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Journey of Wrestling Review

Journey of Wrestling Review

Have you ever sat watching wrestling, thinking to yourself, “Man, that Triple H is a terrible booker, I could do his job!” after yet another questionable match outcome? Perhaps you find yourself jumping on social media to rip Tony Khan a new one because your favourite wrestler is being woefully underused? Whatever the case, Journey of Wrestling intends to placate armchair bookers by giving them complete control of their very own wrestling promotion. Do you have the skills to create something as memorable as Daniel Bryan overcoming the odds at WrestleMania 30?

After originally starting out as a simple browser game a few years ago, Journey of Wrestling has seen numerous updates and has now made its own journey onto Steam. As GameGrin’s resident wrestling fanboy, I was rather excited to step into the shoes of a wrestling promoter and build the best grappling company on the planet! But, has developer Clean Bean Studios created a five-star classic, or should Journey of Wrestling be wished well in its future endeavours?

Upon starting the game, you’re given the option of going through the tutorial, starting the game's built-in scenario, or exploring the wealth of content created by the community. The tutorial isn’t overly long and is (unsurprisingly) a great starting point, and you’re free to carry on playing the scenario after the hint pop-ups have finished guiding you. The real meat of the game is in the created content, however, and oh boy is there a lot of content here. From modern-day scenarios that include promotions from WWE to Dragon Gate, to revisiting history and creating an alternate version of events. It’s fantastic to see such a variety of user-generated scenarios, and although it’s a shame the “official” scenarios in Journey of Wrestling are so few, at least the constant influx of content from the community will keep the game engaging for a long time.

It’s worth noting that you can favourite specific scenarios, wrestlers, and in-ring segments, although I couldn’t find an easy way to find my favourited content when adding them in-game. Instead, you’ll have the option to search by name when booking matches or promo segments. There’s also the option to start your own scenario completely from scratch, but I found this to be slightly cumbersome. For example, in my attempts to create my own fantasy show to rival modern-day promotions, it became a bit of a slog having to rename and customise each wrestler, as the community-generated ones are only for the sprites.

Presentation wise, this is a lot like other management-based simulators such as the Football Manager or Total Extreme Wrestling series’, just a little more basic-looking. The pixel art style for the wrestlers works well, and though they’re just static images, it does give each one a bit of personality. This is especially true when focusing on real-world stars created by the Journey of Wrestling community, and stars like AJ Styles and Kenny Omega are instantly recognisable thanks to some pixel-perfect creations. Unfortunately, the menus are a little bland and the admittedly calming menu music did begin to grate on me after a while.

After abandoning my own company and jumping into a pre-made scenario, Journey of Wrestling quickly became an addicting loop of going from week to week trying to put on the best shows possible. Within just a few months, my promotion had been a whirlwind of deathmatches, wrestlers’ cars being destroyed, injuries, and fierce rivalries for championships. On one save file, I tried to keep things as realistic as possible, matching the current televised products out there, whereas the other was a little bit wilder. Shinsuke Nakamura forced Bryan Danielson to retire, before going after the IWGP title at WrestleKingdom. My NJPW roster was a force to be reckoned with, and with Jon Moxley as the head of the table (sorry Roman, WWE wouldn’t trade you), the stage was set for a grand showdown!

Journey of Wrestling’s simplicity is perhaps its greatest asset, as it makes it much more user-friendly to play. Yes, it’s a deep system with a lot of variety, but I never felt myself trawling through menus to find where or how to book a specific type of match, how to check in on my injured wrestlers, or even how to eye up any free agents that I wanted to thrust into the main event scene. Although, I would recommend going through the tutorial to get a feel for the mechanics!

Definitely one for hardcore wrestling fans, Journey of Wrestling is a game more people should be talking about. Games focused solely on management can get overly complex, but this one manages to balance that with its manageable gameplay. Though, I feel some aspects could be improved, mainly the manual setting up of custom wrestlers when not playing user scenarios. But for the most part, this will easily please any fans who want to dive into every aspect of the day-to-day management of a wrestling company.

8.00/10 8

Journey of Wrestling (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Journey of Wrestling nails the management sim without getting too bogged down in cumbersome menus and convoluted busywork. Fantasy bookers rejoice, your time has come!

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

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