Hands-On Preview: TNA Impact (iOS)

May 5, 2011

A little over a week ago I had the chance to preview Namco Bandai’s upcoming wrestling brawler, TNA Impact. Now to say that I don’t watch much wrestling these days would be an understatement, as I’ve personally out-grown the sport and I don’t really keep up too much with the current professional leagues. But after booting up TNA Impact and realizing that “hey I remember him” I was instantly brought back to my younger days and I was excited to find out what this mobile title is all about.

The version I played was for iOS, but the game will also be released on the Android, Windows (not sure if it’s 6.5 or Phone 7), and Blackberry platforms as well. It features both rising TNA stars as well as classic wrestlers who apparently have yet to hang up the tights. The title looks pretty rood, especially on iOS where it has full support for retina display (iPhone 4 960 x 640).


What would a wrestling game be without a bunch of different modes right? Well this game has them. You can jump right into a quick match if you’re so inclined to do so, you can even play a friend locally or online since the game has support for Game Center.  The story mode has different divisions you can fight in and they are Tag Team, Heavyweight, and X division (which I’m assuming the X stands for Xtreme or something like that).

One of the best components I saw  had to be the gameplay. You see, wrestling games are among the hardest titles to get right because everything needs just the right balance. Can you imagine having to pulling it off successfully with all touch controls? It’s safe to say that it’s exactly what what happened here. Initially, the game plays a little slower than some will enjoy, but once you understand why and also grasp how the counter system works, you will have start having flashbacks to the heyday of wrestling games on the N64.

On the top of the screen you have your important meters, health (white) and stamina (red). On the bottom left your analog controls and on the right side you have your attack, run, and grapple. With the attack button also acting as a counter, don’t be surprised if you find your self mashing it like a maniac. I think it’s second nature for any wrestling game fans to jam on a particular face button, so I found myself and even the person demoing the title for me doing it also.

At the preview event, I played a local multiplayer cage match against Bags Hooper from Buzzfocus. Bags picked Sting and I chose Kurt Angle because I was determined to Angle Slam him to death. During the match is when I really got into the whole countering groove, where I think that at one point I was timing counters so well that Bags couldn’t land a single punch. Once he was on the floor I made my way to the cage to climb out (which is triggered by pressing a button that appears when you walk next to the cage walls) and that’s when he stood up from the mat and pulled me back down.

He apparently wanted more abuse. Once he pulled me back down, he gave it everything he had. We were going blow or blow, until my meter started glowing. He would make one false move and then it happened, special move button appeared and then… Angle Slam! I once again made my way to the cage, this time I was at the top by the time he stood up but it was too late and I won the match. It certainly didn’t last too long, but it sure hell was fun.

The cage match was just one example of the match types available,  but you can also customize your own. You can create matches with no disqualifications or even falls count anywhere. The game also features a create a wrestler mode, which we didn’t delve too much into. If you don’t want to create your own, there’s also an awesome roster available with some very familiar faces. Check out the list of fighter below.

AJ Styles
Kurt Angle
Samoa Joe
The Pope
Desmond Wolfe
Jay Lethal
Hulk Hogan (Unlockable)
Douglas Williams
Alex Shelley
Chris Sabin
James Storm
Robert Roode
Kevin Nash
Mr. Anderson
Jeff Jarrett
Ric Flair
Jeff Hardy
Tommy Dreamer
Rob Terry
Shannon Moore

While my time with the game was about 30 minutes, I can easily see a lot of people having fun with this one. While there’s no price point announced just yet, considering it’s on iOS and Android title I’m sure it will be something within reason. Stay tuned to DualShockers for a full review of TNA Impact on iOS later this month.

Joel Taveras

Joel Taveras is one of the founding members of DualShockers. He hails from New York City where he lives with his wife and two sons. During his tenure with the site, he's held every position from news writer to community manager to editor in chief. Currently he manages the behind the scenes and day-to-day operations at the publication.

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