There is something about a good ole side scrolling, arcade style brawler game that just brings a smile to our faces. Being able to take on hordes of various enemy groups, learning each of their particular movements, patterns and tells, then having it all peak with a boss battle is just refreshing. Add some history to the mix with a sprinkle a little surprise plot twist and what you have there would be a very enjoyable game made even better with a co-op buddy at your side.
We headed back in history to fight for our freedom against those Romans in Fully Illustrated’s, along with Darkwind Media, Wulverblade.
In Wulverblade, the story centers around a family of the northern tribe of Caledonii during the time of the invasion of the Roman Empire into Britanna. You are Caradoc, the guardian of your family and your village. As the Roman army makes its way north, capturing and conquering each territory with the brutal force that only Roman army is known for, you, Caradoc, prepare to stand and fight head on the 5000 troop 9th Legion. You know that the only common ground with the Romans would be total surrender and so, you are driven to destroy the Roman at all cost to ensure that your tribes remain free, and you are willing to lay your life down to ensure this.
But know that the tribe of Caledonii is no ordinary tribe. They are fierce warriors so much so that even the wolves fight along side them.
Wulverblade is an easy to pick up game. The action is none stop and brutal! Don’t not let its simple looks, compared to many next gen games of today, fool you. You will get a good bit of challenge at the normal setting.
Gameplay is broken up over eight levels in the main Campaign with an Arena mode having seven locations. The Arena mode has you battling waves of enemies. In Campaign, you have a choice of the standard campaign, which has checkpoints and saves, or you can try the “old school way”, you know 3 lives, 3 continues, that’s it!
Wulverblade can be played solo or co-op. You chose to play as one of three members of the Caradoc’s family: Caradoc, Brennus or Guinevere. Each of the characters have their own attributes, strengths and weaknesses, over three stats, Power, Agility & Speed, and Defense. For instance, Caradoc is the very well rounded character, Brennus is more of a tank, and Guinevere is the high agility character.
The levels cover a varying number of areas. Areas consisting of forests, caves, a very cool torch lit woodland where what you see is the silhouette of your character, roman forts and more. What’s just amazing is that the locations of the levels are based on actual real locations and for the most part are a part of British history and lore. As you play through the stages, you are able to find secrets and hidden items which after the level you are able to watch a video detailing the real locations. It was very educational and refreshing to connect with the real locations; it almost adds a sense of duty as you play a part of real history.
Wulverblade features a very easy basic control scheme. You have a basic attack, a strong attack, jump, block , dash, wolf call, and rage. All these can be remapped if you care to. Also, you have a power attack which is default mapped to you attack + jump. This can be also changed.
The gameplay again is just loads of fun! Chaining the combos are easy and the more the chain the combos, the faster your meter goes up so you can activate your Rage. When Rage is triggered, you become invincible to attacks and your enemies slow down as you go berserk on them. It is so much fun to Rage out!
Another pretty sweet ability is when you call in your wolves. Yes you can call in wolves to help you! They will essentially clear the screen of lower level enemies while doing a good deal of damage to the boss. The catch is, you can only call in the wolfs once per stage. Choose wisely when you are going to call in your wolves.
Wulverblade art style is beautiful. They utilized a 2D style to the characters that really works. Everything is presented in an awesome HD artwork cell animated look. The 2D environment is far from flat. There are times when there are multiple layers being used. Sometimes, as you play, there are things happening in the background as well as the foreground. One of the boss fights starts with the boss in the background firing arrows across the main ground and pass the foreground. It was well done.
Each character design has their feel and look. Know this, Wulverblade is bloody, action packed and, again, quite brutal! The cut-scenes are intense and the story is gripping, exciting and dramatic.
When it comes to sound, the voice acting in Wulverblade is spot on! The cut scenes with the narrator to the dialogue between the characters was just entertaining and held your attention the entire way. When you play Wulverblade, you feel and hear the tension as Caradoc and his family fight to protect their tribe and others from the Romans.
The sounds of the surroundings does a great job and chaotic screams of death as the Roman soldiers are cut limb from limb just add to the Wulverblade’s visceral presentation.
Know this, if you grew up with those side scrolling arcade beat-em ups, then you are going to be right at home. Wulverblade is fun, easy to pick up, and its story is interesting enough to hold you till the end.
Trust us, you are going to want to play through till the end.
After you finish the main game, there are enough collectibles and unlockables to have you coming back for a replay, much of it has to do with all the history and lore of ancient Britain.
Along with the unlockables and collectibles, the various modes and leaderboard are sure to keep you coming back.
A definite downside is the lack of an online co-op mode. But the choice of just having it be two player co-op versus three, in our opinion, was a good call. Anymore than two might have been just to crowded on the screen.
Wulverblade launches today on the PlayStation 4 and on PC/Steam. While the Xbox One version will launch on Wednesday, January 31st. The game will retail for $14.99. Note that Wulverblade is also available for the Nintendo Switch for $19.99.
Head over to any one of the locations below for purchase: