With every passing year smaller developers enter the gaming market hoping to release something that really stands out and excites gamers. In 2021 there were quite a few sports titles that did just that, but only one stood out the most to players and took home the SGO Award for Indie Game of the Year: RetroMania Wrestling.
Developed by RetroSoft Studios, RetroMania Wrestling is the official sequel to the 1991 classic Wrestlefest arcade game. It launched in April 2021, and features a mix of legendary superstars like the Road Warriors Hawk and Animal and the Blue World Order as well as current day stars like Johnny Retro (John Morrison), Matt Cardona, Nick Aldis, and more.
RetroMania Wrestling features classic pick-up-and-play gameplay that’s easy for anyone to learn with a difficulty slider that will challenge even the best players. There is a Story Mode that teaches you the in’s and out’s of the game while the 10 Pounds of Gold mode has you climbing the ladder to become the NWA World Champion.
The art style is a major throwback to the 8- and 16-bit eras of gaming, and definitely gives players that nostalgic feel. That said, it still plays like a modern video game. The grappling is a timing-based system with light, medium, and heavy grapple moves that are available based on the momentum meter. Learning what moves do the most damage and how to best fill up the momentum meter is a major part of the learning curve with RetroMania Wrestling.
Personally, the game has become a daily play for me because of the ease of getting into a 10 Pounds of Gold run. It’s nice to be able to just pick up your Nintendo Switch, start a run, and see how far you can go during a lunch break or something. It’s that kind of experience that stood out for not just myself, but for the voters as well.
Best Indie Game Voting
- RetroMania Wrestling (46.2% of the vote)
- Legend Bowl
- Football Manager 22
- OOTP Baseball 22
Of the other games in the category, longtime indie darlings and management sims OOTP Baseball 22 and Football Manager 22 found themselves nominated by the SGO community. Another new game to make the nominees was Legend Bowl, which did come in second place in the voting.
With 2022 here, who knows what indie games will find themselves on the list of nominations next year. Hopefully they’re just as great as the crop we got in 2021.
RetroMania Wrestling is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. If you want the classic arcade feel, you can even order the game with a classic arcade cabinet.
Voting for the SGO Awards was done by the SGO Staff and members of the SGO community on our official Discord server. It’s open to everyone, and is a great way to meet and hang out with other sports gamers as well as get some insight into the gaming industry.