, and a jump button. Combining the quick attack and jump buttons gives you a strong area attack, one that you’ll be spamming often. A prompt for a shoulder button gives you limited invincibility, and you can also call wolves in once during a stage to aid against enemies. The game can be played solo or co-op, and takes place on a 2.5D plane. The colorful, cartoony graphics may seem a little out of place for a story based on historical and folklore events, but it works, making it accessible for younger audiences.

The game has two modes, Campaign and Arena. The Campaign has three ways to play–your Standard way, with checkpoints and saves, Arcade, which gives you three lives and three continues, and Beast Mode, which is unlocked after beating the campaign on either of the other two and allows you to play as a werewolf for the entire game.

While the campaign is somewhat enjoyable, taking anywhere from 4-6 hours, depending on your skill level, it gets repetitive quickly. As noted above, you’ll be spamming one attack for a majority your playtime. The 2.5D plane can make things a little awkward at times too, making hit boxes inconsistent. Silhouette battles can easily become confusing, and getting attacked from off-screen is downright annoying and cheap. It also feels limiting in that you’re stuck in one spot until a wave that attacks from both sides is complete.

The Arena mode is simply a Horde mode in seven different environments. It’s okay if you just want to beat on enemies to see how far you get, but that’s it. Getting a higher score or getting in the top 10 on the leaderboards is the only incentive to return to the mode. The campaign has eight stages, but unless you’re a completist and want to unlock all extras, once through is enough to satisfy most players.

With its $14.99 asking price, you can get your money’s worth, but many might be better off waiting for a sale.

And that’s all there really is to Wulverblade. Combat isn’t deep, you collect money but have nothing to spend it on, and topping a previous run’s score is really the only incentive to go back and play again. The repetitive gameplay does hold it back from being anything that’s a must play, and cheap deaths can get frustrating. For those who enjoy the genre, this may appeal more to them than just casual fans of the occasional brawler. The history lesson sets it apart, but the gameplay makes it just another run of the mill beat ’em up. For some, that will be enough. And you may even learn a thing or two while having fun.



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7

Final Score

7.0 /10

Pros

  • Colorful, cartoony art style
  • Good story
  • Decent voice acting
  • Good extras

Cons

  • Repetitive button masher
  • Cheap deaths from offscreen



About the Author

Thomas James Juretus