Will Fight for Food (or to give it its full title, Will Fight for Food: Super Actual Sellout: Game of the Hour) is an RPG that lets you deal with problems however you want to – providing your “want to” is talk or punch. Set in a surreal world in which professional wrestlers can rule a town by mastering their art, WFF is exactly the kind of story you may expect if Vince McMahon was placed in control of a city and its inhabitants.
The beat down
The first thing you will notice about WFF is its Saturday morning cartoon art. The block colors simple art that make up the world lend it a striking style that is comically childlike. But, while it is basic, this look works well with the movement mechanics which have you walking around the town like you are in Double Dragon or a similar old 2D brawler. This is fitting, because much of the gameplay is similar to these classic arcade titles - punching, kicking, and shoulder barging anyone who gets in your way. Combat is quite basic, with the three attacks unable to be comboed together in any meaningful way - but that doesn't stop it being fun.
Its simplicity works because fighting is rarely the actual focus. Taking control of Jerad Dent - a disgraced wrestler returning to his home town - you always have the option to help the townsfolk with sage advice and guidance. So, Will Fight for Food is full of conversations that offers multiple routes through its dialogue. Here you really delve into situations, such as the one scenario that has Jerad trying to convince the mayor to call off a hit on an old wrestling friend Lou who had previously tried to kill him with a javelin for the Mafia (did I mention WFF is quite tongue in cheek).
Stay in character
Occasionally, during exchanges, Jerad reaches a point where a little more subtlety is required - such as persuading Lou to write a letter of apology to the murderous mayor. Here you enter a conversational mini-game that asks you to select a body-language, an opinion, and a tone to bend them to your will. Looking at Lou's description you can see she is bubbly, information that led me to be aggressive (body-language), agreeable (opinion), and sincere (tone) to try to convince her – it didn't work though, so she sent me to beat up the mayor.
While in many RPGs this may seem out of place, in WFF it is fine because you are able to start fighting anyone, at any time, by pulling on Jerad's luchador mask. Though this does alter future options, it is incredibly freeing and finally lets me do what I have always longed to do in an RPG: punch all of the annoying characters in the head while still feeling in character. That doctor not helping you out? Hit him (careful, though, he has a scalpel). Don't like a guy’s tone? Drop him. WFF is a game that lets you utilize both Jerad's brains and brawn to solve (or at least end) its various situations.
The cruiser weight belt
Despite Will Fight for Food's childish style and daft humor, don't underestimate how much it has going on. It may not be mechanically the best game out there, and how much you get out of it may be dependent on your own self-restraint (there may be a reason that Final Fantasy doesn't allow you the freedom of killing town inhabitants), but it quietly offers more options and depth than you expect. And it lets you be a wrestler.