Among the numerous indie gems that launched on Nintendo Switch last year was a little beat ’em up called Wulverblade. Set in AD 140, it follows the efforts of a handful of Celtic warriors to stop Rome’s invasion into northern Britannia, through cartoonishly violent, bloody combat.
Following its warm reception on Switch, Wulverblade is released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC this week. I’ve got my hands on the PS4 version, thanks to publisher Darkwind Media, and I’m really enjoying it. I must admit, I’m not generally a huge fan of beat ’em ups, but this one has a lot going for it: the comic-style art direction makes the game look gorgeous, and there’s enough variety in enemy types, weapons, and player characters that I’ve yet to get bored. The controls are smooth and responsive, and while it can be a challenging game even on Easy difficulty, I haven’t run into anything so far that feels unfair or frustrating.
Here’s a video of the first stage, so you can see Wulverblade in action:[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL6IqqskMqI[/embedyt]
What I’m most taken with, though, is Wulverblade‘s historical context. Despite the arcade-style gameplay and stylised look, this is a game that’s steeped in history. The story is a fictionalised traversal of the real events of Rome’s Britannia campaign, and the efforts by the people of Caledonia (now Scotland) to repel them. There’s a wealth of historical information to be found throughout the game in the form of collectibles, outlining various aspects of the life and culture of the Britons. There are also a handful of location scouting videos, showing off the stunning real-world locations upon which the game’s levels are based.
I’ve got a review of Wulverblade on the way, but my first impressions are very positive. If you like beat ’em ups or have any interest in Scottish history—and especially if you’re in both those camps—this is a game you’ll want to check out.