After our interview with Fully Illustrated about Wulverblade for the Switch, we received a review code so that we could dive into this bloody side-scrolling beat ’em up and see just how brutal it is.
Set in Roman Britain at around 120 AD, Wulverblade follows three warriors attempting to drive out the Roman forces and their allies. While the story mainly follows Caradoc, the most balanced character, you can also choose to play as his brother Brennus (higher power and lower speed) or his sister Guinevere (higher speed and lower power). Two people can also play together in co-op mode. Whatever you choose, you’ll soon find yourself hacking through enemies in a bloodbath that includes performing brutal executions and throwing dismembered limbs.
But don’t be fooled into thinking this is an easy task. Early enemies might not pose much of a threat, but it isn’t long before you find yourself facing opponents with bows, shields, and other tricks to make your task more difficult. In fact, Wulverblade’s difficulty can be as brutal as its violence, particularly when each stage has only a lone checkpoint partway through. Bosses are especially deadly, and it can be a tedious task to work your way back to the boss battle from the checkpoint once you die.
(Note: checkpoints before boss battles are among the features the developers have considered implementing in a future update.)
You can’t afford to mess up too often in Wulverblade, and you’ll need to make the most of your melee attacks, thrown weapons, and special “rage” mode if you want to succeed. This difficulty accounts for much of Wulverblade’s length, as you’d be able to go through its stages much more quickly if they didn’t provide such a challenge. In addition to the campaign, there is also an Arena mode, which puts you up against waves of enemies. Overall, if you like the idea of a challenging beat ’em up, Wulverblade is worth a look.
However, there’s one other specific group Wulverblade is likely to appeal to: history buffs.
The amount of research that went into Wulverblade is immediately apparent. As you battle through each stage, you’ll collect notes on locations, weapons, historical facts, and more. There are tons of optional files to read through to learn more about the history, along with photographs and even videos of the locations that inspired the game. I may not be the biggest fan of brutal side-scrolling beat-em-ups, but I was delighted every time I found one of these extras.
Wulverblade is a bloody, challenging beat ’em up that provides a significant challenge and a wealth of historical material all wrapped up in the story of a group of warriors trying to beat back the Romans.