WWE Aftershock is the best wrestling game available on the N-Gage. It's also the only wrestling game available on the N-Gage. Nokia's handset is therefore hardly the go-to platform for grappler fans. Aftershock, with its boxy graphics and wooden animations, is unlikely to change that.
You can play the game as one of 12 WWE Superstars, including two unlockable characters. Sadly, there is no create-a-wrestler option. Four modes are present within the single-player menu: exhibition, king of the ring, survival, and tag team. These are standard gameplay types, present in all WWE games. For the uninitiated, king of the ring is a ladder tournament, in which you'll face several of the playable wrestlers. In survival mode, you'll contend with multiple enemies consecutively. Exhibition mode, of course, is a single match event. Tag team bouts are also one-offs, but these pair you with a partner of your choice.
With the exception of king of the ring, all these modes are playable with one N-Gage-toting friend, via Bluetooth. It's too bad that four-player Bluetooth wasn't implemented, as it would have obviated the use of AI wrestlers in tag team mode. The AI's failings are especially apparent in tag team situations, because they tag off far too often. You'll hit one a few times, and he'll slap his partner's outstretched palm. Slam that guy once, and he'll run behind the turnbuckle, sending his partner back out.
Regardless of the mode, your main moves are the same. From your feet, you can hit, grapple, or Irish whip your opponent. After a successful takedown, you can perform submission holds or simply beat your adversary while he's down. High-risk "off the turnbuckle" maneuvers are also possible. Apart from the regrettable lack of separate punch and kick buttons, the standard WWE move set is present. Each character has a couple of grapples to perform from the front or rear tie-ups.
After you knock your opponent to the ground, either from repeated punches or a successful grapple, you'll be able to perform a submission hold, a body blow, or a high-flying maneuver off the turnbuckle. As you and your opponent become fatigued, it'll take longer to recover from being suplexed or otherwise thrown to the mat--again, standard stuff. Unique to Aftershock is an AI exploit that will essentially let you triumph over all comers. Punch your adversary until he's out on his feet, stumbling around. You can then walk around him, turn to face his back (rotating in the wooden fashion of Resident Evils 1-3), and press the grapple button. In your opponent's weakened condition, he'll automatically lose the tie-up and be slammed to the ground. Rinse and repeat. You can soften up you foes in this way, until they're ready for the pin.
There's also not a whole lot of variety between players. Obviously, some move slower and hit harder than others. Also, each Superstar has one or two unique special attacks, executable every time a momentum meter fills up. Apart from this, however, the wrestlers don't feel different to play. Their unique music and entrance sequences will appeal to fans, though. Eddie Guerrero rolls out in his fat lowrider, amid cheers and a rap about La Raza. Although devoid of ringside commentary, the in-game sound effects are pretty excellent too, easily making Aftershock's audio its best feature.
The game's visuals, on the other hand, just look like garbage. The wrestlers are barely recognizable as human, let alone as your favorite Superstars. The uniforms adequately differentiate the fighters, but their blank visages make it seem like a Gotham City supervillain has been running around, stealing faces. There is barely any detail on the models, and they move like automatons. The game's five rings all look ugly and lack surface texture. Instead, the polys are filled with solid colors. Aftershock is further proof that, with a few exceptions, software rendering on the N-Gage doesn't yield great results.
WWE Aftershock may be the only wrestling game available on the N-Gage, but that alone doesn't make it a good value. This game's shortcomings far outweigh its fan appeal, and it should be avoided by those who aren't desperate to play a grappler on their new QD. Even as a mindless button-masher, WWE Aftershock isn't particularly successful.