The Nintendo Switch has a diverse library of games with something for pretty much everyone. There is one corner of the market though where there is a real lack of choice for Nintendo’s hybrid console: wrestling games. Well, SNK has continued with their NeoGeo Pocket Colour ports and has given us Big Bang Pro Wrestling.
First released in 2000, Big Bang Pro Wrestling is a callback to the sprite era of gaming. First booting up BGPW, you are instantly transported back to the early 90s with the simple yet charming graphics, but charm alone won’t make this port a viable option in 2022 for wrestling fans.
So, let’s dive right in like Jeff Hardy whenever he climbs a ladder. Is Big Bang Pro Wrestling the holy grail of wrestling games Switch owners have been waiting for? No, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun game to play. Even though it is 22 years old, BGPW does feature a surprising amount of content for wrasslin’ fans. There are eight characters to choose from who take their inspiration mostly from real-life wrestlers. We have Mike Martin, whose methodic and grapple-based offence is reminiscent of Kurt Angle, and Alex Fall, a cocky, powerful wrestler who will remind you of The Rock.
The gameplay, as you can imagine, is simple but will take some time to master. The A button deals with the attacks during a match. You’ll dish out striking and grappling attacks here, which are determined by the direction button you press alongside A. B will deal with the other actions you’ll need during a match, such as climbing the turnbuckle, getting in and out of the ring. When your wrestler’s name is flashing, it’s time to hit that finisher move, which is achieved by pressing both buttons together, with each wrestler having their own unique finishers. Timing is the key to success in matches, and this is what makes Big Bang Pro Wrestling tough due to the sprite-inspired graphics. More times than not, it is luck that will give you the edge in a match, and we found that even at the lowest difficulty setting, matches were difficult. Gamers who love a challenge will eat this up, but those who just want a nice and simple arcade wrestling experience may be put off.
There are four modes to tackle if you can come to grips with the timing/luck gameplay. One Match and Tournament modes are the jumps straight into the action exhibition, with players given the choice of changing rules before starting. Coffin matches are inspired by the Casket Matches in WWE, where you will need to beat your opponent so badly that you can throw them into a coffin. Reward mode is the Big Bang Pro Wrestling version of a Money in the Bank match. The main event in BGPW is the IEW Championship. Here you will choose one of the wrestlers from the roster and go against the others, finally coming to meet IEW World Champion Josef Steele. If you are successful in winning the title from this Shawn Michaels-inspired champion, he is unlocked to use in the rest of the game.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 30th March 2022
Gaming Respawn’s copy of Big Bang Pro Wrestling was provided by the publisher.