Have You Played… Wrestling MPire Remix

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Wrestling MPire Remix [official site], creator Mat Dickie claims, is “the PC’s biggest and best wrestling simulator”. I think he’s probably right.

Dickie makes mobile games these days. There’s a superhero sim, a school sim, wrestling sims, an MMA game, and more besides. Even though the settings are varied, they all play similarly. At school or in prison, you suplex people who piss you off, and almost every item in the world can be picked up, lobbed, set on fire and used as a weapon.

Wrestling MPire Remix is a re-release of a 2008 game. It’s free to download and it has a great deal in common with Dickie’s later work – it’s chaotic, messy, unrestrained and feels like playing with a bunch of action figures. Whether he’s making a Jesus simulator or a pop music management game, Dickie takes the same approach: throw everything at the wall and hope at least some of it sticks. It’s a style of design that suits professional wrestling, which often seems to operate on similar principles. How else to explain The Shockmaster or Isaac Yankem?

The weird chaos of Wrestling MPire sometimes creates situations that feel more like wrestling than any big budget licensed sim ever could. It can be incoherent and the AI often struggles to cope with the basics, but look up a random episode of Monday Night RAW from years gone by and you’re likely to see some of the same incoherence and in-ring struggles. The loose and playful design allows Wrestling MPire to capture the strange appeal of professional wrestling, for better and for worse, and Dickie’s move to mobile deprives PC folks of a vital competitor in the world of virtual grappling: the independent travelling carnival to sit alongside 2K’s corporate empire.

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10 Comments

  1. noodlecake says:

    Yeah. It’s surprisingly fun. :)

    It’s a shame that the newer games are mobile exclusive because it’s pretty hard to use the on screen controller on touch devices compared to using a controller. There are a lot of neat new features in the newer mobile versions of these games.

    I still prefer playing 2k17. It’s a much better game, but the absurdity MDickie games are a refreshing alternative to 2k17’s more serious simulation approach.

    I was particularly sad when they removed the physics based procedural animations when you executed moves onto weapons. I can see what their argument would be. Because they were physics based you had the wrestlers looking like they had actually being powerbombed onto stairs in a way that would genuinely cripple somebody for life, rather than being motion captured to look like a safe wrestling bump, so it was less representative of WWE television… But now it looks weirder because they sell the moves as if they’ve been done onto a flat canvas regardless of whether they are or not. Plus having procedural elements to the animations of moves meant that you could do a suplex onto some stairs and it would look different every single time, much like real moves do in real life.

    You could then record your particularly awesome looking physics based bumps in the highlight reel mode and put together fun compilations. There’s not really much point without the physics.

    • noodlecake says:

      Actually, looking at some videos I don’t know that they were physics based. There was just better collisions with objects when you did moves on them, and the move animation would switch for a collision one depending on what body part hit the object. Now the move animation just continues regardless and the wrestlers and weapons will often just awkwardly slide away from each other, which is definitely worse. Bad 2K games.

  2. Premium User Badge

    toastmodernist says:

    Feel the need to shout out for total extreme wrestling whenever wrestling games get a mention.

    Insanely in depth simulator, like the football manager of wrestling management.

  3. Lodin says:

    It’s worth mentioning that the remix edition is actually a mod made by a goon called simosimo. As usual Dickie is being a dick and makes no mention of this on his page. Simo doesn’t really care and the reason he made the mod was to do a LP on SA.
    link to forums.somethingawful.com

  4. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    The Ouya release of MDickie’s earlier wrestling game, Wrestling Revolution, was the genesis of supergreatfriend’s magnum opus, The Life and Times of Bully Demise

  5. airknots says:

    Ahhh MDickie, the creator of the best religion based game, “The You Testament”.

  6. CartonofMilk says:

    i played this in…was gonna say 2008 but im pretty sure it was more 2006. might have been an earlier wrestling game he did then. I was dying for a wrestling game on pc at the time. It would take until this year before i’d get one (wwe 2k16). Also played his rock star game. Same year. I don’t know why no one has done a proper music industry sim yet. Everyone wants to be a rockstar.

    I’m genuine surprised to see this mentioned here, his games always seemed to be so niche and he was making indie games before they were a thing. I’d have thought nobody played this.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Borderer says:

      The only music industry sims I can think of were “Rockstar Ate My Hamster” and “The Biz” (which was written by Frank Sidebottom) on the Spectrum

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