I know, I know. But have a little bit of faith in me. I should start by saying that I know absolutely nothing about wrestling. It has never appealed to me, and it still doesn't appeal to me. But SLAMMED! is freaking amazing.
The premise is surprisingly complex. You're a small time wrestler who is eventually recruited to a reality show competition in order to make it into the big leagues. But that's only the first third or so of the plot. Along the way, you can find love, friendship, betrayal, and sexist assholes. The story continuously gathers momentum as it goes, and there's this tangible feeling like anything can happen.
You can truly create whatever character you want. Male, female, gay, straight, bi, asshole, goody-two-shoes, the sky is the limit. Your character is a blank slate in which you can play however you want. The actual "gameplay" is a bit more limiting. You have 3 stats that represent your strengths and weaknesses inside the ring. No matter what kind of person your character is, you will eventually be forced to choose one speciality or another.
Why did I put air quotes around the word "gameplay?" Well, you don't necessarily play this like you would other video games. There is no sound, no graphics. You are simply reading text on the screen, and making choices. There are a lot of choices. This is really the meat of these games. The choices are varied, and most of them have a meaningful impact. They can impact your skills, your reputation, or your relationships with other people. There are very few choices that are just fluff, and even those contribute to the characterization of the character that you are creating.
This is a very colorful world, and there are wacky, colorful characters to match. Two of my favorites are the pop singer, Ecstasy, and the commenter, Madison. There's just something very sweet about Ecstasy. (Oh... that sentence taken out of context...) They will change gender in order to match whatever sexual orientation you decide that your character has. It's a very, very cute romance. It has its ups and downs, but you really get the sense that you have each other's backs. Ecstasy is and will always be your biggest cheerleader who is also willing to kick your ass into gear if you need it. And you, of course, have the option to return the favor. I think Madison is one of the most genuinely funny characters in the game. Every other line that she has while commentating is either sarcastic, enthusiastic yelling, or smug satisfaction. She's also a romance option if your character is into women. I haven't played that route yet, as Ecstasy always manages to steal my heart, but I have a feeling that it's great.
Where SLAMMED! really shines is its villains. I know that this is generally a spoiler-filled site, but I'm going to stay quite about who your main antagonist is. Just know that they go a magnificent job of making it personal, and going Heel in order to take them down is one of the most satisfying, crazy things I have done in a video game/interactive book. But they aren't your only villains. Paul really represents the Old Guard. He's the Establishment. He thinks that wrestling should only be done a certain way, and that way is not friendly to anyone who is not a white man. He really shines as a villain when you play a female character. Some of the interactions with him genuinely upset me. But there is also the potential for glorious pay-off if you choose the correct path. And when I say glorious, I mean truly glorious.
I know absolutely nothing about wrestling, so it was sometimes hard to tell which move played to my strengths or not.
That being said, a lack of wrestling knowledge doesn't completely alienate you from the game. It was still very engaging, and key terms are explained to you.
This is a game that encourages replays as there are multiple different paths and endings that you can take.
I'm someone who always ends up playing "Good" characters, but it's just so much fun to be an evil bastard and play the Heel. The best part? Your character doesn't actually have to be an evil bastard in order to do this. It's just a role that you play.
I know that a lot of people might think that this doesn't appeal to them, but trust me. It's awesome.
9.5 out of 10
~An Honest Fangirl