Monday 2 May 2022

Big Bang Pro Wrestling Review (Switch)

The Neo Geo Pocket Colour is really finding a second life through the Nintendo Switch and long may it continue. Scouring lists of essential games though will rarely bring up this lesser-known wrestling game and initially it did seem a rather odd choice to us. First impressions weren’t particularly good either but then it all sort of fell into place and now it’s clear this is one of those hidden gems you hear about so often.

What many may overlook is actually how the game works (handily a scan of the original manual is included). There are two main types of wrestling games when it comes to lock ups. Ones where you hammer buttons and ones such as Firepro which are more focused on timing of button presses and building of moves. This is most certainly in the second camp and once players get used to it there’s a fun game here even though you only have two buttons to pull off moves.

Those two buttons are used to their fullest though with each wrestler having four grapple moves along with a host of strikes and rope based attacks. Each wrestler also has a special move which they can pull of at any time once their name is glowing by pressing both buttons together. The lack of moves is also shielded by the fact that matches are often fairly short so repetition never has a chance to set in.

There’s no shortage of match types either with a career mode that features coffin matches and things hanging on a pole matches (which we’ve still not fully worked out), along with the more standard fair. You can also find weapons around the outside of the ring and even bump the ref. it’s very impressive from the little Neo Geo Pocket and this must be one of the most ambitious games on the system.

The most telling thing about the game is simply how many hours we have put into it without realising. It certainly has the same power as all the best wrestling games where you simply lose track of time and find yourself staying for one more match.

Overall, Big Bang Pro Wrestling has proved to be a really nice surprise. We had never even heard of it but it’s now up there with SNK vs Capcom: Card Fighters Clash as our most played NGP game. It plays well, it’s inventive, the graphics and sound are satisfying, and it uses the control scheme the best you can possibly expect for the system. Well done to whomever picked it out to be given a second chance on Switch- it’s a resounding success.

Overall 7/10

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