TNA Wrestling iPhone Review

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TNA Wrestling: The Bus Ride Review
One man. One game. One morning commute.

Do you watch professional wrestling for the drama? Do you stick around for the steroidal soap opera that goes on outside the ring? If so, iPhone owners, you're in for a treat. Everyone else: Your mileage will vary.

I appreciate the fine art of perfecting the piledriver -- but crafting it into a wrasslin' role-playing game caught me a little off-guard. I mean, you'd figure they'd turn this into a button-mashing monstrosity. What you're doing is building up your character from the streets to the stadiums. Along the way, you'll butt heads with bozos and superstars alike. The stuff outside the ring, was kinda lost on me: Goofy dialogue choices that go toward casting your wrassler as a hero or heel. Those, combined with the in-the-ring hijinks, help your wrestler gain experience and moves.

Now, in the ring, you're performing turn-based combat. You're stacking combinations to do everything from eye-gouges to DDTs. Pick the moves at the bottom of the screen, match the on-screen button presses and you're delivering the haymakers. It's simple and elegant and, well, a bit of a surprise. If you could scale back the yakkity-yak and go straight to the action, I'd be more into this game. But that doesn't mean this is bad by any stretch. Hey, if someone can be cool about a game where you level up and chat with pointy-eared pixies, I really can't complain too much.

An RPG means you need to commit a lot of time to this to enjoy - and I'm only critiquing it after a bus ride. Five bucks places this slightly above the average pricing for games, but I don't think that wrestling fans will mind. Heck, I haven't really followed wrestling in years and I thought that the concept worked and played pretty well.

($5, iPhone)

[Note: Are you digging these bite-sized writeups of small handheld games? Drop me a line and let me know. I'm deciding the fate of these and could use a little audience participation. Stay tuned because Bus Ride Reviews might migrate into my Friday column.]

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