The Side scrolling Beat ’em up genre has a long history going back to classic games that I played as a kid such as Streets of Rage to more modern day hits such as Castle Crashers. These types of games are always fun to sit down and play for some mindless fun either alone or with a friend so I’m always on the lookout for new entries in the genre. Wulverblade is a new side scrolling beat ’em up that is a little unique in that it incorporates some actual history into its story.
You’ll start with the Story mode in Wulverblade where you’ll pick between three different characters and set out to defeat the Roman invasion. The three characters; Caradoc, Brennus, and Guinevere each have similar move sets but they do differ from each other in some ways. Brennus is a slow moving tank like character who can dish out lots of damage while Caradoc is more for those who like a nice balance. Guinevere is the fastest of the three but does less damage as a trade off. As I said this is your usual 2D beat ’em up game so you’ll be doing a lot of the usual mash the attack button when enemies come near. As you fight you’ll fill a Berserk meter that when full and activated gives you increase health and speed for a limited time. A special ability even lets you call in a pack of wolves to set loose upon those unlucky enemies.
For defense you can block enemy attacks as well as use the the dodge button to quickly evade or close the distance on enemies to attack quicker. Blocking at just the right time will allow you to parry that attack and attack the enemy while they are left upon for that short time. Just be warned that not every attack in the game is able to be blocked so don’t count on it as a sure thing. Now while I enjoyed the combat in Wulverblade it do have some issues with it. The overall gameplay doesn’t feel as good as it should as the characters just move too slow for my liking. Trying to attack wave after wave of enemies only to move at a slug’s pace or to have environmental objects get in the way just made my enjoyment of the game start to fade. Dropped weapons and enemy body parts also end up scattered about the play area and while they can be useful they also irritated me. Sometimes when trying to attack enemies my character would end up constantly picking up items instead due to both buttons being the same thing.
Getting to the end of the stage can present you with a Boss fight which dials up to fight off regular enemies and dish out repeated damage to said boss while avoiding a couple special attacks. One thing I did really like about Wulverblade though is how it actually has a lot of historical information in it. The developers clearly did their research while making this game and it provides a lot of great learning material such as videos and artwork.
Once you finish the Story mode of Wulverblade you can jump into the arcade mode which is basically the same thing but with limited lives. Arena mode is another option which as you can probably guess is a horde/wave mode where you try to rack up as high a score as possible for better positioning on the online leaderboards. Finally if you have a local friend you can team up for some brutal fun together. The game also has a rather large trophy list on PlayStation 4 so you have that for replay-ability as well.
The last thing I want to touch on is just how good the game looks and sounds. I really love the beautiful 2D art style the developer used for this as everything looks great whether it’s the characters, the locations or all the blood going everywhere. The voice acting is pretty high caliber as well which was a nice surprise as you don’t see that a lot in indie games.
Despite some issues Wulverblade ended up being a rather enjoyable beat ’em up wrapped in a great historical package. The story kept me going to completion and the additional modes kept me going a little bit longer after that. Some things can be improved upon such as speeding up the gameplay and maybe making the battlefields a little less cluttered. If you’re in the market for a new beat ’em up however you can do far worse than Wulverblade.
*Wulverblade is available on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review code provided by the publisher.