Hey gang, Valkor here. "Streets of Rage 2" will always rank as one of my favorite games of all-time; its 2D, beat ‘em up action is easy to get into and sports an amazing soundtrack that few can compare (except maybe you Double Dragon Neon). So, when this new 2D brawler, Wulverblade, crossed my desk; I’ll admit I went in with some hesitation. But in the end, the game was not only a lot of fun but it'll definitely rank as one of the coolest, most brutal, 2D brawlers I’ve played to date!
Wulverblade is a 2D, side-scroller that centers on a trio of British warriors: Caradoc, Brennus, and Guinevere, who must battle against the Roman Empire looking to take over their land. You kick things by first choosing your game mode, which can be standard, arcade, or beast mode; beast mode unlocks only after you beat the game in standard (I’m not sure about Arcade as I have not played that mode… yet). Afterwards, you pick between the three fighters, each with their own particular skill set. Or if you have a buddy alongside you, then they can dive in through local co-op. When you’re ready, either solo or with a partner, you then proceed to hack, slash, bash, slice and dice your way through 8 levels of play. For this review, I chose Caradoc since he’s the balanced one (Brennus is strength and Guinevere is speed). Each level is broken down into two areas, with a checkpoint in between where you’ll continue when you die. You’ll also continue at the boss stage; this is a good thing, as the bosses will proceed to beat the snot out of you without mercy!
Even though the road may be a harsh one, you’re not without some assist; first, you can pretty much toss whatever weapons the bad guys drop or certain items (such as boxes, barrels, and bricks) that you find lying on the ground – you can even toss body parts such as heads and arms. Next, if there are one too many enemies around you, you can pull off an area attack that’ll give you some breathing room. Third, you’re able to raise your rage, which when the meter is full, you become an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. Plus you gain some health during the process. Next, you can use the environment to your advantage; see a campfire? Knock a bad guy into! What about a spiked fence? Yep, throw a solid punch and get your enemy out of the game with the quickness. Finally, you get to call on a pack of wolves (at least in the case of Caradoc), to lend a biting jaw when things become too critical.
Wulverblade isn’t just the evisceration of baddies; throughout the game, you’re given bits of historical info that will spring up in the form of text or video, either within the game or on the main map. It’s cool so that you’ll learn more about the locale you’re defending and the history of the British battle against the Roman horde. I also noticed other dots in other areas of the map. So, does this mean there are more levels to come? I certainly hope so! And I’ll tell you why in the TOV Breakdown!
Wulverblade is anything and everything I’ve been waiting for in a 2D beat ‘em up! It has beautiful and fluid 2D cell shaded animation, rich and detailed backdrops, solid controls, great music, and all the blood I can spill in one game! While the game’s 8 levels might appear short, the bad guys are unforgiving; not to the point that it becomes controller throwing frustrating, but just enough that it’ll make this short run feel plenty lengthy. The bosses will definitely work you over. But, thankfully, they follow a pattern that’s easy to catch. And once you do, it’s on! I've got to give a shoutout to “Beast Mode”, which really adds to the fun, by allowing you to play the game all the way through as a Wulver (Wolf). I’ve already done this twice and I’m still not tired of it! As much as I love giving bad guys the beat down in Streets of Rage 2, I think I’ve found a new love in Wulverblade. And any fan of the 2D beat ‘em up genre will definitely find this title to be loads of intense fun and highly entertaining.
My only issue with Wulverblade is with the hit counts; after you become a wolf, you can actually air-juggle most bad guys beyond death. Sadly, what happens is the hit counts stop once the enemy is defeated, even though you’ve still got them in a juggle. So you might have thought you hit that dude with a 20 or 30 piece slice and dice, but then you look down and you see only 3 hits. Bummer.
The trail of blood from my fallen foes – feels good, bro!
Wulverblade is available now for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and STEAM. And it’s the most intense and entertaining 2D brawler you’ll experience. That is until maybe that new God of War drops. But either way, I highly recommend checking this one out. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Wulverblade a 4.5.