Version tested: Xbox 360
Right. This really is a wrestling game, although there are a couple of things - or to be more precise two huge wobbly things - that might convince you otherwise. Rumble Roses XX plays like a version of SmackDown from a few years ago. You strike, you grapple, you throw, fill up your special gauge and you sort of mince around the ring in awkward circles trying to get a good grip.
Only the key thing here is, you also spend a lot of time trying to get a good look. The girls are the stars. It's a game for men who don't mind getting caught watching the midnight freeview and if you have no shame, it's quite arousing. The costumes range from sexy schoolgirl options to string-based bikinis, and you're even encouraged to rotate the camera around manually when in a hold to get a better look at such things as bottoms, legs, tummies and cleavages. This is made by voyeurs, for voyeurs.
The girls are lovely, but the rest of RRXX doesn't look much like an Xbox 360 game should. Clearly the developers spent a lot of time getting the girls' bits and pieces in order and we thank them very much for doing that, the problem is the rest of it - the backgrounds, arenas and suchlike are pretty awful. You get low-res spectators and lumps of scenery popping into view, and terrible 2D surrounds behind everything.
It's almost as if the makers couldn't be bothered putting together the scenery and spent all their time smoothing out the skin of the sexy ladies. As if that would happen! Another thing they didn't spend quite enough time on is making the girls move convincingly. When they're being introduced to the (baying, perverted, semi-erect) crowd they look great, sashaying through their predetermined poses and blowing kisses and giving you the right horn over what's about to unfold.
But in action - proper game action - it's different, as player control suddenly has them lurching around like zombies. Sexy zombies, but zombies nonetheless, who lurch, awkwardly miss grabs and struggle to look as enthusiastic and sexy as they do on the box. Just like in all porn.
To make them stand still and go all pretty again, an option lets you make your favourite girl pose for you, by, amazingly, dishing out a series of punishments. Beat a girl in a punishment match down on the beach and you're allowed - actually allowed and encouraged! - to push her over, spank her, tickle her with a big fluffy hand and pause and re-watch this as much as you like. Honestly, we felt ashamed playing it.
You unlock new poses as you play, eventually getting (or forcing) the girls to cuddle, pout and get themselves into all kinds of gusset-revealing poses for you to snap, save, then upload to Xbox Live in the game's massive online gallery of user-created filth. The game's been out everywhere for some time now, so there's already a gigantic online archive to browse, revealing every square centimetre of female flesh it's possible to see.
Online, players are ranked from F through to S, letting you choose the skill level of perverted opponent you want to face. Four people can play sexy tag online, but on your own (as RRXX is meant to be, er, enjoyed) Xbox 360 AI isn't what it should be. The poor bimbos get easily confused, stumbling about, ignoring you and generally refusing to put up anything like a decent fight.
You might spend quite a while looking for other modes and options, but don't bother - the game structure is extremely simple. There's just a vague world tour of fight locations, a shop, that pervy Xbox Live photo-swapping and online play. And here's another disappointment - the Xbox Live Achievements are ridiculously hard, forcing you to earn and unlock every single item for each character to get one single Achievement.
The only play innovation that sets Roses XX apart from all other wrestling games is its use of H-moves. Thanks to a peculiar Japanese thing where they consider blushing to be more sexy than, say, seeing someone having actual sex, RRXX lets you fill up a 'humiliation' gauge then unleash the H-move. Which usually involves bottoms being spanked. You get to see the girls humiliated and their little cheeks blush. That, if you're Japanese, is the equivalent of finding a copy of Razzle on the back of the night bus home.
Pull off an H-move and you get an even closer close-up of the already close-up view of the semi-naked girls, leaving us to form only one possible conclusion - this is a game for pervs. Seriously. If you want a proper wrestling game, buy one. Rumble Roses XX is simple fun for macho gamers who feel their sexuality threatened by watching Triple H manhandling Kurt Angle.
Slip Rumble Roses XX inside a copy of SmackDown if you must buy it, just don't go expecting any innovations other than a big tickling stick, blushing faces, a gigantic Xbox Live porn archive and the wobbliest boobs yet seen in a video game.
5 / 10