The beautiful thing about Steam’s Greenlight is how odd some of the things that come out of it are, and Will Fight for Food: Super Actual Sellout: Game of the Hour is certainly one such curio. It isn’t that any of its individual parts are that bizarre – RPG conversation systems, classic arcade brawler action, comedy, wrestling – but it is how it puts these component parts together that is fascinating
It’s disposable set up establishes a weird world where wrestling is a way of life, and that shows the hero Jerad is both a talker and a fighter. Now, returning to his hometown after years in disgrace, the first thing he does is run into his rival the Marine, abruptly ending the revenge plot that I had assumed would be the game’s driving force.
Jerad’s early interaction with the Marine lets you get to grips with all the mechanics WFF is about to throw at you. It lets you make use of the branching dialogue options that let you discover more about the situation, and engage in conversational mini-games that have you selecting Jerad’s body-language, opinion, and tone to persuade your target.
During these mini-games you can use character’s descriptions to work out the best way to influence them. Are they scared of you, bubbly, or patriotic? All of these clues to help manipulate their actions. A simple click through interface makes this incredibly simple to execute – but cracking the code is, frankly, fiendish as I can’t see why “sincere” isn’t always the right options.
It is a system filled with depth that allows you to dive into the numerous side-quests that make up the game. The effort that went into constructing all of the branching options through each dialogue must have been significant, so it’s confusing that it’s always possible to resolve a situation by just beating snot out of the other person. Here is where the weirdness of WFF starts to shine. Most RPGs limit you to just conversations in towns, but Jerad is a wrestler and – as any WWE fan will tell you – that means your right and left fists are the best conflict resolution tools at your disposal.
But, while this is admittedly entertaining for a while, it eventually gets tiresome. True, the game’s 2D art style (which is reminiscent of classic arcade fighting games like Double Dragon) suits the fighting dynamic, but the mechanics are far more robotic and robotic with far fewer combos or variety to combat. Put simply, punching people is only fun when you remember it’s an option when a character is annoying you – rather than the games focus.
Here in lies the conflict of Will Fight for Food because, while it is a solid (if short) RPG, it has placed its comedy fighting system at the forefront of its advertising because it’s funny and accessible. If all you do is fight, however, you will quickly tire of it as the novelty wears off. It is up to you to show restraint if you want to get the most out of the game, and if you do choose to steamroll through the whole town on your first attempt, at least go back and try and play it “properly” – because this is one story where the pen is stronger than the steel chair.
Follow me on Twitter: @DoFuss