As video games go, arcade style fighting is classic and timeless. Change the setting or situation and you’ve got a whole new game. In Chillingo’s new app Street Wrestler, a new twist is put on the old format, with a culture all it’s own.

Gamers take on the roll of a masked, butt kickin’ Luchador, roaming the streets dolling out no holds barred street stompings to all thugs that cross their path. First choose your fighter – Fatal Blaze, Daddy Brutal, Hostile or (once unlocked) Princess Achy. Each has their own style and special moves. Traveling through dangerous neighborhoods and even junkyards vicious brawlers will attack you and you must defend yourself.

First off, the graphics are outstanding. It meets every expectation of what a Lucha Libre world would look like. The comic book meets graffiti style is daring yet inviting enough to make you want to kick some butts. Though once you get excited and ready to play, you soon realize the gameplay is a bit less exciting than the graphics.

The levels are side-scrolling but you are able to move the characters back and forth a small amount. This actually becomes a bit of a detriment making it quite a bit harder to line up with your rivals and beat them. To move your character there is a virtual joystick, a control I prefer in games like this. There is also a three button system in the right corner with slightly transparent icons that represent each move that your character can do. Punching, jumping and a third button that determines the action depending on the context of what you are doing, including special moves.

The fighting is fun and there is definitely an abundance of fighting maneuvers. Where it becomes tricky is the spacing. Quite frequently the thugs attacking would stay toward the far right of the screen, exactly where my control buttons were. This made it difficult to see what I was doing and additionally what appropriate moves I needed to make. Of course being side-scrolling it’s not uncommon. Maybe on iPad where space isn’t an issue there is better luck with this. The downside is you get less accuracy and end up button mashing to get by.

In Conclusion

Street Wrestler is still loads of fun, with the festive characters, backgrounds and music it’s more than a simple fighting game. The characters also each go through all levels on their own, so there is more than enough replay value. Even with its few flaws, it’s a great source of eye candy, and theme is more than original. The Street Wrestler app is available in the App Store now for $2.99.

This review originally appeared on The Smartphone App Review (January 16, 2012).