It’s always sad to see a professional wrestler down and out on his luck. It’s not the most lucrative of professions and not everyone has the mainstream appeal of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. So it’s no surprise that the main character of Will Fight for Food is a homeless former pro wrestler.
Following this nomadic personality is a fascinating ride, but sadly, a number of glitches prevents Pyrodactyl’s latest from reaching the main event.
Will Fight for Food is a role-playing beat-em-up brawler set in the town of Whateville. After losing the Whateville Fighting Federation (WFF) tournament, masked wrestler Jared (a.k.a. The Raptor) leaves the town in disgrace. He returns later to find everything turned upside-down, mainly by crooked WFF promoter Walter’s behind-the-scenes takeover of the town. To get to the bottom of what’s happened, Jared wanders the town to start talking to people–or beat them up.
I love Will Fight for Food’s emphasis on choice. Every single character in the game can either be talked to or punched in the kisser. The story diverges depending on your actions. However, as much fun as it might be to just punch a random person, pummeling the wrong person could result in losing out on a side quest. For example, a poor guy in the town hall is down on his luck and wants some help in finding a job. After talking to him, he handed me his resume to pass around the town. Obviously, this side quest never happens if my first action upon seeing him is deploying a right cross to the jaw. Main and side quests are rewarded with inventory items upon completion, which can boost attack, defense, or speed.
Should you decide to go the “more talk, less punch” route, Will Fight for Food features an intricate conversation system. Some of the game’s characters will react differently to you depending on your tone of voice, body language, and overall opinion of your statements. When going into the conversation interface, I was presented with subtle hints on how to approach the situation. A pair of text windows on the right side of the screen explains the context of the situation and the other person’s personality.
While I love the level of detail poured into the conversation system, I have to be honest that I was a disappointed in Jared’s options, as they never changed. The Opinion option, for example, would always show the exact same Agree, Indifferent, Disagree selections. I wasn’t a big fan of each selection’s color coding, either. I would have rather taken my chances selecting a certain tone without seeing on my screen that it would be confrontational. Other than that, the idea of employing multiple dimensions of a conversation is a brilliant one and I’m glad Pyrodactyl took this chance.
The Will Fight for Food experience started to feel less enjoyable after encountering several bugs. Several instances of dialogue are filled with typos and misspellings, some of which are egregious enough to disrupt the conversational atmosphere. The combat can get slightly messy, as Jared’s character model would occasionally blink during a fistfight. However, those minor shortcomings don’t compare to the unfriendly save system.
Will Fight for Food is nice enough to automatically save after each checkpoint. However, because of its nonlinear nature, checkpoints can be few and far between. I eventually hit a point where I was helping wrestler-turned-failed actor Koala Man with an action scene. I ran out of HP and (without any sort of death animation) was abruptly taken to a game over screen. I simply thought I could start that segment of the game over again, but it turns out that my game was never saved. I lost about two hours of gameplay, including completed side quests, and was forced to start over from a very early autosave. This was a major annoyance and I went through the rest of the game repeatedly hitting the save button after nearly every action.
Will Fight for Food is a bold endeavor, particularly in its attempt at a conversation interface that I had never before seen attempted. It’s coupled with a story that features some genuinely funny characters, like the aforementioned Koala Man. Glitches and typos, however, prevent this game becoming a true breakout star.
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