Wolfstride Review | Gamer on PC

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What is that? Work odd jobs by day to fund robot battles and maybe escape your dark past.

Expect to pay: $14.99

Release date: out now

Developer: Ota Imon

Editor: raw fury

Reviewed on: GTX 2070, 16GB RAM, i7-10875H

Multiplayer? No

Link: Official site

A dog, a gangster and a witch walk into a bar. This is where you would expect me to say “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before”, but I won’t because you haven’t. Ota Imon’s Wolfstride is unlike other games – a self-proclaimed grown-up RPG that wallows a little too often in immature humor just because it can. Although robot combat is lacking and Wolfstride never fully builds on its narrative promise, the carefully considered setting and unique cast make it a refreshing take on an often stagnant genre.

With its action-packed opener, you’d be forgiven for thinking Wolfstride was faster than it is. The curtain first goes up on one of those robot battles, where your adorable doofus Knife Leopard pilot (aka “Pineapples”, for some reason) goes up against a hardened type of criminal in a rigged robot fight. Elsewhere, the hero Dominic Shade tries to run away from two yakuza – a cat and a dog – who want him to convince Pineapples to throw the match. Shade refuses, and with a single squeal of the yakuza’s deadly dog ​​toy, Pineapples’ robot explodes.

(Image credit: Ota Imon Studios)

That’s as much action as you’ll see for a long time. Shade, Pineapples, and Duque, the team’s grumpy canine mechanic, settle into a routine of exploring Rain City, meeting new people, and desperately throwing themselves at any money-making opportunity. You have 63 in-game days to fix your broken robot, Cowboy, and prove yourself in the Ultimate Golden God tournament. But the way Wolfstride gradually unfolds its story means that much of that time feels wasted.

Some days there’s only one task, so you cruise the empty highways of Rain City to the junkyard, have a short chat, then return to the hangar and surrender. Shade eventually gets access to a few part-time jobs, which work like cash. -the methods of gain as much as the means of breaking the repetitive action. While the goal is to funnel that cash back into Cowboy for arena fighting, Wolfstride is a slice-of-life visual novel about a group of sleazy middle-aged heroes on their luck more than it is. an action-packed RPG.

Focusing on a cast of older and frankly unlikable characters was refreshing and made me far more interested in seeing how Shade’s story unfolded than the robot fights. Thing is, Wolfstride never knows what to do with itself and leans too heavily on the “immature” part of its “immature adult RPG” tagline. Every time I started to settle into the story, Wolfstride would throw something ridiculous and pointless at me – an entire character arc revolving around a robot called “Peepoo”, for example.

If you don’t giggle happily at a job called “Boy Who Delivers Special Messages,” abbreviated as BDSM, you’ll likely find yourself skipping a good chunk of Wolfstride’s dialogue.

(Image credit: Ota Imon Studios)

Despite their predilection for hateful jokes, I learned to care about the weird people of Rain City. The city itself plays an important role in this attachment: a jazzy, multicultural metropolis with a surprisingly distinct sense of place. An Abandoned Street looks a lot like another at the start of Wolfstride, but as you unlock more areas it gradually gives you a better look at Shade’s world and how he ended up where he was. is located.

The mechs and the city

Two massive junkyards, a mech hangar, and a hospital dominate the map for your first week or two, leaving no doubt that mecha combat is the lifeblood of Rain City, for better or worse. The downtown district is full of failed dreams and abandoned shops, so The Midnite Rider, your local watering hole, truly feels like a friendly oasis on the edge of life’s darkest landscapes. Its owner, Joy, will make you a drink and then you can relax. There’s even a quiet mountain view tucked behind a torii gate on the road to the hospital. It serves no purpose for the most part except as a reminder of what the area was like before crime and robot wars took hold.

Environmental storytelling helps flat, static characters look interesting. Few other actors exist for comparison, the closest being the misfit group from Yakuza: Like A Dragon, but the characters in Wolfstride seem even easier to relate to than Ichiban and his friends. You feel the struggle when Joy talks about the hardships of life and her need to bring money because you see it every time you travel anywhere in Rain City.

Pairing this nuanced approach with Wolfstride’s childish humor feels like wasted potential, and I would have liked to have seen Ota Imon devote his talent to crafting deeper characters and a more involved narrative.

(Image credit: Ota Imon Studios)

I also would have liked to see more robot fights themselves. Although not as detailed as Super Robot Wars or even the robot battles in Trails of Cold Steel, a solid combat system awaits once you finally get back into the cockpit. Wolfstride balances you between brute force and carefully planned defense in a continuous dance of give-and-take. You step forward on the movement grid to claim a power bonus, but come within range of your enemy’s long-range attack as a result. They knock you back, but now they’re close enough that you can retaliate with a strong close attack. And so on until one of you destroys the other’s chest.

The only downside is that you see most of what Wolfstride has to offer right from the start. A dearth of skill types and a small battlefield mean there’s little room for experimentation or strategy, which is a shame. Wolfstride’s combat is as fresh as its take on RPG throws, and I hope Ota Imon gets the chance to create a more expansive system in the future.

Despite all of its strong and visible flaws, Wolfstride still manages to captivate with its flawed heroes and confidence in its own story. Dividing the narrative’s focus between offbeat humor and an interesting story of regret and redemption wasn’t the best choice, but that scattered approach doesn’t stop it from being a memorable story.

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