Will Fight for Food: Super Actual Sellout: Game of the Hour- Review  

Slapping Brothers with Some Lettuce
by Scott Wachter

Less than 20 Hours
+ Deep dialogue mini-game
+ Punch anything (or not)
+ Legitimately funny
- Lackluster art and animation
- Repitive
Click here for scoring definitions 

   Will Fight for Food: Super Actual Sellout: Game of the Hour is from the fine folks at Pyrodactyl, who before creating Unrest and becoming darlings of the indie scene, created this odd little title. WFF is a brawler/RPG mashup with a quirky sense of humour and some interesting gameplay sensibilities.

   The story follows Jared Casey Dent, a disgraced professional wrestler returning to his hometown in hopes of making peace with his past and redeeming himself with his compatriots. The problem is that his hometown is in complete chaos, the university is in the middle of a full-scale frat war, the police are on strike, animal-suited goons run amok in the city park, and a superhero television shoot has stalled and taking up valuable lakefront space. And all of Dent's old wrestler pals are somehow embroiled in these events.

   The game's comedy has a strong bent towards post-modern self-awareness with a dash of satire in the direction of indie game development ("Try Rock Simulator 2014!"). Dent's responses to the madness that surrounds him are winks at the audience and they land very well, exhorting chuckles and smirks from the player throughout.

   The main means of resolving conflict is a robust dialogue mini-game where players must choose tone, content, and body language against a few notes about the conversation partner's personality. It's well-developed and interesting to play around with. The NPC reactions to player attitudes are very well realized, especially to strange combinations like aggressive body language matched with agreement in content with a defensive tone.

Taco trucks are a key element of discourse in local politics. Taco trucks are a key element of discourse in local politics.

   Or you can just beat people up.

   Not only can every single quest be resolved with violence, but every single NPC in the game can be punched into submission. It's an odd sort of freedom to grant players in this genre. Many designers are very careful to keep "key" NPCs boxed away or just rendering significant fractions of the populace immortal. It not only adds to the comedy of the game by having characters react to being beaten up in interesting ways, it adds an edge in the violent, maladjusted hobo character of Jared Casey Dent.

   While entertaining, the actual punching isn't all that much to write home about, it draws on Genesis-style controls right down to using three buttons (punch, kick, and body check) for combat. These moves don't chain in interesting ways, and the body check move lends itself to spam abuse. Fans of old-school brawlers might find it a refreshing blast from the past, but otherwise it doesn't match the engagement provided by the dialogue system.

Kick this guy out of his box fort for the glory of property values. Kick this guy out of his box fort for the glory of property values.

   Dent does improve his three combat stats through gear. Items filling one of three inventory slots will adjust these stats up and down, so upgrades are always an exercise in balancing a big boost to one area at a cost to at least one other stat. And unlike a lot of actioners, these stat shifts can be pretty drastic. Even some of the smaller penalties can leave players sluggish and weak.

   Visually speaking, the art is serviceable if bland, character portraits provide some stylistic pop in dialogue scenes but it doesn't translate to the main game. Animation is equally limited with a handful of frames for each action being stiffly cycled over and over. The music keeps with the early Sega vibe with bouncy electro-jams to back up the action.

   WFF is not particularly long, but for a comedy beat'em up that's an asset, as it doesn't have time to outwear its welcome. The dialogue vs brawler options can leave gamers with a few days worth of entertainment on replays. Which one should do, because despite the game's flaws, this game is worth exploring for its humour and approach to character interaction.

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