Need to know
What is it? Work menial jobs by day to fund robot fights and maybe escape your dark past.
Expect to pay: $14.99
Release date: Out now
Developer: Ota Imon
Publisher: Raw Fury
Reviewed on: GTX 2070, 16 GB RAM, i7-10875H
A dog, a gangster, and a witch walk into a bar. This is where you’d expect me to say “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before,” but I won’t because you haven’t. Wolfstride from Ota Imon is different from other games—a self-described RPG for grown-ups that wallows a bit too frequently in immature humor just because it can. While the mech fights are lacking and Wolfstride never fully builds on its narrative promise, the carefully considered setting and unique cast make it a refreshing spin on an often stagnant genre.
With its action-heavy opening, you’d be forgiven for thinking Wolfstride was faster paced than it is. The curtain first rises on one of those mech battles, where your loveable doofus pilot Knife Leopard (aka “Pineapples,” for some reason) faces off against a hardened criminal type in a rigged robot fight. Elsewhere, Dominic Shade, the hero, tries fleeing from two yakuza—a cat and a dog—who want him to convince Pineapples to throw the match. Shade refuses, and with one squeak of the yakuza’s deadly dog toy, Pineapples’ mech explodes.
(Image credit: Ota Imon Studios)
I’d also have liked to see more of the mech fights themselves. While they’re not as detailed as Super Robot Wars or even the mech fights in Trails of Cold Steel, there’s a solid combat system waiting for you once you finally get back in the cockpit. Wolfstride makes you balance between brute force and carefully planned defense in a continuous dance of give and take. You move forward on the movement grid to claim a power bonus, but enter the range of your foe’s long-distance attack as a result. They push you back, but now they’re close enough for you to retaliate with a powerful, up-close attack. And so on until one of you destroys the other’s chest core.
The only downside is you see most of what Wolfstride has to offer early on. 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 casts, and I hope Ota Imon gets the chance to create a more expansive system in the future.
For all its loud and visible faults, Wolfstride still manages to captivate with its flawed heroes and confidence in its own story. Dividing the narrative’s focus between off-kilter humor and an interesting tale of regret and redemption was not the best choice, but this scattered approach doesn’t stop this being a memorable tale.
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